Video of the Day: Renovating the old home

While browsing YouTube this morning, I came across this piece of Yankee Stadium history. It’s a video shot on Super 8 from the mid-1970s showing the old stadium in various stages of renovation. The opening scenes show the skeleton of the Tier rising above the original 1923 shell.

A good portion of RAB readers weren’t alive when the House that Ruth Built underwent renovations 36 years ago, and the lasting memories those of us who grew up with the Yankees in the 1980s have are of the post-renovation stadium. Despite the history we witnessed at Yankee Stadium II, many fans maintained that the renovations ripped the soul out of the historic park. The dimensions and atmosphere changed, and while the ghosts lingered, their shadows dimmed.

The video tracks the renovations, and after the five minutes elapsed, I grew mournful of the old home. The team and its fans have fully embraced the new ballpark, but I’ll always have the memories of old Yankee Stadium even as the ballpark fades from the physical landscape of New York City.

We originally posted this video early today on the RAB Bullpen. That’s our new Tumblr account, and we’re using it to highlight random Yankee tidbits, photographs and articles that we find across the web. Add it to your RSS feed and follow us if you’re on Tumblr.

Laird’s struggles continue in Arizona

Sorry I’ve been slacking with DotF lately, but I’ve been busy. Here’s what you’ve missed…

AzFL Phoenix Desert Dogs (9-6 win over Mesa on Wednesday)
Brandon Laird, LF: 1 for 5, 2 RBI, 1 K
Jose Pirela, 2B: 1 for 4, 1 BB – got picked off first
Manny Banuelos: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 4-3 GB/FB – 40 of 71 pitches were strikes (56.3%) … 2 ER or less in five of his last six starts

AzFL Phoenix Desert Dogs (5-1 loss to Scottsdale on Thursday)
Brandon Laird, LF: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 2 K

AzFL Phoenix Desert Dogs (2-2 tie with Mesa on Friday) musta run out of pitchers
Brandon Laird, LF: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 K – three a runner out at third … he’s six for his last 42 (.143)
Jose Pirela, 2B: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 K
George Kontos: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1-1 GB/FB – seven of his ten pitches were strikes … just the third time in his last eight appearances that he didn’t allow a run
Ryan Pope: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1-0 GB/FB – 13 of 21 pitches were strikes (61.9%)

AzFL Phoenix Desert Dogs (8-1 win over Peoria in seven innings)
Jose Pirela. 2B: 0 for 3, 1 K
Craig Heyer: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 10-2 GB/FB – 22 of 33 pitches were strikes … love the grounders

I have no idea why Austin Romine hasn’t played in the last five days, hopefully it’s nothing serious. They could have just shut him down after a long, long season. The season does end of Thursday, so that’s possible. Phoenix has already been eliminated from Saturday’s Championship Game since they have the league’s worst record at 9-17. Here’s the other winter leagues…

Australian Baseball League
Nathan Aron: 2 G, 2 for 4, 2 RBI, 2 K (.500/.400/.500)
Kyle Perkins: 6 K, 0 for 6, 6 K – yikes

Dominican Winter League
Juan Miranda: 3 G, 1 for 10, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K (.100/.250/.100)
Francisco Santana: 5 G, 2 for 7, 2 R, 1 K (.286/.286/.286)
Wilkins Arias: 8 H, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (1.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League
Walt Ibarra: 25 G, 22 for 74, 18 R, 4 2B, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 16 K, 3 SB, 1 CS (.297/.354/.351)
Jorge Vazquez: 7 G, 6 for 26, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K, 1 CS (.231/.310/.385)

Puerto Rican League
Francisco Gil: 4 G, 6 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP (10.50 ERA, 2.17 WHIP)
Eric Wordekemper: 13 G, 12.1 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 13 K, 1 WP (5.84 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Venezuelan Winter League
Luis Nunez: 7 G, 2 or 10, 1 R (.200/.200/.200)
Romulo Sanchez: 4 G, 3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 0 K (10.80 ERA, 3.00 WHIP) – eek
Josh Schmidt: 6 G, 5 GS, 28.2 IP, 14 H, 5 ER, 4 ER, 13 BB, 32 K (1.26 ERA, 0.94 WHIP)

Justin Christian isn’t with the organization after becoming a minor league free agent, hence the exclusion from the update. He is hitting .389/.459/.620 in 27 games though. Same deal with Jose Gil (.276/.306/.466 in 17 games), Edwar Gonzalez (.333/.360/.417 in 16 games), Rene Rivera (.208/.309/.354 in 14 games), Marcos Vechionacci (.317/.368/.397 in 18 games), Jon Ortiz (6.75 ERA, 2.25 WHIP in three appearances), and Zack Segovia (3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP in six appearances). Also, Mark Newman confirmed to Josh Norris that Jesus Montero will not be playing winter ball this year. For shame.

Sunday Morning Links

Here’s some links to check out before the Jets take on the Mangenius, the Giants sack Jon Kitna 17 times and the Pats find a way to beat the Steelers.

Mike Fish at has a piece on Roberto Alomar’s life since his career ended.  I knew it was bad, after reading this column it’s worse than I thought.  Alomar who will get into the Hall of Fame this year was an amazing ballplayer.  I think because he played for 7 teams and didn’t play any of his peak in a big baseball market he’s a little overlooked, but he was special.  Alomar was a very similar player to Derek Jeter and I can’t imagine how he’d be viewed had he spent his whole career in the Bronx, Boston, Philly or another good baseball hotbed.  He certainly would have gotten into Cooperstown on the first ballot with room to spare.  His career fell off a cliff in 2002, but what he did as a second baseman for a 10 year stretch was pretty amazing.

Former Yankee prospect Brandon Weeden is finding success on the football field.  Weeden was the first player selected by the Yankees in the 2002 draft  He showed some early promise but his baseball career was derailed by injuries.  I enjoy stories like this so I’m glad to see he’s having success.  Weeden is 27 years old, so I wonder if his coach Mike Gundy considers him a man or not?

Marc Carig wrote on his blog about the difficultly he can run into writing for different audiences through different mediums.  It’s a very good piece and while I’m sure many have you have seen it, if you haven’t I suggest doing so.  Like now.  Also take a look at Craig Calcaterra’s take on Carig’s post which is also informative and thought provoking.  Pretty good stuff in both posts.

Here’s a good piece over at Yahoo by Kendall Rogers on Karsten Whitson and why he spurned a couple million bucks to go to college. I think we can often interject ourselves into players lives’ without truly knowing how they feel so it’s good to see Whitson’s explanation.  It’s definitely something to consider when free agents don’t sign where you hoped or expected, or when draftees decide not to sign.

Open Thread: Maybin on the move

(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Apparently it’s “let’s forget all about that Miguel Cabrera trade” weekend in Florida. After dealing Andrew Miller yesterday, the Marlins traded the other key piece in Miggy haul today, sending Cameron Maybin to the Padres for a pair of relievers. Righty Burke Badenhop (3.67 FIP in 67.2 IP this year) is the lone survivor of the Cabrera trade, the other five players are all elsewhere now. How about that.

My quick take: I like the move for both sides, more for San Diego though. They have bullpen pieces to spare, and Maybin’s still only 23 if you can believe it. Lots of talent, and it’s worth a shot to see if he can figure it out on your team. Florida needed bullpen help, and the two guys they got are promising. Ryan Webb has a great arm, but his stuff is so lively that he has trouble controlling it. Mujica got lost in the Padres bullpen given some of he other guys they had in there, but struck out 72 and walked six (!!!) in 69.2 innings this year. The deal makes sense for both sides, I’d just rather be getting Maybin.

Anyway, here’s the nightly open thread. Both the Nets and Isles are playing, and of course there’s a zillion college football games on. Talk about whatever, enjoy.

Yankees interested in John Buck?

Via Buster Olney (Insider req’d), the Yankees have some interest in free agent catcher John Buck, but they’re unlikely to offer him more than a one-year deal given the young catching they have coming up through the system. With Jorge Posada expected to take over as the full-time designated hitter, having a veteran catcher around to provide insurance behind Jesus Montero and Frankie Cervelli would be a wonderful thing. That said, Buck is going to try to cash in on the best year of his career (2.9 fWAR) as he should, so there’s a next-to-zero chance that he’ll settle for one year.

If anything, I expect the Yanks to sign some veteran to a minor league deal to stash in Triple-A, similar to Chad Moeller last year. There’s also a very real possibility that they’re trying to drive up the price for the Red Sox, who have legit interest in Buck.

Easy big fella!

Murray/The Star-Ledger

I’m as big a fan of Jesus Montero as there is.  I’m glad the Cliff Lee trade didn’t go through.  I’m glad they didn’t trade him for Roy Halladay.  I have not seen him catch in person though I think the Yankees should try him at catcher until they’re 100% sure he either can or can’t handle the position.  As bullish as I am on Montero, Bill James’ 2011 projections for him just seem insane.  If you haven’t seen yet, James predicts a .285/.348/.519 line with 21 HR’s.  Yes, that’s in the major leagues.

How realistic is this?  First, considering this in a perspective solely to Montero, that line is eerily similar to his 2010 AAA line of .289/.353/.517 line with 21 HR’s.  So James prediction essentially says Montero will repeat his numbers as a 20 year old getting his first taste AAA as a 21 year old getting his first taste of the major leagues.  For all of us who followed Montero this year, we know that he got off to a horrible start and a ridiculously hot finish.  While the slow start is  certainly a possibility (and maybe even a probability) in the major leagues, is there any way Montero would go on a tear like he did last year, hitting .351/.396/.684 after the All Star break?  It took a run like that just to land at his final AAA line, and I can’t see that type of production in the major leagues over such a long period of time.  That’s Pujolsian.  So I’d say for Montero to approach his AAA line in the majors in 2011, he’d have to be pretty consistently awesome for 6 months (with the expected normal peaks and valleys) as a 21 year old rookie catcher, in New York, playing on a team that expects to win the World Series.   Good luck with that.

How realistic is Montero’s projection in a historical context?  Since 1901 how many 21 year old (or younger) catchers have ever slugged over .500 while catching at least 100 games?  Answer: none.  Stretch that out to 22 years old and you get two catchers:  Johnny Bench in 1970 which was his 3rd year in the league and Brian McCann in 2006 in his first full season, though he was not a rookie.  Even going out to the age of 23 there are only 4 more catchers who slugged .500 or greater (Nokes, Carter, Hartnett, Mauer) at such a young age.  And yet, James projects Montero is to slug .517 as a 21 year old rookie.  Opening this comparison up to all positions there have been 30 seasons (by 23 players) since 1901 to slug .500 or greater at age 21 or younger, again none of them catchers.  The list literally is chock full of Hall of Famers as you might expect.  Even if James’ projection for Montero were based on him solely DH’ing, you can still see just how historic his line would be.

I am pretty sure that Montero will not reach James’ lofty projections and it’s unfair to expect him to. That will not make him a bust, overrated or a disappointment.  Let’s all acknowledge that now.  If somehow Montero makes history and hits those projections we will all be beyond thrilled.  I can’t wait to see Montero’s first at-bat in the majors and expect to enjoy the ride, I just want to keep things in perspective, which I simply feel James projections do not do.