Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, avowed uniform collector, was spotted in the Shea clubhouse carrying the uniform of the good New York team today. Needless to say, Mets fans are not too happy with Delgado right now.

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Yesterday evening, I received an e-mail from an assistant account executive working on a Nike campaign. In an attempt to drum free advertising – it worked here and here and, of course, right here – Brandon wrote to me about the 80-foot-tall billboard of Alex Rodriguez going up today at the corner of 34th St. and 7th Ave.

Now, that billboard, shown above, is pretty huge. And it’s pretty much Alex Rodriguez in your face just in case New York needed a reminder that A-Rod is playing in October again. The billboard exhorts the Yankees “Just Do It” this October. But is that encouragement for the team or a disgusted plea of a fed-up fan base? Really, just do it already, A-Rod.

Meanwhile, in The Times, Tyler Kepner looks at the expectations resting on A-Rod’s shoulders this postseason. A-Rod, we all know, hit .314 this year with 54 home runs and 156 RBI (or one every 9.1 innings this season).

Kepner’s piece runs over familiar ground. The rest of the team has to put A-Rod in a position to succeed; he’s working harder this year and ignoring the criticism; he’s laughing off mistakes and not letting every little thing get under his skin; he’s not going to change his hitting approach in October; etc., etc., etc. It’s something we’ve heard ad nauseum this year.

If that’s not enough for you, then scoot on over to ESPN.com where the Worldwide Leader has just unveiled a Howard Bryant-penned missive on Alex Rodriguez. Entitled The King of Gotham? the piece is a challenge to Alex Rodriguez. Rise to the occasion, Bryant says, and bring home the gold to New York. The world will be yours.

So here are again in October, and the attention is squarely on A-Rod. Like or not, A-Rod has to follow up his 54-home run season with a stellar October. The Yanks could lose in the first round, but if A-Rod hits, he will bear no weight for another early exit from the postseason.

Is this fair to A-Rod? Of course not, but that’s the price he has to pay for a $25-million annual salary. You can bet this year that A-Rod won’t get dropped from the four-hole. It’s been his slot all year, and Joe Torre isn’t about to mess with success.

But that whole opt-out business will come into play too. The Yankees need A-Rod. They need him this week; they need him next week; they need him next year. In the current state of baseball in New York, anything short of a stellar postseason against some of the best pitchers in the game will be a disappointment for A-Rod and the Yanks. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

Categories : Playoffs
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Carmen Angelini   |   SS

Background
Born and raised in Lake Charles, LA, Angelini attended budding baseball powerhouse Barbe High School. Even though he’s a natural shortstop, Angelini played third base for the Buccaneers his junior year in deference to the incumbent Josh Prince. Once Prince graduated (he went on to play sparingly for Texas before transferring to Tulane) it paved the way for Angelini to take over full-time shortstop duties.

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Categories : Prospect Profiles
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Once a highly-touted Yankee prospect, Bronson Sardinha has seen his stock fall over recent years. An influx of better prospects and some poor numbers by Sardinha at higher levels contributed to this fall.

But this year, the Yanks sent Sardinha back to AA for a few games, and he excelled. He hit .429/.484/.732 and earned himself a September call-up. Now, he’s joining the big league team in October, according to The Honolulu Advertiser.

Because Andy Phillips went down with an injury, the Yanks have the option to replace him on the postseason with someone on their 40-man. Sardinha wins that honor. He will be, in effect, the 25th man off the bench in the playoffs. The Yanks will go with a bench of Shelley Duncan (more on him later), Jose Molina, Wilson Betemit, some mix of Jason Giambi and Doug Mientkiewicz and now Bronson Sardinha.

It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Sardinha is used in games. I could see him coming in as a late-inning replacement, and with Matsui’s knees barking a bit, Sardinha becomes outfield insurance as well. In 11 plate appearances this month in the Bronx, he was 3 for 9 with 2 walks and 6 runs scored. All in all, having him on the roster isn’t a bad move.

Hat tip to Steve.

Categories : Playoffs
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Oct
02

Worst lead-out ever

By in Rants. Tags: · Comments (6) ·

TBS just followed up the National League Wild Card play-in game with an old episode of Sex in the City. That’s really showing an awareness of the target audience who I’m sure wouldn’t want to watch Family Guy or anything like that. I’m sure their ratings plummeted after that thrilling conclusion to the game.

Categories : Rants
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Rockies vs Padres in the tie-break game tonight. The Peavy-Fogg pitching matchup favors the Pads on paper, but with the way the season has gone, you know it won’t be that easy.

Where’s the Yankee tie-in you say? Well, the totally awesome Troy Tulowitzki wears #2 because he grew up idolizing Derek Jeter. I know, where does the time go.

Game 1 of the postseason has arrived, comment on the action here.

Categories : Game Threads
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Oct
01

ALDS game times announced

By in Playoffs. · Comments (20) ·

The Yanks drew the short straw on this one:

Thursday: At Cleveland, 6:30 p.m.
Friday: At Cleveland, 5 p.m.
Sunday: At New York, 6:30 p.m.
Monday: At New York, 6 p.m.
Wednesday: At Cleveland, 5 p.m.

Categories : Playoffs
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Got a few million dollars lying around? Want to stick your name on something at the new Yankee Stadium? Well, boy, do I have a sponsorship deal for you.

According to a Tyler Kepner original in The Times today, the Yankees won’t be selling the naming rights to the new Yankee Stadium. They will, however, be selling the naming rights to everything else you can imagine inside the new stadium.

Now, the Yankees know they are giving up a lot of money to keep the stadium name pure, and ostentatious luxury boxes aside, I like their attitude. “The dollars we passed were incomparable,” Yankees COO Lonn Trost said to Kepner. “Having said that, you wouldn’t rename the White House, you wouldn’t rename Grant’s Tomb and you wouldn’t rename the Grand Canyon. This is Yankee Stadium, and this will always be Yankee Stadium.”

Here’s where it gets interesting:

As they look ahead to the new Yankee Stadium, which will open in 2009, the Yankees have found an alternate way to collect some of the money they might have made from naming rights. They will announce today that they have hired the Creative Arts Agency to market partnerships to corporate sponsors. “It’s an opportunity for a company to partner with the Yankees and say, ‘We support the Yankees’ decision to keep the stadium as Yankee Stadium,’ ” said Mike Levine, the co-head of CAA Sports.

Knowing that, he said, the partnership with CAA will help the Yankees benefit financially by offering expanded sponsorship deals to companies in the new ballpark. Trost and Levine said specific plans were still in development, but there would be no advertising on uniforms, which is against Major League Baseball rules, and Trost stressed the ballpark would not be cluttered with corporate logos.

Currently, much of the Yankee broadcast on TV is brought to you by something or other. (That’s a post for another day, actually.) Nowadays, at the stadium, mostly everything has a sponsor too. The pick-a-song, Yankees DJ feature is brought to you by XM Satellite Radio; the fan marquee is sponsored by Snapple; the Yankees hat tease comes at us courtesy of New Era; and Modell’s gives away gift certificates galore in between innings.

So what’s next? With these new sponsorship deals in place, the upper deck could end up being brought to you by Upper Deck. Maybe the Beers of the World stand will become the Foster’s Beers of the World Stand. And take your pick of toilets: The line at the Geico’s restroom is shorter than the line at the Bank of American bathroom.

Outside of the naming rights, the Yankees will probably set some industry records and rewrite the industry rules in milking money out of sponsorship deals for the new stadium. It will be interesting – if a little sickeningly – to see which company brings every aspect of the new stadium experience to the fans and how they go about branding these sponsorships.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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  • Enough with the negativity
    By

    To all of you being so negative, enough. ENOUGH. We’re all fans of the Yankees; we’re all rooting for them to win. We all saw them be the best team in the Majors for a sustained period of time. We saw them beat good pitchers and good teams. If you don’t have faith in the Yankees and their ability to win in October, then come back in April. Sure, the Yanks might lose in the ALDS or the ALCS or the World Series. But they have as good a shot as any to win and deserve our support. Quit writing them off before an anthem is sung or a pitch is thrown. · (4) ·