Isn’t amazing how Daily News writers go from moral outrage on the one hand to a different brand of outrage on the other all in the space of 800 words? Yesterday, Filip Bondy, writing about the Red Sox jersey fiasco at the new Yankee Stadium, did just that.
The city of New York is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructural costs and is too generously ceding precious parkland to the Yankees, just to ensure that the new Bronx stadium will become a showcase profit maker for the extended corporate Steinbrenner family.
In return, the city probably should not be asking too much that the Yankees demonstrate a modicum of common sense befitting such fortunate business partners, when it comes to this expensive co-enterprise.
But on Sunday, we witnessed an inane spectacle that should wholly frighten any taxpayer or serious baseball fan. At the cost of about $30,000 and the wasted sweat of 5-1/2 hours’ toil, the Yankees directed construction workers at the site to drill for a tattered David Ortiz baseball jersey a Red Sox fan/construction worker had buried beneath considerable cement.
Got that outrage? The city is investing way too much money in the stadium, and the Yankees should show some common sense. That $30,000 of their own money they spent to dig up the jersey, that’s not common sense in Bondy’s word.
So what if the Yankees try to recapture those lost funds. Well, Filip Bondy, the construction expert and lawyer, thinks that deserves its own outrage:
Yankee officials are turning what might have been a dumb lark into something much darker. They are threatening to throw legal fees into the growing pot, by suing Gino Castignoli for his jersey burial.
“There are criminal issues and maybe civil,” said the ultra-serious Lonn Trost, chief operating officer for the club.
The Yankees will lose this case, I can promise you. No judge or jury, even in the Bronx, will find that a buried jersey, out of sight and structurally harmless, demands punitive damages. Castignoli did nothing that demanded $30,000 worth of repairs. If the Yanks pursue this civil case against the worker, then they will only look nastier, forfeit more money and (hard to believe) make greater fools of themselves.
I would believe that the Yanks could easily win this case. In what contract does it allow for workers to bury clothing in the Yankee Stadium foundation? In which employment agreement are construction workers allowed to act like total goof-offs? I’m not really going out on a limb when I say none.
While Bondy thinks the Yanks wasted their time and money, Buster Olney, among others, hit the nail upon the head this morning. The Yanks had to remove the jersey once they found out about it because otherwise, for as long as they played in the new stadium, the team struggles would be blamed on a Red Sox jersey buried in the stadium. As dumb as that sounds, it would just be another in a long line of absurd baseball superstitions. The jersey’s gone; the guy deserves to be sued; and we can all share in that special brand of outrage.
A few blog posts about the Yankees hurlers and their pitching mechanics have been making the rounds lately. Originating from a new site run by Kyle Boddy, a 24-year-old baseball analyst, called Driveline Mechanics, the two Yankee-related entries focus on Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain.
To ruin the endings, Boddy loves Wang’s mechanics but feels that Chamberlain’s put him at risk for injury. Boddy writes, “I think Joba’s injury concerns are well-founded. He has a lot of the classic signs of hyperabduction, rushing, hung arms syndrome, and a bad followthrough.”
These posts offer up a few interesting points. First is that Boddy derives his analysis from Mike Marshall, and after reading a Jeff Passon piece from 2007 about Marshall, I’ve been a little suspect of Marshall and his disciples. Major League pitching coaches and GMs aren’t rushing to subscribe to Marshall’s philosophies, and Marshall’s projects haven’t had much success at the pro level.
But I’ve watched Joba pitch, and my concerns with his deliver are the same ones that Boddy has. I’ve seen Joba pull up and finish tall on his pitches. It’s not, by any stretch, the traditional follow-through, and it will be interesting to see how the Yankees work with their young stud as they gear up to move him into the starting rotation.
Jorge Posada is considering getting a cortisone shot for his sore throwing shoulder. The Yanks’ catcher say the effectiveness of such a shot would be about 50/50 though considering the source of the pain. I’m really starting to wonder just how badly Jorge’s shoulder is hurt. I think it’s more than the Yanks have let on so far. · (21) ·
Isn’t it funny how baseball works sometimes?
Until tonight, the Yankee bullpen had been fairly stellar this season. In 46.2 innings (yikes), the bullpen as a whole was sporting a nifty 3.09 ERA. They had allowed 41 hits and just four home runs while striking out 43 and walking 13. The starters on the other hand had a 4.34 ERA in 66.1 innings while sporting an ugly 3:2 K:BB ratio.
So tonight, the Yanks got a solid six-inning outing from their starting pitcher while the bullpen imploded. Billy Traber — on what was actually a pretty good pitch — gave up a two-run home run to Carl Crawford, and Brian Bruney gave up two solo shots to allow the Rays to tie the game. In less than an inning, the Yanks’ bullpen nearly doubled the number of home runs allowed this season.
But a few minutes later, Robinson Canó, coming off the bench, made the point moot. His home run — a no-doubter into the right field seats — secured the Yankee win. Bruney settled down in the 8th, and Mariano Rivera nailed down his first four-out save of the season. The Yanks went back to their hotels at a happy .500.
While for one day, the stay in Yankeeland is no longer falling, tonight’s game provided us with a few interesting observations. First, we see Brian Bruney emerging as a trusted arm in the bullpen. Bruney blew the game but was allowed to stay in. He settled down and got the outs he needed. In 10 innings this year, he’s struck out 10 and walked just three. That is a promising start.
Relatedly, Kyle Farnsworth was nowhere to be found tonight. He can’t — or won’t — pitch on back-to-back days, and after his appearance yesterday, he’s safely in the Yankee doghouse. I know the team would be better off with Jonathan Albaladejo or Chris Britton instead of Farnsworth, and even teams — such as the Tigers — need bullpen help. Farnsworth just should be gone.
It’s also worth pondering the weather. The Yanks’ bats came alive during warm weather in the dome. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Anyway, here’s to a solid win after a rough weekend. May Pettitte deliver the start of a streak later today.
Game Notes: Ian Kennedy has a bruised hip but is otherwise fine. Basically, he’ll have a nasty black-and-blue mark for the next few days but is not expected to miss any time…At what point do the Yanks give Alberto Gonzalez the job currently held by Wilson Betemit? It’s almost tempting to ponder a Yankee infield with Jeter at first, Gonzalez at short and Jason Giambi relegated to his DH/bench spot. You have to believe the team would be better.
I’m not kidding. NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman with throw out the first pitch before Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox from the International Space Station. The Parsippany native has a Yankee banner, some dirt from the pitcher’s mound at the Stadium, and a George Steinbrenner autographed hat keeping him company as he spends the next 3 months up in the final frontier. Only the Yankees. · (10) ·
Triple-A Scranton (9-1 win over Durham)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K – played LF … his foot isn’t bothering him anymore, so me thinks the Yanks are trying to increase his versatility a bit
Bernie Castro: 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Juan Miranda: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K – 9 walks, 4 K this year
Shelley: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB – hitting .500-.560-1.136-1.696 in 5 games since being sent down
Jason Lane & Cody Ransom: both 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 K – Ransom doubled & drove a run in
Chris Stewart: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB
Justin Christian: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – played CF … he’s already versatile, he’s played all over the outfield plus the middle infield spots in his pro career
Dan Giese: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 6-6 GB/FB – started for Steven White, who was pushed back to tomorrow … this was Giese’s first professional start, and it looks like he’ll hold down Alan Horne’s rotation spot for the time being
Scott Strickland: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Edwar: 1 IP, zeroes – what, no K’s?
Scranton’s game was over by the third inning; they batted around in the second before a single out was recorded. Here’s how the inning played out: single, single, double (1 run scores), single (1 run scores), wild pitch (1 run scores), single, walk, single (1 run scores), single (1 run scores), single (1 run scores), walk (1 run scores), pop out, strikeout, wild pitch (1 run scores), strikeout. Phew.
The Yankees are 6-7 right now, a whopping 1.5 games out of first place. In 2007, they started 7-6; in 2006, they started 6-7; in 2005, they started 5-8; and in 2004, they started 6-7. The sky, in other words, is not falling.
Tonight, a dubious era in a Yankee history begins. While Derek Jeter takes over at short stop and Alberto Gonzalez spells Robinson Cano at second base, behind the plate will be none other than Chad Moeller. Moeller is 33 with a career batting line of .224/.284/.346. Luckily, Jorge made a series of throws today and seems to be on the mend. Considering that Posada was under strict orders not to throw to second yesterday, who knows how serious his injury really is?
The Yankees lineup features Moeller, Gonzalez and Morgan Ensberg. It’s like Spring Training all over again. A six-run first inning would be fitting.
On the mound today as the Yankees face the Tampa Bay Rays is Ian Kennedy. Kennedy is a RAB favorite; just check out his Baseball-Reference page. But this year in 5.1 innings, he’s been rocked. Hopefully, he’ll right that ship today.
The Unemployed Former Attorney General 2B
Game Notes: We’ve just installed a new threaded and paged comment system. Hopefully, that’ll keep site performance at normal levels. Expect some more changes there over the next few days, and if there are any problems, our e-mail addresses are on the left…Thirteen games into the season, and we’ve raised a pledged $93.70 as part of our Big Three K Craniosynostosis fund drive. Please consider donating. Every amount helps.
Unlike the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants were good at baseball. Unlike the Dodgers, they weren’t the heart and soul of a borough struggling to carve out an identity for itself during times of change. Unlike Brooklyn Dodger fans, old New York Giants fans don’t carry fifty-year-old grudges on their sleeves. And while Ebbets Field is often represented as the ideal embodiment of sepia-tinged nostalgia, the Polo Grounds don’t evoke the same feel of history in New York sports culture. Today, Richard Sandomir catches up with a few old Giants fans who still pine for the team of their youth. It’s a fun read of an oft-neglected part of New York baseball histroy. · (5) ·
Chad Jennings notes that career journeyman catcher Chad Moeller was called up from Triple-A Scranton today to help ease the catching burden. There is no word on any accompanying roster moves, but it’s likely that M(VP)olina will hit the 15-day to clear a spot on the 25-man roster, and either Frankie Cervelli or Humberto Sanchez could be placed on the 60-day DL to clear up a 40-man spot.
I was just thinking about this whole catching mess, and I had an idea so ridiculous, so crazy it just might work. Why not sign sign this readily available free agent to not only catch a few days a week, but to provide a little offense? Not a bad idea, no? · (36) ·
As we all know, Fox dropped the ball on Saturday night. With the Yankees-Red Sox game rapidly nearing a conclusion, Fox bounced baseball to FX, its cable entertainment network, so that a NASCAR race could start.
The transition was far from seamless, and fans were none too thrilled with the News Corp. network. From the AP:
The teams didn’t begin playing again until 8:30 after a delay of more than two hours. Announcer Joe Buck repeated several times that the game was being simulcast on cable channel FX and Fox would have to switch to the race at 8:53.
It appeared the network might be able to show both events in their entirety, but with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano fouled off several pitches. At 8:55, Fox switched to the race in the middle of Cano’s at-bat.
The final two pitches of the 4-3 Red Sox win were shown only on FX, which is available in about three-quarters of the nation’s homes with televisions.
Bell said Fox hoped to show all of Cano’s at-bat instead of switching to the race earlier so the change would occur between hitters. “It wasn’t the smoothest transition, but our intentions were to try to finish on the network,” Bell said.
For Fox, this move was a simple business decision. NASCAR races receives ratings well above those for mid-afternoon baseball games. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the network cut away from a one-run game with one out remaining. Fox apologized, but it rings a little false.