As we creep into our second year at RAB, I often think about why we blog. As many of you know, we’re rather prolific, for better or worse, and it’s no small investment of time to go along with the day jobs the three of us have. So why do it?

For me, at least, the answer’s fairly simple: I love baseball; I love talking about baseball; and I love writing and sharing my thoughts about baseball. This is our version — a hopefully high-brow version — of sports radio. We can write and talk about baseball, and we’re all Yankee fans.

But what about the players who are also bloggers? What’s their motivation?

In today’s Times, Tyler Kepner posted that very same question to Phil Hughes. Hughes’ new site — The Phil Hughes Weblog — is a site very much in tune with this generation of bloggers. Hughes is about three years younger than the youngest of us, and for him, much like millions of people writing on WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr or elsewhere, keeping a blog just seemed like the best way to get himself out there.

His answers to Kepner’s questions are very revealing. “The fans are very important to me,” Hughes said to Kepner. “Without them, I wouldn’t have a job, basically. I try to give back as much as I can. It’s almost a no-brainer.”

The rest of the piece — a profile on the blog — is both illuminated and amusing. Kepner on Derek Jeter‘s reaction:

Jeter smiled when asked if he had thought about maintaining a true blog. “That’s too much for me to worry about,” said Jeter, who was in sixth grade when Hughes was born. Maybe, he mused, there was a generation gap.

And Kepner on Brian Cashman‘s reaction and Hughes’ intentions:

General Manager Brian Cashman said he had concerns about players maintaining Web sites that could embarrass the team. Cashman added that he would rather not have players breaking news; Curt Schilling of the Red Sox has done that on his blog, 38pitches.com.

But for now, Cashman has no reason to worry. Hughes says he has no plans to detail each start, the way Schilling does, and the only news he broke was his change in uniform number (to 34 from 65), which he revealed this month.

“Fans get enough baseball information from you guys; that’s your job,” Hughes said, referring to the news media. “I don’t try to do any of that. I want them to feel they have a connection with me. That’s kind of the main idea.

“To me, baseball players always seemed so larger than life. I guess one of the points I’m trying to make is that it’s not really that way. You can idolize players, but you realize they’re just guys. That’s kind of what I want to get across. I’m not any better than anybody else. I just happen to have this ability that not many other people have.”

Basically, then, Hughes is doing what any other 20-something with an Internet connection is doing these days: He’s blogging about his life.

For the fans, then, Hughes’ blog makes him more human and more accessible. More than just a young phenom pitcher on the Yankees, he’s Phil Hughes, a real person who got excited, as we all did, when David Tyree pulled down that pass from Eli Manning a few weeks ago.

With Spring Training upon us, who knows what the future holds for Hughes’ blog? Baseball players find themselves rather busy, spending 81 of 162 games on the road. But now we know why Hughes blogs. Just like the rest of us, he wants to share.

Categories : Pitching
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  • Hank speaks out in support of Cash-money
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    While the media has reported that Brian Cashman may be judged by his bosses based on the outcome of the Johan Santana trade, publicly, Hank is singing a different tune. Kat O’Brien, the official beat writer of Hank Steinbrenner, caught up with Hank, and he spoke positively of Cashman. “We’ll talk about it during the season. It will just happen when it happens naturally,” he said. “I think you guys are trying to create controversy here where it doesn’t exist.” All that talk of Cashman’s demise was grossly exaggerated. Expect him back in the Bronx for a long time. · (6) ·

Do you know the last time the Yankees won the World Series without a substantial contribution from a left-handed starter? Nineteen forty seven. Nineteen hundred forty seven. More than sixty years ago. The Yanks won the 12th World Championship in franchise history that year; that’s how long ago it was. Is that unbelievable, or what?

The greatest Yankee teams fall right in line with its long tradition of great left-handed starting pitchers: Lefty Gomez. Whitey Ford. Ron Guidry. Andy Pettitte. Heck, even guys like Fritz Peterson, David Wells, Dave Righetti, Al Downing and Ed Lopat have their place in Yankee lore. For all the great catchers and center fielders who have marched through the Bronx over the years, the backbone of the franchise has been its left-handed pitching.

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Categories : Draft
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  • Crosstown fugliness
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    The Mets unveiled their Citifield logo today, and it’s, um, one for the ages. Emma Span takes an amusing look at the latest in corporate synergy. I’m just glad new Yankee Stadium will remain Yankee Stadium. Call me a traditionalist, but it just looks – and sounds – better that way. · (7) ·

Earlier today, I offhandedly mentioned Derek Jeter‘s weekend comments about blood tests in baseball, and frequent commenter Geno took me to task for dismissing something newsworthy. So let me fix that.

Over the weekend, Derek Jeter opined on Bloomberg Radio that blood tests for HGH would not be intrusive and openly advocated for these tests. “You can test for whatever you want to test for,” he said. “We get pricked by needles anyway in spring training, so we have a lot of blood work to begin with.”

On Monday, he drew flak from the Players’ Union over these comments. Jeter had to explain his position while Union leaders were a bit more outspoken about it:

“(The problem) has gotten so much attention now, I think it would probably silence a lot of people that were critical of guys … so I wouldn’t mind it,” Jeter said. “I can only comment on myself; I don’t know about other people. I don’t like needles very much, but I wouldn’t mind it.”

“I’m not saying I would ever be in favor of it, but if we did do it, that would be the only way the general public would finally believe that baseball is completely clean,” said Mike Mussina, the Yankees’ players union representative. “But I don’t know if it will ever come to that.”

Jason Giambi, who was at the center of the BALCO scandal, said: “I’m up for whatever they want to do. I don’t really care.”

“This has to be a union decision, not an individual one,” he added.

And that’s the problem. That’s the problem with this whole Mitchell Report and the flap over Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee.

The Mitchell Report was intended to produce change in Major League Baseball’s supposed drug culture. It was supposed to draw attention the shortcomings of its drug testing policies and the institutions and institutional attitudes in place that prevented and still prevent the sport from developing top-notch testing procedures. When Union members start speaking out and the Union forces them back into line, it’s clear that the Report utterly failed.

Instead, we get a Congressional circus with no real denouement or any sense of resolution. A hearing supposedly about drug use in baseball turned into a “he said, he said” fight.

While the Union will always defend itself, Jeter should be praised for taking a stand. Maybe his comments were off-the-cuff, and had he thought about it, he wouldn’t have broken ranks with the MLBPA. But he has, and baseball needs more players to step forward if the drug policy and public perception of the game is to change for the better.

Categories : STEROIDS!
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Via Pinstripes PA, Getty Images has the “photo day” pics available. You should definitely check ‘em out, but here are the highlights:

Make sure you take a look at all the photos. Good stuff. Some of ‘em remind me of yearbook picture day.

Categories : Spring Training
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  • Profiling Damon Oppenheimer
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    Damon Oppenheimer is the man behind Brian Cashman’s plan to develop a solid core of young players who come up through the Yankees’ farm system. Oppenheimer and Daily News columnist John Harper sat down for a lengthy talk recently, and the resulting profile in today’s paper provides a solid glimpse into the mind behind the Yankees’ drafting plan. If you want to know how Joba and IPK started a movement that propelled the Yanks’ system to the upper echelons of Major League Baseball, check it out. · (11) ·