Rumors: Yanks to play exhibition at Virginia Tech on 3/18

Via The College Baseball Blog comes an interesting rumor: The Yanks are scheduled to play an exhibition game at Virginia Tech in March. The game, set for March 18, 2008, will, according to Brian Foley, “probably be a fundraiser for the Virginia Tech shootings.”

Update: As commenter Ralph notes, that the Yanks will play a game at VT isn’t a rumor. The Yanks confirmed it in May when they donated to VT. The rumor is that the game will be played on March 18.

Why I have a hard time bashing Mussina

The best part about clinching in blowout style is that you don’t have to talk about the game; we can just talk about the celebration afterwards. Before I get to the subject of this post, I’d like to point out my favorite moments of the postgame (best.postgame.ever.):

  • Edwar apparently likes dousing people with beer while they’re on camera. Guess the kid feels neglected.
  • There was a shot of Joba chugging a bottle of champagne. Less than 10 minutes later, he was being interviewed by Kim Jones, and actually kept his shit together. Bravo, Joba.
  • Melky must have been puking his guts out later on, seeing how much champagne he drank.
  • Four or five guys dousing Robinson Cano as Kim Jones interviewed him. We can only speculate, but yeah, they did that on purpose.
  • Joe Torre rambling on and on, sounding very drunk and very emotional. His head was flapping around so much during his interview that the skin under his chin was wobbling like a turkey.
  • Robinson Cano enjoying a cold Keystone Light. Really? Key Light? The Yanks couldn’t do better than that?
  • Mike Mussina and Shelley Duncan horsing around. I just wouldn’t expect those two to have much interaction.

The reason why I have a hard time bashing Mussina is explained on Pete’s blog:

“Mussina, who is not a party guy, celebrated with his teammates a bit then grabbed a beer and sat in Torre’s office with the coaches. The hard feelings are forgotten, there are more games to play now.”

This is a far cry from “Replace me? With who?” Once indignant about his removal from the rotation, Mussina apparently understands that it helped turn around his season. He got extra rest, had extra time to work on his delivery, and was able to get himself back into mental shape. So he chills with the people responsible. I have a certain admiration for that.

He’s gotta realize, though, that he can’t be effective pitching every five days over a six-month season; he’s older and his body is no longer up to the task. In a perfect coincidence, Joba Chamberlain won’t be able to go every five days over a six-month season next year because of innings pitched concerns. For that matter, same with Phil Hughes (Ian Kennedy has built up his innings and could go around 200 next year). Any chance the Yanks move outside the box and set up a six-man rotation, as to limit the innings of Mussina, Joba, and Hughes? Makes sense to me. It’s better than shuffling Joba between the rotation and the bullpen.

A few other lingering thoughts. Pettitte, scheduled to pitch Friday, would be lined up on normal rest for Game 2 if the series were to start on October 3. If it started on the fourth, he’d be on five days’ rest. Wang finishes his second straight season with 19 wins, and will be on either seven or eight days’ rest when the Yanks open the ALDS. Mussina goes tomorrow, and will start Game 3 on either eight or nine day’s rest — unless the Yanks go with Clemens there, in which case he’ll have nine or 10 days’ rest. Either way, I think Moose, despite his longing for routine, will benefit from the long layoff. Hughes makes his final regular season appearance today. He could be the Game 4 starter.

Finally: Anyone else willing to give Edwar another shot at the postseason roster after working with Mo? Hey, it worked for Vizcaino.

Update: Check out Yes Network on YouTube for all the video.

Pouring fuel on the A-Rod fire

Over at LoHud, Peter Abraham has a quote from A-Rod in his piece on the celebration:

“This feels like home. It’s hard to believe that I played for another two organizations. So much has happened to me here, adversity, some success, that I feel like anything but New York feels weird for me now.”

Do we dare hope this is just another sign that A-Rod wants to and will do what it takes to stay in New York? We’ll be hearing a lot about this over the next five weeks.

Game 158: Seriously, just win

We’ll all feel a whole lot better when the Yanks win a game. Tonight could be the night. Chien-Ming Wang is facing J.P. Howell, and Brian Bruney and Edwar Ramirez are unavailable.

There’s a long, on-going discussion in last night’s game thread about the Devil Rays and the fact that they are not a very good team. Some folks feel we’re too harsh on the Devil Rays. Supposedly, we aren’t willing to give this young and very flawed team enough credit when they beat the Yankees, and we’re too harsh on them when they blow 8-1 leads against the Red Sox.

The truth is, as always, somewhere in between. The Devil Rays, perennially bad, perennially rewarded with early-round draft choices, have shown an uncanny inability to put together anything resembling a decent bullpen. The Yankees, perennially great and very rich, have shown an uncanny inability to rise to the occasion and win.

Maybe the Devil Rays do deserve some more credit. For some reason, whatever that is, they play harder and better against the Yanks. Maybe it’s a question of motivating the youngster to play hard all the time. Maybe the Yanks think they can sleepwalk through these games. Who knows?

Whatever the case may be, the Yankees are 15-16 against the fourth and fifth place teams in the AL East this year. Look no further than that record when you try to figure out why the Yanks aren’t winning the division. Going 20-11, hardly a tall order against two teams destined for more than 90 losses this season is fairly inexcusable.

For the Yanks, the same truth remains from last night: Win, and they’re in. That’s much more satisfying than the likely Detroit loss tonight at the hands of Johan Santana. Let’s get in on a good note.

Damon LF – Ending the year strong. That could be huge for October.
Jeter SS – 19 for his last 47 but with just 1 BB in ten games.
Abreu RF – Stuck on 98 RBI since Sept. 17
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C – The New York Observer thinks Posada deserves more respect this year.
Cano 2B
Duncan DH – Finally, Hit-less-deki got the night off.
Mientkiewicz 1B
Cabrera CF

Wang P – Going for second straight 19-win season

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for your fix of Minor League news, Mike threw up a post about to get buried by this one featuring some quick Minor League hits. Check it out.

BP writers, Banter bloggers NYC book reading

Baseball Prospectus, the ever-popular site for all things baseball, has recently released a new book: It Ain’t over ’til It’s over: The Baseball Prospectus Pennant Race Book. The book features essays by all the typical BP writers as well as contributors by Bronx Banter writers Alex Belth and Jay Jaffe and Pinstripe Blog author Steven Goldman. Tonight, while the Yanks go for the clinch, these three writers and a few other BP regulars will be on hand at the Columbia University Bookstore to discuss the book. The event starts at 7 p.m., and you can find out more about the bookstore here.

Disclaimer: Clicking the Amazon link to the buy the book kicks us back a few bucks.