Down on the Farm

Triple-A Columbus (13-7 loss to Columbus) they got pounded this game…the pitchers gave up 23 H and 9 XBH to the Nationals’ Triple-A squad…THE NATS!!!
Kevin Reese: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Chris Basak: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Andy Phillips: 1 for 4, 1 BB
Bronson Sardinha: 1 for 5, 1 RBI – threw a runner out at home from RF
Shelley Duncan: 4 for 5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI – he couldn’t do any worse than Abreu is right now, could he?
Kevin Thompson: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB – picked off first
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 4, 1 K – first K in 27 AB
Ross Ohlendorf: 2.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 E (pickoff) – for cryin’ out loud Ross, you’re better than this…
Ron “I’m better than Luis Vizcaino” Villone: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
rest of bullpen: 5 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR allowed

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Kate Smith would not approve of those chains

Every seventh inning at Yankee Stadium since September 18, 2001, Kate Smith (or Ronan Tynan) belts out “God Bless America.” Before the performance (or recording), Bob Sheppard urges us to “remember the servicemen and women who have lost their lives defending our freedom and our way of life.”

For a while after Sept. 11, all Major League Baseball teams were observing a moment of silence and playing this song. But now, five and a half years after the attacks, the moment of silence seems to have dwindled down to a half-second of silence, and “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium – the only stadium at which it is performed on a daily basis – is raising more than a few eyebrows, as The New York Times noted yesterday. The Yankee Stadium ushers, it seems, chain in the fans and glare at folks who dare to move during the song.

Seconds before “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” are played, police officers, security guards and ushers turn their backs to the American flag in center field, stare at fans moving through the stands and ask them to stop. Across the stadium’s lower section, ushers stand every 20 feet to block the main aisle with chains…

Howard J. Rubenstein, the spokesman for the Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner, said the policy was an expression of patriotism. “Mr. Steinbrenner wanted to do all games to remind the fans about how important it is to honor our nation, our service members, those that died on Sept. 11 and those fighting for our nation,” Rubenstein said in a telephone interview.

Among the sports world on the Internet, Will Leitch at Deadspin covered this story. He noted how bad the song is, how Irving Berlin himself grew to hate it, and how enforced patriotism on behalf of the Yankees is just tacky. Over at Fark, that site of high-brow Internet culture, the Farkers had a field day with it as well.

But none of the Yankee bloggers have tackled this issue. Why? Because we hate to mix baseball and politics. We all get along because we all love the Yankees. We don’t want to know if we agree with George W. Bush’s foreign disaster policy. We don’t want to see the Yankee blogosphere devolve into a blue state-red state battle. It’s bad enough we have to deal with Red Sox trolls; we’re not going to get embroiled in the Michelle Malkin-Daily Kos wars as well.

I, however, want to break that silence. In my opinion – and in this piece I speak for me and me alone – it’s time for the Yanks to give Kate Smith and Ronan Tynan a break. We know the Yankees, and every other baseball club, are patriotic. We know the Yankees played a major role in lifting New York’s spirits in the fall of 2001 (even if those nasty Diamondbacks decided to rain on our parade).

But we also know that we are involved in a war in Iraq that shouldn’t have been part of the War on Terror. We also know that President Bush has very little support in the New York area and is suffering through a time in his presidency during which 28 percent of the nation approves of his handling of the job.

We all want to see our troops fighting overseas return home safely, and none of us want another terrorist attack on our soil. But do we really need “God Bless America” at every baseball game? Someone tell the Yankees: This is baseball. Leave the patriotism for some other time.

Update: A few astute commenters have noted that my argument falls back too much on politics and not enough on what the Yankees are doing. My point in mentioning Bush’s approval rating is to say that many people are uncomfortable with the way in which the Yankees promote George Steinbrenner’s ideas of patriotism. While many others agree with it, why not just leave it out all together and let each of us acknowledge our support for America on our own terms?

Cashman, we urge you to put in a claim

The Giants made a couple of outfield moves yesterday, including the designation of Todd Linden for assignment.

The way things are going now, there’s absolutely no reason to not put in a claim. Linden is only 27, so he’s still relatively young. He raked upon first entering the minors at AA, but has fallen off since. Declining player, or poor player development system? To help answer that, ask yourselves when was the last time the Giants developed a hitter at the minor league level.

You keep thinking about that. Hopefully Cashman puts in his claim before you come up with one.

Rangers 14, Yanks 2

Melky .129 Myers .000
Jeter .027 Henn -.008
Nieves .000 Vizcaino -.021
Phelps .000 Wang -.234
Alex -.031
Minky -.037
Posada -.057
Matsui -.064
Damon -.064
Abreu -.068
Cano -.071

Yesterday’s game helped me put the value of defense in a better perspective. When you have a pitch-to-contact guy on the mound, you’re going to need some solid performances by the guys behind him in order to get through it. Most of the time — even though they aren’t the best fielders in the league — the defense is solid in support of Wang. Unfortunately, guys are going to have bad games; some guys are just bad.

Not that Wang did himself many favors. He didn’t look his sharpest, leaving that sinker higher in the zone than he normally does (and a consequence of leaving that baby up is that it doesn’t have nearly the bite as a lower version). Flat and waist high is no way to go through life.

If you saw the game, you know which plays I’m talking about. If you didn’t see the game, you surely heard from a friend who is as frustrated as me. It was one of two games this season I clicked off in the middle — and I’m sure you can guess which the other was.

Let’s start with my boy Bobby. On the first pitch in the fifth inning, Gerald Laird (.209/.284/.297) hit a deep fly ball to right. Melky makes that play. Damon makes that play. Matsui makes that play. Hell, fuckin’ Bernie makes that play. But Bobby has all sorts of trouble when he has to run backwards, can’t get under the ball, and it falls. Now, thankfully it’s the fifth inning, and it’s a 1-1 game, so even if the run scores it’s not a fatal deficit.

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Down on the Farm

Add Mitch Hilligoss to the list of casualties, dunno what’s wrong with him, but he’s out with something… 

Triple-A Scranton was washed out. No makeup date was announced.

Double-A Trenton (3-2 loss to New Britain)
Carlos Mendoza: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Matt Carson: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
rest of lineup: 0 for 24, 6 K, 2 CS, 1 HBP, 1 E – the team is hitting .252-.331-.350-.681
Jeff Marquez: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 10-7 GB/FB
Edwar Ramirez: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 WP – he’s struck out 31 of the 48 batters he’s faced this year…

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Is Bobby Abreu really this bad?

Yeah, it’s early. Yeah, guys hit slumps. But ask yourself: does it look like Abreu is proactive in changing what’s wrong? He looks lazy at the plate, and he’s completely out of rhythm (i.e., his leg and bat are out of sync, and they don’t even go to a rhythm individually).

And then there’s his fielding habits, which are atrocious. He’s afraid of the wall, and completely lacks the ability to go back for a ball. Today it looked like Jason Giambi could have done a better job in right.

What do you guys think? Is there any way to turn Bobby around? This certainly transcends most slumps.

Yanks 6, Rangers 2

Jeter .184 Mussina .130
Abreu .078 Myers .036
Damon .046 Proctor .028
Alex .045 Farnsworth .027
Matsui .039 Rivera .017
Minky .021 Bruney -.031
Nieves -.023
Cano -.033
Melky -.062

How you know you pwn a team: it becomes old and hacky to say, “I wish we played them all 162 games.”

I only caught certain bits of the game so I think we’ll have to do this in bullet form. If anyone has anything else to add, please do so.

  • Robinson Tejeda’s ERA climbed nearly a point (0.98 to be exact) last night. I was telling a buddy that Tejeda was experiencing a market correction, but after looking at the numbers, I’m not so sure about that. He’s walking a ton less this year, and is keeping his strikeouts at a 2:1 ratio (though that kind of ratio works better if you’re striking out closer to one per inning). Plus, he’s only 25, so it’s tough to gauge how he’ll develop. His stuff is pretty good, so maybe he can be a 3.80 to 4.30 pitcher.
  • Wil Nieves got a hit! And I missed it. By far the most disappointing part of the season so far for me. I may never get to see one…
  • Will there ever be a recap without something about the bullpen? I turned on the TV again in the seventh, just in time to see Proctor fan Nelson Cruz. Of course, I thought Proctor had pitched the entire seventh, with the logic being that he’ll serve his suspension soon and he’s decently rested, so let’s give him some innings. However, when I checked the box score, I was dismayed to see that he was the third pitcher of the inning. Looks like Joe’s quick hook got Bruney out of a four-run game in a hurry. It’s tough to disagree, because I didn’t see what was going on at the time. However, Wilkerson has been putting the ball on the ground at a tremendous rate this season (44.9%, though we have the small sample size caveat). Seriously, Mike Myers needs to come in to face this guy? You’d think Bruney had/has a longer leash than that.
  • I’m totally on board with pitching Mo with a four-run lead tonight. Yeah, you might need him this afternoon, but the opposing pitcher (Brandon McCarthy), has an ERA near 8.00. One would hope the Yanks could tee off on his for a few runs. And then you get into the weekend, where the Yanks face just one guy with an ERA below 5.50 (Jarrod Washburn, whom we beat on Sunday). Gotta keep Mo sharp.
  • We’re back at .500! Too bad the Red Sox are just as hot.

Wang vs. Brandon McCarthy today at 1:05. Please, I don’t want to be under .500 again.