Results tagged ‘ All-Star Game ’

I am an optimistic guy but…

 

The team of low expectations…

As the Yankees stumbled to the All-Star Break, I was surprised to read the number of stories that said the Yankees may have a hard time making the play-offs if they keep playing like this.  I hate to be the doomsayer but this team isn’t going anywhere.  I love the Yankees and I’ve been a long-time fan, but there’s no doubt that this team is not built for October success.   As it stands, a third or fourth place finish, if nothing changes, is the best case scenario for the injury-plagued, patch-work 2013 Yankees.  When your ace pitches like Jose Contreras used to against the Boston Red Sox while wearing pinstripes, it’s fairly obvious that there are no 10-game winning streaks looming on the horizon.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a season where every player who has been injured, gets re-injured after his return.  Hopefully, Derek Jeter just had a minor setback but at this point, it’s anybody’s guess what the second half of the season holds.

I still do not support trading top prospects for a glimmer of hope.  I think any mid-season deals at this point would only strengthen the possibility of third over fourth.  I do not see any potential deal that would make me line up to buy play-off tickets.  I would so love to be wrong, and you could argue that the Los Angeles Dodgers have arisen from the dead to become potential play-off contenders, but they aren’t pieced together like a quilt comprised of Goodwill cloth.

Erase the standings…well, except for the Yanks…

Even though they aren’t in the top 3 in the AL in wins, I still expect the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers to be the last men standing when the ALCS rolls around.  I don’t buy into the Red Sox “Juggernaut” and I expect the Rangers to eclipse the Oakland A’s this time around.  Tampa Bay will be a threat but in the end, the Tigers and Rangers should persevere.  Detroit will be so scaring if Justin Verlander starts pitching like he can and Max Scherzer continues his Verlander-like impression.

Holiday for A-Rod…

The latest A-Rod news has him proclaiming that he should be ready for the Bronx in about a week.  So, I say, Commissioner Selig, where are those suspensions?  It is time to send A-Rod to the bench.  50 games?  Life?  I would probably prefer the latter, but at the very least, the suspension should, in my mind, prevent his 2013 return.  I do not want to see #13 on the field regardless of the cost.  Sorry A-Rod, I am not a fan of yours.

What’s happenin’ in Scranton/Wilkes Barre and Trenton?…

At this point, 6 games down in the AL East standings, I’d probably prefer to see the Yankees give some younger guys a shot.  This is not 1978 where the Yankees have the team to overtake Boston to win the World Series.  With Rafael DePaula now becoming the most hyped Yankees pitching prospect, let’s see what he has at the major league level.  I’ve watch the Phil Hughes Show and it deserves to be cancelled.  It’s too bad that Hiroki Kuroda is nearing the end of a great career, the Yankees will be hard-pressed to replace both him and potentially CC Sabathia at the top two positions in the rotation if CC continues to struggle.

Do you want Hal’s office or Hank’s?…

So, should the Yankees re-sign Robinson Cano?  Absolutely.  He is the team’s legitimate star, and they need to build around him in coming seasons.  If they are looking for a second baseman next year in addition to a power bat in the middle of the order and the other missing pieces, it’s going to be shades of the 1980’s as the team will have to have some down years before they can re-emerge.

Hope on the horizon…

I was glad to see the Yankees finally sign first-round pick Aaron Judge.  Judge, an outfielder, seems to embody the right ingredients to be a future star in the Bronx.  I think I read the Yankees had signed their top 16 picks which is good.  It’s tough watching a guy like Gerrit Cole pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates knowing he was once a Yankees draft pick that didn’t sign.  I kind of feel the same way about Josh Pettitte.  I would love to see the Yankees sign Pettitte, but it’s been made very clear his path is college.  Andy’s professional success has given Josh the financial security to make that decision.  I can only hope the Yankees have another opportunity to one day draft Josh with the serious intent to sign him.

You need a clutch hit, I give you Donnie Baseball!…

Going back to the Los Angeles Dodgers, I want to say how proud I am of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.  His team came into the season with very heavy expectations and injuries derailed any chance of a strong start.  He became everybody’s favorite to be the next manager fired, but with a recent rally, he has the Dodgers within 2.5 games of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks.  I fully expect Donnie Baseball to surpass the D-Backs after the All-Star Break and he’s proven to me that he is a quality baseball manager.  There’s a reason he has always been my favorite when he puts on a uniform and he is not disappointing me this year.  He’s truly one of the game’s greats.

You’re a Knicks fan, I’m a Knicks fan, we’re ALL Knicks fans!…

I left the Los Angeles Lakes to become a New York Knicks fan before last season, and now Metta World Peace has apparently followed the same logic in signing with the Knickerbockers.  I am not crazy about J-Kidd coaching in Brooklyn, but hopefully the Knicks can pull together some magic for next season.

Sorry, I still can’t get used to the short hair…

Congratulations to Tim Lincecum for his no-hitter.  But it came too late to help my fantasy baseball teams as I cut bait long ago.  I guess if I were a baseball owner, I’d probably be George Steinbrenner.  Billy!!!!  ;)

–Scott

 

Melky, what were you thinking?…

 

Disappointing…

I am not quite sure what was reaction was when I heard that San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera had been suspended for 50 games due to substance abuse.  As a former Yankee, I watched his career as it went through Atlanta and Kansas City before his arrival in the City by the Bay.  The year in Atlanta was forgettable, but Melky rebounded in Kansas City and continued his renaissance in San Francisco.  The highlight of the year for him was capped with the MVP Award for the All-Star Game.

When Melky was a Yankee, he was often in the mix for game-winning hits and the recipient of one of A.J. Burnett’s pies.  It was tough to see him go to Atlanta in the ill-fated trade for Javier Vazquez but I had hoped that he would have a chance to thrive outside of Yankee Stadium and the platoon situation he found himself in.  Even with his recent success, I still feel that Brett Gardner, when healthy, is a better fit for the Yankees.  Nevertheless, I was glad to see that Melky had found major league success as a regular.

Well, until the day it was announced that he had been suspended.  I lost most if not all respect that day.  Melky’s quick acceptance of his suspension only rubbed salt in the wound, and now there’s a report that he staged a bogus website in a botched attempt to mask his guilt.  I can gladly say that I am glad that Melky is not a Yankee today.  I would not want him on my team and if I was the Giants’ GM Brian Sabean, I’d cut my losses and move on.  The last thing the Giants need is a player with the aura of substance abuse, particularly on the heels of former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds.  Character should be the first criteria when determining if a player is a good fit for any organization.  Yes, athletic ability and talent rank very highly but it means nothing if the player is one of poor character.

News of the totally irrelevant…

Speaking of substance abuse, it’s ironic that another former Yankee is again in the news.  There were reports that Roger Clemens has signed with an independent team.  Seriously?  A 50-year-old pitcher trying to make a comeback?  The only guy who could make Jamie Moyer look like a teenager?  I don’t care if Clemens was acquitted in June.  He is one guy that I never want to see wear pinstripes again or ever set foot on Yankee Stadium soil.

I have been supportive of current Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.  There was something very honest about Pettitte’s admission of substance abuse a few years back.  Maybe he has all of us fooled.  Maybe not.  I tend to believe the latter.  On the other hand, I don’t believe anything Roger Clemens has to say.  Nor do I believe Alex Rodriguez for that matter.  I tolerate Rodriguez because he is on the Yankees but I am not a fan of his.

I’d like to put Melky in the category of guys that should be forgiven, but he just strikes me as another Clemens or A-Rod at this point.  It is incredible that a guy, at this point in time, would risk millions by doing something that is so closely watched.  He was on the fast track for failure.  I doubt we’ve seen the last of Melky but I hope that he learns something from the time off.

I was a Yankee for two months…

I know that the Ichiro in Pinstripes Era is very short-lived and will be expiring at the end of the season, but it was a joy to see him hit two home runs off Josh Beckett in the weekend series against the Red Sox.  Although the Yankees only took two of three from the Sox, this is not the same Red Sox squad of years passed.  Although Bobby Valentine has gotten a vote of confidence from the Front Office, I don’t see how he makes it past just one season in Boston.  It is no secret the Sox covet Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell so if there’s a way to pry him from Canada, I am sure that he will be immediately named the next manager of the Sox.

How did I go from Ichiro to John Farrell?  I am not quite sure about that one myself…

Where did all these former Dodgers come from?…

It’s only a brief sample, but I really wouldn’t mind seeing Derek Lowe return as the long man in the pen next season.  I’ve always admired Lowe’s competitiveness and determination.  It’s still a bit weird watching him in pinstripes, but he is a welcome addition.  There’s no doubt that I want to see the return of pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.  He’s been even better than I had anticipated.  I always wondered why Dodger fans were so endeared to him as I had viewed him as a middle of the road starter.  But, wow, I was wrong!  I totally get why he meant so much to Dodger fans.  The team would be lost without Kuroda, particularly after the DL stints of most notably CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte.

It’s hard to believe that September is right around the corner.  I guess we will soon be inundated with magic numbers.  There is only one number I am concerned about…#28.  Let’s go, Yankees!

–Scott

 

Maybe 3,000 hits is a distraction…

Life beyond 3,000 hits…

I hate to make any anti-Derek Jeter comments but I was fearful that the Yankees’ recent winning roll would get derailed by DJ’s return to the lineup.  Sure, the recent losses are not his fault, but for whatever reason, the team fared better when he was out of the lineup.  I didn’t like the errors made by Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena, but Nunez in particular seemed to have a fresher bat.

 

Art by Scott Dalgleish, http://scottydal.deviantart.com/

 

 

I would like to see more batting orders in the second half of the season with Brett Gardner leading off.  I suspect that will happen anyway, but Jeter is clearly the focal point of baseball right now as he approaches 3,000 hits.

Will he get those 2 hits that he needs today against the Tampa Bay Rays?  He could, but I think it’s more likely that the 3,000th hit will come tomorrow.  Of course, I could be completely wrong and DJ might go 0-4 both days.

Don’t get me wrong…I like Jeter and what he has meant to the organization.  I will enjoy the day that they retire #2 and make the speeches at Yankee Stadium to induct a commemorative stone into Monument Park on his behalf.  But as great as it is to see a player spend his entire career with one organization, I can definitely see the downside which is the deterioration of the player’s skills and ability.

Don Mattingly was in a fast decline when he retired after the 1995 season, however, I don’t think that I was mentally ready for his departure.  Perhaps it was because I really wanted to see him win a championship.  But with DJ, he has the championships and will soon be the only player in Yankee history with 3,000 hits.  He has done everything you could ask for in pinstripes.  My only request is that he steps away from the field when he realizes that his skills have eroded to the point that he is a liability.  It’s not there yet, but the day is rapidly approaching.  As the saying goes, time stops for no one.

 

A tear in the team’s hopes…

I just read that Alex Rodriguez might have a meniscus tear in his right knee which could require surgery.  If Alex and the team decide now is the time for the surgery, it is speculated that he would miss a month.  That’s definitely not good news as the Yankees have fallen behind the Boston Red Sox in the standings.  I’d feel better if there was a healthy Eric Chavez on the roster but as it stands, it would be necessary for Eduardo Nunez to fill in at third.  A-Rod’s loss definitely weakens the Yankees and it puts some pressure on GM Brian Cashman to find a replacement third baseman (in addition to his search for pitching).

I do not know the ramifications of A-Rod playing through the injury, but I hope that he takes the path that leads to good health by September.  Of course, if the Yankees fall too far out, there won’t be an extended playing season this year.

 

 

What can we find at Nordy’s Rack?….

As far as moves the Yankees are looking at, it appears that there is a dearth of quality starting pitching available on the trade front.  The Yankees are apparently looking at relief pitching, like many other teams.  Reports have the Yankees interested in, among others, Sean Burnett of the Washington Nationals and Randy Choate of the Florida Marlins.  I have liked what Choate has done since he left the Yankees as he became a very solid lefty option for the Tampa Bay Rays and now the Marlins.  Burnett probably has the better potential at this point although I am not enamored by his 5.76 ERA.  But ERA can be deceiving and I don’t know the reasons behind Burnett’s number as I don’t follow the Nats.

These are the times that I am appreciative that Brian Cashman is the team’s general manager.  It is his job to find what ails the team and hopefully bring in the necessary chips to ensure that the team is playing meaningful baseball in October.  I am full confidence in his abilities and I’d never underestimate the power of his network throughout baseball.

This month should get very interesting as the days go by…

 

 

A sad day in baseball…

I would be remiss if I did not mention the tragedy in Arlington, Texas where the fan reaching for a ball thrown into the stands by Josh Hamilton fell to his death.  I have never caught a ball at a game, and I can remember as a kid how much I wanted to catch one during every visit to the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  I can see how the ball would become your prime focus.  The loss of the fan, Shannon Stone, was horrible by itself but it was made worse by the presence of his 6-year-old son.  I lost my father as a child but I wasn’t there when he died.  I simply cannot imagine how difficult it will be for Shannon’s son in the days and years ahead.  I definitely hope that he and his family are taken care of by the Texas Rangers organization and Major League Baseball.

Now there’s talk the players could be barred from throwing baseballs into the stands (they’d have to hand the ball to a fan or hand it to an usher who, in turn, would hand it to the fan).  While I am in favor of additional safety measures to prevent future unnecessary deaths like Shannon, I would hate to see the players lose the ability to toss a ball into the stands.

 

Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton...

Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (AP Photo)

 

No, really, I don’t want to go to Phoenix…

When the All-Star Team was announced, I was excited about the number of Yankees making the team.  But it appears that many of them won’t be making the trip to Phoenix.  First, Mariano Rivera pulled out, and now, both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have withdrawn from the game.   I am still surprised that CC Sabathia did not make the team, but then again, I am okay avoiding the added wear and tear on his arm.  So, as it is, I will be cheering for Robinson Cano and Russell Martin.  As for A-Rod, it is a bit ironic that his All-Star replacement would be Boston’s Kevin Youkilis.  Former Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre (Texas) moves up to the starting position.

 

 

One week, everything can be coming up roses, and the next it is doom and gloom.  I guess that’s just life as a Yankees fan…

–Scott

 

 

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