Posted on: January 30, 2009 10:12 pm

Vote For Me

Due to my competitive nature, I find it necessary to appeal to the masses.  On the Yankee message board, there is a battle going on between myself and another Yankee fan for the honor of supreme fan.  He is a worthy opponent who has been battle tested through many votes starting with probably 48 regular posters, then down to 24, 16, 8, etc. etc., similar to the NCAA tournament.  I was winning by such a large margin that he found it necessary to ask for votes from other boards.  I didn't even realize that was an option, but now that I do, I'm here asking for your vote.  Please go to the Yankee board, look for the thread entitled, "NYY Fan - The Final Two," and vote for me.  I am a true fan who's stuck by them through thick and thin and would talk about them for 24 hours a day if I didn't have a job I needed to keep. 

This of course is all in fun, but like I said, my competitive nature forces me to want to win anything and everything.  Thank you in advance for your support.  Go Yankees

Category: MLB
Tags: Contest, Fan, Yankees
Posted on: January 16, 2009 11:01 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2009 10:50 am

A Woman in the CBS Sport's World

During the course of this week, I had the displeasure of dealing with a less than well adjusted member who insisted on calling me, my posts and my femininity into question. Now, I’ve had a few run-ins with members before. Once, I actually got into it with 2 members who said some rather distasteful things to me. I realized how stupid it was on my part to bother arguing with ignorant people. It only got me aggravated and frustrated, so I vowed to ignore anyone who ever gave me trouble again. I’m not a member of a sports related site to get into disputes with anyone over anything other than sports.  This past week, it all started with a post I made about honor in the game of baseball. This was written as a response on the public board. 

It's too bad your not a chick for real, cuz your statement of honor is humorous like one.What's left in this or any other sport, not to be tarnished. Something as simple as stealing signs has and always will be a part of the game. OMG. Gotta be a 16 yr. old girl makin that statement. Let me teach you something on the premise you've never actually been outside before. Sports, like in life , has people who are interested in making money. This money motivates them do do whatever it takes to gain an advantage. Steroids, B. Belichick. Any of this sound familiar? Collusion. Good business. A little sneaky perhaps. Not in our law abiding society! Women really are in love with 50 yr. old ex-rockers on reality TV. Short, ugly, black-toothless dudes have always been successful with the Babes! Anyway,if you are a girl, you should probably have "The Talk", with your parents before coming back on here.If you are a girl, the ladies room is to your left on the Bosux site. That's where they spew honor untilYankees swoop in and take away X-Mas present named Teixeira. We come on here to escape the women's perspective, so you should go back to sewing.

A couple of regular posters on the Yankee board defended me which I thanked them for, but ignored the poster himself. He then proceeded to start a thread asking for proof that I was a woman, etc. Several regulars on the Yankee board again defended me. I posted one response to this sexist stating I was a woman, and I wasn’t going to let him get to me. I chose not to say anything defamatory to him because I wasn’t going to stoop to his level. I also chose not to thank my defenders on the board because I just didn’t want to get into too much about the whole thing and give the dude the satisfaction of getting the attention he desired. Let me thank the kind folk who stuck up for me now. Anyway, the guy has made some other distasteful posts directed at me and has even started in on another Yankee poster who defended me.   Here's an example.

Yes, I do feel like a man sitting here at my computer, since I am one. Thanx for confirming my point as well chargingrhino. Yankeechik must feel like she wants to be a man sitting at hers. Do you follow? I think there are way more of the Middle-Men in here than you'd expect from a YANKEE MENS BOARD!!!! We've given women everything else, why give them our sanctuary. It's freightening how many would support this. I am also aware the vast majority stay uninvolved and keep opinions on such matters to themselves. It's our PC thing we have to suffer through. So I'll assume most in here are on board with me. Yankchik I would'nt ask u a direct question because u don't really exist. As far as the get a life bullshit- Who comes on sports sites and pretends to be another gender? Gimme a small break? Rhino- I'll just assume your someones Bitch Too!! Still don't know what I'm referring to. This can't be a girl, no matter the Crap Support!!!

I don’t care if he continues, his problem, not mine.  I chose to do a blog item on this partly as a chance to say thank you to my fellow Yankee fans who are regular posters on the Yankee board. I appreciate that the majority of you don’t subscribe to this person’s beliefs and subsequent tactics. The other reason I chose to write this was to set the record straight. Contrary to this idiot’s opinion, I am a woman and proud of it. I’m actually a pretty feminine woman at that. I like to look my best when I go to work or out. I like to wear skirts and makeup. I also happen to like sports, baseball specifically. Because I’m a fairly intelligent person, I tend to speak intelligently about anything I know well, fancy that. I could use a picture of myself as an avatar to prove myself, but why should I have to.  While I respect other female posters on here in their choice to have their pictures as avatars, I chose not to do that because I’m here to talk sports, and I feel a picture of myself would distract from me being able to do that. Yeah, I’m fairly attractive, and judging from some of the incidents I’ve heard about on here, I’m guessing a picture of myself might be taken as an invitation.   It surprises me when men can’t understand why women bother with sports. We’re actually the more competitive of the 2 genders, so why is it so hard to believe? Let us be please. We’re entitled to talk about whatever we want just like men.   
Category: MLB
Tags: Baseball, CBS, Men, Women
Posted on: April 23, 2008 2:12 pm

Anatomy of an Auction Draft

Several weeks ago, I hopped a flight to Rochester, NY for the 6th year in a row to participate in the ultimate fantasy baseball experience; an auction draft.   I had dabbled with a league on Yahoo for a couple of years before that, so my brother coerced me into joining this league he'd been a part of for about 10 years.  The league itself has probably been in existence for about 15.  I had no idea what I was in for, how challenging and competitive it would be, and how addicted I'd become. 

It's necessary to give a little background regarding the rules.  It's 13 teams, NL only, 5X5 roto, 7 keepers allowed with a $260 salary cap.  The roster spots include 2 catchers, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5 OF, U and 9 pitchers.  The only reserve spots you get are for the injured or sent down players.  You can replace said players on a weekly basis based on the standings.  The last place team gets all their first choices first and so on and so forth with the first place team being last.  You are allowed to make 7 dumps per season, the first 5 costing $5 each, and the remaining 2 costing $7 each.  Dumps come after replacing injured and minored players.  When a player is activated off the disabled list or called up, you can choose to keep his replacement and drop someone else, but that counts as a dump.  You have 2 Mondays to activate a player or else you lose them.  As for salaries, any player you pick up during the year is automatically $10, and if they come over from the AL, they're $25.  Salaries remain the same for year 2, but then go up in increments of $5 every year afterwards.  The top 4 teams are winners.  First place gets a significant piece of the pie, and 4th place basically gets their expenses for the league covered.  I actually was able to come in 4th 2 years out of 5. 

Now, I ask you to imagine a table in the basement of someone's house with 12 + men and myself sitting around it for 8 hours minimum.  I say 12 + because some teams have 2 proxies.  In the middle of the table are assorted candies, cookies, chips and pain killers.  Around the periphery of the table are several coolers with assorted beverages and beer.  The commissioner starts off the process with bringing up any rules that were haggled over during the previous season.  Sometimes, they're brought to a vote as to whether or not to change them.  After that business is squared away, he also presents the first player with an opening bid.  Clockwise around the table we go with each manager either upping the bid or passing on the player completely by turning over the plastic cup we all have in front of us.  It eventually gets down to one team who wins that player.  Again clockwise, each team presents one player at a time.  The objective in the beginning is to get people to spend as much money as possible, so the elite players are always thrown out first. 

My objective has always been to allow every other team to spend enough, so that I have the most money before I even buy my first player.  This allows me to pace myself which always nets me the most money left towards the end of the draft as well.  This is where you get your bargain gems.  Unfortunately, there is another team who does the same thing.  I've managed to wait him out half the time and not the other half.  I'm not going to miss out on a player I want by being inflexible.  He's actually waited so long sometimes that the crabby managers have become restless and started mumbling.  I've always managed to have more money than him at the end though which is really the most important thing.  My other objective is to always throw out players for bid that I don't need or want.  Each year, I got to know the NL players better and better until the pinnacle of my success last season when my team produced enough keepers to make it very difficult to make decisions.  James Loney I happened to pick up in a dump which cost me $10.  I did not succeed in winning any of the top 4 spots last season because it was essentially my rebuilding year, and that was just fine with me.  At the point where I knew there was no hope of me finishing in the money, I started trying to make trades for keepers which netted me Corey Hart at $8 and Jonathan Broxton at $6.

After much deliberation, I settled on keeping Corey Hart at $8, James Loney at $10, Adrian Gonzalez at $14, Kelly Johnson at $7, Russell Martin at $15, Rafael Soriano at $2 and Brandon Lyon at $10.  Armed with a solid core on offense and 2 closers, my focus was on starting pitching.  My first year in the league, my starters all fell to injury at some point.  After it happened again the next season, I decided to load up on starters the next 3 years.  I changed that philosophy this year and took a couple of middle relievers on good teams that I knew would net me some wins and keep my ERA and WHIP down.  My other focus was to get Dan Haren and one other "stud" which wound up being Ben Sheets.  I usually try to stay away from injury risks, but the price on him was too good to pass up, and I figured my luck was bound to change some time.  Where buying was concerned, I did manage to wait out everyone before making my first buy, but unfortunately, I got backed into a corner on some offensive positions because there was nobody left who would be worthwhile.  I wound up overpaying for these players.  I never take part-time players, so when I say worthwhile, I mean starters.  Because of this, I didn't wind up with more money than anyone else at the end, but in a year where my team is built to win, it really wasn't necessary.  I was disappointed that I missed out on a couple of people I especially coveted, but such is life. 

At some point during the draft, we always break for a meal of deli.  Otherwise, if you have to go to the bathroom, you better run.  The later it gets, the less tylenol and sugary items are left on the table.  The later it gets, the more ornery everyone becomes.  The barbs in jest throughout the day become less funny.  The amount of time people take to make a decision on whether to bid or not becomes less amusing.  One manager had the Jeopardy theme ready to go on his laptop whenever anyone took an inordinate amount of time. 

There are different characters in my league.  There is the one know-it-all who has something to say about everything.  There are the silent managers who never have anything to say about anything.  There are the technical managers who are on their laptops the entire time analyzing.  There are the overconfident managers who you want to beat more than anyone else.  There are some incredibly excellent drafters and some not so much.  There are the managers you look at dumbfounded when they throw out particular players for bid because you can't believe they actually want them.  These are the same managers whose teams you look at and secretly laugh to yourself.  Those teams inevitably wind up at the rear every season, but hey, they're having fun. 

All in all, I felt confident with my draft, and in the 4th week of the season, I'm in 3rd place with only 2 injuries.  Yes, Sheets is going to miss his next start, but he's still not on the DL.  If he does wind up there, I'll stay afloat with a replacement for the time being.  And there you have it. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 6, 2008 9:22 pm

First Impressions

After about a week of baseball, here are my first impressions of the 2008 NY Yankees

Pitching:  After Chien Ming Wang and Phil Hughes, the starters have been beatable, especially Ian KennedyMike Mussina's start wasn't as horrible as people seem to think.  Besides the homerun he gave up to Vernon Wells, he was actually ok.  He just doesn't have the ability to get people out as easily as he used to, so he requires more pitches.  This is going to force the bullpen in early during his starts which won't be a problem if the other starters give them length.  My concern with Moose is the effort he's expending coupled with his age may cut his season short.  This also may not be a problem if Alan Horne's ready after the all-star break. 

I'm also not too concerned about Andy Pettitte since he was injured, and he's still getting his legs back under him.  He really only got roughed up for that one inning, and I think he'll be fine.  Of greater concern is Ian Kennedy.  It is only 1 start though, so let's wait and see. 

Chien Ming Wang looked good in his first start, and great in his second start.  It seems the new pitches he's worked into his repertoire are quite effective as is evident in the uncharacteristic 6 strikeouts.  Phil Hughes' successful first start was of no surprise to this Yankee fan. 

As I suspected, the bullpen hasn't been worrisome like people expected.  LaTroy Hawkins is the only reliever that's caused any problems.  Brian Bruney has been outstanding so far and seems pumped up with something to prove.  I really like the attitude I see from him.  Ross Ohlendorf and Billy Traber have also been getting the job done.  Even Kyle Farnsworth has been pulling his weight.  Even better is the unbeatable team of Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera.  I've been a huge proponent of getting Joba into the rotation, but I don't know how they're going to mess with that combination.  It's formidable.  I thought Mo's slight decline would continue this year, but he's looked better than ever.  He seems to be ageless. 

Defense:  There have been some great, good, awkward and not so good plays.  I think the biggest defensive concern for everyone going into the season was Jason Giambi, of course.  He actually looked limber in his first game snagging that line drive.  I was in shock.  Then, he reverted to true form by taking out that cameraman in the next game.  He actually probably should've caught that popup foul ball, but it was a tough play.   The fact is, Giambi will never be graceful out there and will always look awkward.   He's never going to come up with a ball hit to him smoothly like Robinson Cano.  What he has been doing well is knocking that ball down, staying with it and making the out.  He's also saved a couple of errant throws while still staying on the bag.  I believe Girardi's show of confidence in him by not taking him out for a defensive replacement has gone a long way.  Also, after Shelley Duncan's disastrous play, there really isn't any question in my mind that he isn't the best option there. 

Everyone else has been fine on defense except for the few errant throws by the infield.  They all need to make sure they're set.  Melky made a few great catches, but he needs to work on consistently tracking the ball better. 

Offense:  Once again they're off to a slow start.  It should be noted that they faced some of the better starters during this week.  Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Dustin McGowan and James Shields are no pushovers.  There's no cause for worry quite yet.  We haven't entered May with the slumping bats like last year.  It doesn't even appear as if anyone is in trouble of continuing into a prolonged slump.  Everyone's taking good at bats with good swings.  I like the team's approach.

Coaching:  If there was any wonder about this season, it was the transition from Joe Torre to Joe Girardi.  It has been made immediately obvious how different they are.  I have the utmost respect for Joe Torre, but I am loving Joe Girardi, especially the confidence he shows in his players.  They are professional athletes and grown men who should be treated as such by allowing them a say in their own destinies.  Most notable is his handling of the pitching staff.  Game 1, he went out to the mound to talk to Wang instead of automatically pulling him when he got into a little trouble.  He was rewarded with a strikeout and avoiding the bullpen.  Based on what I've seen so far, I see the bullpen performing much better in August and September than previous years.  This is hugely important. 

All in all, I like the look of the team and am excited to see the rest of the season.  I predict an AL East title back in the Bronx. 

Category: MLB
Tags: NY Yankees
Posted on: March 16, 2008 7:08 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2008 11:05 pm

A Chick's Take on the 2008 NY Yankees

For the first time in 10 years, the Yankees enter the season as the underdog in the AL East. Yes, Boston won the World Series in '04, but NY still won the division that year. It isn't a bad thing to be the underdog as it provides more motivation, in my opinion. This hasn't been the case in the last 7 years during which time the Yankees have failed to bring a championship home to NY. They've been beaten in the World Series twice, lost the ALCS once and gone down in the first round for 4 years including the last 3 in a row.   In the last 4 years, the humiliation has increased starting with probably the greatest collapse in the history of sports in '04. I won't say anymore because I know all Yankee fans either tear up, become nauseated or both at the mere mention of it.

I believe the team as a whole will be more motivated this year because of it's makeup of players. On one end of the spectrum, you have the new members who are primed to prove they belong in the big leagues. On the other end, you have the veterans, some of which only have one more chance in this year to prove they still have the skills left to get it done. On an individual basis, it's been a long time since there were actual competitions for more than one spot in the Bronx. For all of Joe Torre's strengths as a manager, he favored his veterans because of their previous production even if it didn't exist anymore. He also favored what produced results including specific relief pitchers and lineups even after they no longer inspired that confidence. It seems as if this is not the case with Joe Girardi who is giving everyone the chance to prove themselves in Spring training. Why not? If someone is assured of a job, human nature dictates they won't strive harder to keep it. This specifically effects Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina and Kyle Farnworth who may be assured of that job, but not a starting one. All in contract years, they have everything to lose and plenty to gain. Imagine the team with the likes of a healthy, 2002 like productive Giambi, a flame throwing, pinpoint control setup guy in Farnsworth and a crafty, 2006 like Mike Mussina. It certainly creates a more potent team.

The offense of the Yankees sparks fear in the minds of opposing pitching as it will score runs upon runs from top to bottom like last year. They all have the ability to hit homeruns, some more than others, but Girardi’s game is small ball. He won’t wait for that homerun, he’ll manufacture runs, and subsequently, the homers will take care of themselves. The order I see with unobvious positions noted is Damon in left, Jeter, Abreu, Arod, Giambi at first, Posada, Matsui at DH, Cano and Melky in center. Damon may not be the player he once was, but he still makes a good tablesetter and is certainly the most viable option of the alternatives. A major key to this lineup is the protection of Arod in the hopes he will duplicate or surpass the incredible season he had last year. Abreu proved to be more than competent in that role in front of him last year. The 5 hole couldn't be filled properly for the length of the season. Giambi started out there before he got hurt, and then it was predominantly Matsui who was too streaky. Posada was tried at one point which seemed to work, but it's doubtful he has the same kind of season he did last year. Plus, it's preferable to split up your lefties and righties in a lineup, and batting him there would leave 3 lefties in a row. Giambi belongs in the 5 hole, at least until he proves otherwise, because he's primed to have a big year. He has stated more than once that he wants to keep playing next year, and he’s not not going to have many offers after another subpar season. I know Shelley Duncan is a fan favorite and has great energy, but I find it hard to believe he won’t revert to his minor league ways of being a power threat only. I could be wrong, but his defense is lacking anyway. I think his talents best serve the team off the bench, but he should start one day a week to keep him fresh. Wilson Betemit should be for defensive purposes only as his bat lacks any specialty different from anyone else’s. With Matsui and Duncan being able to play the outfield, I don’t think you need more than them, Betemit and Molina on the bench. I think the roster spot # 25 should go to another relief pitcher.

That’s been an exciting race this Spring. It appears as if Billy Traber has won the lefty spot in the bullpen since he was added to the roster. I realize he’s been impressive, but I’m not so sure about that choice since he doesn’t have a good track record to back it up. I know he’s had injuries, but that makes him even more worrisome. The beauty of having so many arms vying for a spot is you can always replace him with a callup though. Everyone seems to think the bullpen is a subject for concern, but I disagree. If someone isn’t cutting it, there are options in the minors like never before, and not just let’s cross our fingers options. At this point, after Mo, Joba, Farnsworth and Hawkins, I see Ohlendorf and Albalajedo making the team along with Traber. I had originally thought Karstens for the longman, but Ohlendorf’s having a better Spring, and he really has the better stuff out of the two. If the Yankees choose to go with an 8 relievers rather than a position player, I’d have to go with Britton as the last choice. I know there’s a lot of money invested in Igawa, and he has pitched well this Spring, but he doesn’t offer anything special to set him apart from the others.

The concern to me is the rotation because it’s highly improbable that 3 rookies all have good to great seasons. That’s what the team is going to need in order to make it to the playoffs this year. It’s not impossible, just improbable. I truly feel that Hughes and Kennedy will rise to the occasion, and the innings limit on Hughes doesn’t really worry me. My thought is they’ll move him into the bullpen once they move Joba to the rotation after the all-star break. He did just fine there in the playoffs. I’m also not worried about Moose who’s talent and pride won’t allow him to not prove himself still worthy of a spot in the rotation. To me, Wang and Pettitte are givens, so that leaves Joba. He concerns me because I can’t imagine him having enough gas to last 6 innings a game after pitching in the bullpen for a year. I like the plan to send him to the minors for a few weeks in order to stretch out his arm before he’s placed in the rotation. Hopefully, it works. Of no concern to me is replacing him as the setup man in the bullpen. There’s plenty of talent available who are capable of getting that job done, and one of them will. The most important thing is making it clear to all pitchers, starters and reliever alike, but especially relievers, what the plans are for them and what their roles will be. I don’t think it’s beneficial to a pitcher’s mindset for him to not know when and where he’s going to pitch. Leave Spring training with a plan. Choose a pitcher for innings 6, 7 & 8 each and stick to that plan until you’re sure it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t, change the plan, don’t wait for it to change. Keep trying until you get it right. Then, if it’s gone right for awhile, but then suddenly goes wrong, don’t wait until it gets so bad your pitchers are ready to jump off a bridge. Come up with new ideas making sure to communicate your new plan.

This is something I feel Girardi will excel at. He will explain his thinking to his players. He won’t wait for his bullpen and lineup to implode before he makes changes. He’s also shown he leads by example where workouts are concerned and will keep his team in excellent shape. He’s in no way complacent about the job he’s taken or the talented team he has. He’ll get the most out of his players in a way that exudes energy and creativity, characteristics that’ll serve them all well. It’s an exciting time in the Bronx, one full of change and uncertainty. It’s time to embrace it.

Category: MLB
Tags: NY Yankees
Posted on: February 25, 2008 11:09 pm

You Know You're a Fantasy Baseball Junkie If.....

1. You play Taps on November 1st.

2. You keep a chest full of all the fantasy baseball publications you've ever bought under lock and key.

3. You have all your fantasy team rosters laminated and bound into a book.

4. You run to the nearest newsstand at least twice a day starting January 2nd until the first fantasy magazine comes out.

5. You check injury reports on-line every hour.

6. You have technical support for your fantasy website on speed dial.

7. You have your fantasy website saved as a favorite.

8. You keep work related material minimized on your computer screen, so that when your boss walks in you can cover up the fact you've been checking your stats.

9. You yell at your computer screen when you see those stats.

10. You recite the career stats of Alex Rodriguez in a financial meeting at work.

11. In an interview, you read off who you want to draft when asked about your career goals.

12. If a competitor's team is doing better, you seek out their best player and pull a Tonya Harding. 

13. You're able to make an argument that Johan Santana is a fair trade for Eric Milton because you have their stats memorized for every single year they've played. 

14. You daydream about your closer at work and doodle his name. 

15. You call out your #1 starter's name during sex, and then scream strike when you awaken from a nightmare. 


I have foolishly committed myself to 4 leagues including 1 where I'm the commish this year when I've never done more than 2.  You can't tell an addict he/she doesn't have enough time to smoke crack.  I used to be able to tell people it was time I otherwise wouldn't have spent with my brother.  He's not in all 4 leagues, so I can't use that excuse anymore.  I could say it makes me feel closer to the game I love so much.  Don't think that one's going to fly either.  So, I'll just tell the truth.  I love the competition against guys who think a girl has no place there.  I love when I come out ahead of those cocky guys, and they have to insert their feet in their mouths.  I love the history and stats of the game that you need to know to succeed in fantasy baseball.  Hi, I'm a fantasy baseball junkie, and I refuse to join a support group.   

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 22, 2008 12:25 am
Edited on: February 22, 2008 12:29 am

To Trade or Not to Trade

I thought it was time I did a sports related post.  I realize this is old news, but now that the dust has completely settled, my thoughts have too.

The "big 3." That's the nickname for Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. The last time I heard that nickname used it was for Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder when they were all on the A's. Let's see......what happened to them? Hudson's doing pretty well and he's pretty consistent. I wouldn't use the word "big" when describing his talents anymore though. I'd use the word, medium. Mark Mulder has barely pitched in the last 2 years because of injuries. And, well, Barry Zito signed the big money contract with SF, and sucked in his first season with them.

Would all of this have happened if they weren't broken up? One might say no if they believed Samson lost all his strength when his hair was cut off. I personally don't believe that myth, well, I believe it, but I don't believe it was his hair that did it. I think his hair was an excuse/metaphor for his self-confidence. Do I think the old "big 3" had more confidence together rather than apart? Probably. There's something to be said about knowing your fellow starters can also get the job done and pick you up the next game if you had a bad outing. While I say probably, I still think their careers would've taken the same course. Zito did fine with the A's once the other 2 left, fine enough to earn that big money contract. The thing is, he was already in a decline, so people should've anticipated his below average season. Now, I do think he'll bounce back and do better in '08, but he'll never be the pitcher he was years ago. The types of injuries Mulder's had would've happened no matter what, and Hudson was never a power pitcher.

With that said, I turn to the talks of trading 1 of the pitchers who you might call the future of the Yankees  that took place during the offseason.  Like I said, breaking up the established, older "big 3" didn't alter their careers, and I don't believe it would've happened here either. They haven't come close to spending enough time in a starting rotation together to get comfortable. Doesn't mean they shouldn't get that opportunity though. 

Much back and forth went on between the Twins and teams competing for the services of arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Johan Santana.  The Twins understandably wanted to get the best package of players for him.  The Twins also held out hope they could strike a deal with Santana themselves.  Their offer even went as high as 5 years for $100 million.  He wanted 7 years.  The Mets wound up getting Santana for 4 prospects thought to be beneath the offers the Twins got from the Yankees and Red Sox.  Ok, fine.  The Mets needed him more than anyone anyway, he's now out of the AL, and most importantly he's not a Red Sox. 

While the Yanks are now the 2nd place team in the AL East chasing the Red Sox,  I truly believe they made the right decision.  I myself waffled between salivating over Santana and wanting to keep the homegrown youth who had already been cultivated to understand the NY/Yankee way from conception in the minors.  You can't put a price on that.  New York is the hardest market to play in, I don't care what anybody says.  Now, if Santana was about to be traded to Boston, the Yanks should've done whatever they had to, to prevent that from happening.  A rotation with Santana and Beckett at the top of it for years to come is formidable.  I still shudder at the thought. 

I also shudder at the thought of signing a pitcher to a 7 year contract that includes a no-trade clause.  I know some will disagree with me, but I don't think any team can justify that.  I understand the Mets did, but they were pretty much backed into a corner considering the other starters on their team.  So, they threw the money and years at him, gave him whatever he wanted.  At what cost?  While Santana has proven extremely durable, it's unlikely he never spends any time on the DL for his entire career.  I know, that could be said of any player, but what about skills.  A pitcher's skills are more likely to decline with age than a position player's.  That coupled with higher probability of injury makes a pitcher a more risky investment than a position player.  Ok, that's common knowledge, but I'm saying this in the context of 7 years.  History has shown that pitchers given such a lengthy contract have not lived up to it.  Even pitchers given less years haven't lived up to it. 

The Yankees had a choice to make; either trade youth which is the direction they've been trying to move toward, or keep them, and go in a different direction than they've gone for the past 7 or so years.  Those 7 or so years proved to be failures in Yankeeland with no World Series rings.  When one method doesn't work, it's time to try another.  The other part of this choice was either signing an ace for 7 years at $140 million who probably wouldn't live up to all 7 years, or keeping 2 potential aces and a #3-4 starter for less money than that combined.  I'm sorry, the business end of baseball has to be considered in all transactions.  It would be nice if it didn't,  but that's reality.  To me, the choice became easy after weighing all the odds, prices and talent. 

I can't wait to see these kids perform for a whole season.  Go Yankees!

Posted on: February 13, 2008 7:18 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2008 7:47 pm

As The Web Spins

Ok, I admit it. I'm a sucker for a good soap opera. I don't want to hear any that figures either because I know plenty of men who are into them too.

The soap opera that has been plaguing my beloved baseball for quite awhile now is the steroids era. The most recent episode is the Clemens vs. McNamee show. I know everyone and their mother is talking about the hearing today, and I know they all probably wrote about it too. I apologize to anyone who's tired of hearing/reading about it, but I feel the need to speak my piece.

I am a diehard Yankee fan, but I am also an intelligent person who won't be blinded by her love for the team. That may be unpopular among my fellow fans, so I apologize, but I'm not going to turn a blind eye to the farce that Roger Clemens has created. I openly admit that I have never liked the man. I like the pitcher and his talent, but the man is arrogant. No situation expressed that more than his joining the Yankees last year. I was happy he decided to come back because I thought the team needed him. I was not happy about the way he did it, but it wasn't a surprise to me given what I already stated about his arrogance. He left the Astros and Yankees waiting because he knew he could. He knew they wanted and needed him, and he exploited that. A man who loves the game as much as he says wouldn't have done that. He would've made a decision based on whether he wanted to play anymore, not on how much money he could get. Dragging it out as long as he did, only made his services wanted more which resulted in the obscene amount of money he received.

Enough about that though. I was only trying to give an example of his character and motives which I have always questioned. If ever there was a day when it was in question the most, it was today.

When the Mitchell Report first came out and Clemens was named, I gave him the benefit of the doubt even though I always suspected him of using. I'll get to that later. I even argued that it was unfair for him to be accused of such actions based on the word of one man alone. I felt the reputation of a man should've been taken more seriously by having a higher burden of proof. After his televised press conference with the infamous recorded telephone conversation, I was still willing to believe his innocence was possible even though I felt he was further away from providing answers. He left everyone as confused as ever. What did all his behaviors mean?

Then, McNamee provided physical evidence. Damning for sure, but inconclusive as far as I was concerned. I believe that if a court of law can't deem someone guilty without conclusive evidence, the public should be held to the same standard. I even started to lean toward Roger's camp because I felt saving those syringes was shady at the least. That coupled with McNamee's probable rape of a woman years ago left him less than credible in my eyes.

Yesterday, I read about Andy Pettitte's testimony, and today, I heard it in depth when I listened to the congressional hearing. Yes, I listened even though this thing has been beaten to a pulp. It was like not being able to look away from a car accident even though it might cause you to have one yourself. Andy Pettitte admitted he used HGH in 2004 when he didn't have to since it wasn't in the report. Andy Pettitte is a standup guy even by Clemens' account. I believe Andy Pettitte.

I also believe it makes no sense for McNamee to tell the truth about Pettitte and Knoblauch as they've both confirmed, but lie about Clemens. McNamee may be of questionable morals and ethics himself, but it does nothing for him if he implicates all 3 when only 2 are guilty.

As I listened to Roger answer questions, it became increasingly clear to me that he was lying. I don't know how anyone could've thought otherwise. There were contradictions and inconsistencies all over the place. There were evasions of direct answers galore. I felt he insulted all of our collective intelligence by thinking he could get away with skirting the issue. Nobody wanted to hear about how you were raised, we wanted to hear you give believable explanations. I'm not going to go into all the testimony at the hearing because I'd never finish, and I'm sure you've all heard the pertinent info.

Now, I actually don't blame him for lying at this point because what else is he going to do? He can't go back. He's committed to his lies and owning up to them now would only make it worse for him. I do blame him for lying at the start.

It has always been inconceivable to me that a pitcher could pitch 200 + innings for several years into his forties without injury and without slowing down at least a little. I'm sure many people allowed for the possibility wanting to believe one of their idols. Hey, his workout allowed his longevity. After today though, I really don't see how we could allow for that possibility anymore.

Clemens lied, and I'll tell you why. He's always been somewhat larger than life, and he knows it. He is one of the most accomplished, talented pitchers anyone will ever see, and he knows it. He had a strong impact on the game of baseball, and he knows it. His self-importance made him believe he had to do whatever it took to stay in the game and on the field for as long as possible. How could he not when he was Roger Clemens. He convinced himself that HGH and steroids would accomplish that, and how dare anyone question him. He did it for his public. He thinks he did the right thing. Now everyone is saying he didn't, and he can't believe it. He's morally indignant and outraged that his public isn't thanking him for allowing them to see him pitch longer. He provided them with a service and enjoyment.

There was no way in hell Clemens was ever going to admit what he did because he felt like he didn't have to. He did enough for the sport and should be excused from having to explain himself. While he kept being forced into a corner, he continued to deny, deny, deny because he realized all of this could blow up in his face, and his legacy would be forever tarnished. He does care about that and the hall of fame. No doubt in my mind even though he says otherwise. Who wouldn't want to be voted into the hall of fame. Who wouldn't want to be remembered as one of the best pitchers who ever played the game.

Now Clemens will be remembered for using PEDs and lying about it. He's leaving a legacy for sure, but not one he ever planned or thought. Some may think that's a shame for him, but it's of his own creation, and the shame is on him.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or