Archive for April 8th, 2010

The Scraton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees opened up the 2010 International League season with a 1-0 shutout of Buffalo, the triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets. Jesus Montero doubled in the game’s only run, while Ivan Nova (4 innings), Mark Melancon (2 innings), Boone Logan (2 innings) and Jonathan Albaledejo (1 inning) all pitched excellently in the combined shutout. All four pitchers are possible midseason call-ups in the event the Yankees need bullpen help. According to Scranton Times-Tribune beat writer Donnie Collins, Boone Logan looked particularly nasty. In defeat, Mets top prospect Ike Davis went 3-4 (his only out was a strikeout to end the game).

Meanwhile, in Trenton, the Thunder opened up the 2010 Eastern League season with a 4-0 victory over the Erie SeaWolves (Tigers), but pitcher Christian Garcia was forced to leave the game mid-batter in the sixth inning. Mike Ashmore’s Trenton Thunder Blog has updates on the injury.

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Saluting the Flags

Just in case anyone wasn’t aware that the Yankees have won 27 World Series, the team announced today that in addition to unveiling the 2009 championship flag on Opening Day, it will also be exhibiting flags commemorating each of the other 26. The press release did not state whether the flags being exhibited are the originals or recreations. While on a tour of the old Stadium back in 2007, the guide mentioned that all of the older championship flags had been re-discovered in a storage location, and were being sent for restoration. The original plan was to have all 26 flags ring the stadium on the opening of the new ballpark last season, but apparently the restoration wasn’t complete. Could they be ready now? It was disappointing when last year’s home opener didn’t include all 26 championship flags, but they’ll probably look better as a group of 27.

The Yankees plan on exhibiting all 27 of the team's championship flags, including this one from 1932.

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Apparently, long-time umpire and part-time country singer Joe West isn’t happy with the pace at which the Yankees and Red Sox play. The Cowboy went so far as to call both teams a “disgrace”. West’s criticisms, which were quoted extensively by the Bergen Record, included the following:

“They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace,” said West, chief of the umpiring crew that worked the three-game series in Boston. He was the home plate umpire Sunday. “They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?

“It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play.”

Umpire Joe West isn't happy with the pace of Yankee/Red Sox games.

All things considered, West is probably right. Both teams could speed up the pace a little, but calling them embarrassing is an extreme overreaction. Yankee-Red Sox is MLB’s marquee matchup, so you have wonder how Bud Selig feels about one of his top umpires being so openly critical?

Putting aside the validity of the argument, the more interesting question is why is Joe West taking it upon himself to express his complaints in the press? If a baseball player or manager referred to the umpires in such a manner (as we saw last post season, they would have plenty of opportunities to do so), they’d be fined and perhaps even suspended. Joe West, or any umpire for that matter, should be held to the same standard. It will be interesting to see how MLB responds to West’s outburst.

Also, aside from the embarrassment of having an official criticize two entire teams, the statements also raise the question of whether West can fairly officiate at Yankee and/or Red Sox games? West has always been thought of as an umpire who could hold a grudge, so if I am the Yankees or Red Sox, I’d definitely have some doubt in the back of my mind.

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