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Archive for September 21st, 2010

vs. James Shields PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 48 0.340 0.354 0.426 1 5
Nick Swisher RF 21 0.200 0.238 0.500 2 7
Mark Teixeira 1B 33 0.194 0.242 0.194 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 31 0.231 0.355 0.423 1 2
Robinson Cano 2B 39 0.421 0.436 0.868 3 8
Jorge Posada C 29 0.240 0.345 0.440 1 3
Lance Berkman DH 6 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 30 0.069 0.100 0.172 0 1
Brett Gardner LF 10 0.111 0.200 0.111 0 0
Total 247 0.255 0.300 0.429 8 26
             
vs. Phil Hughes PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
John Jaso C 6 0.167 0.167 0.167 0 0
Ben Zobrist 2B 5 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Carl Crawford LF 12 0.182 0.250 0.182 0 1
Evan Longoria 3B 8 0.286 0.375 0.286 0 0
Dan Johnson DH 3 0.667 0.667 2.667 2 4
Matt Joyce RF 6 0.333 0.333 0.833 1 3
Carlos Pena 1B 12 0.333 0.500 1.000 2 2
BJ Upton CF 12 0.333 0.500 0.333 0 0
Jason Bartlett SS 5 0.200 0.200 0.800 1 1
Total 69 0.262 0.333 0.557 6 11

 

Yankees vs. Rays    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
TBR: 8-7 NYY: 11-7 NYY: 11-7 NYY: 140-77

 

  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 4-6 11-9 17-13
Rays 5-5 10-10 16-14

 

  Home vs. RHP
Yankees 50-25 60-36
  Away vs. RHP
Rays 43-31 55-43

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Just days after resigning as Dodgers’ manager, Joe Torre let it be known that he would listen to offers from other teams, including the New York Mets. Of course, the Mets currently have a manager. Although he has essentially been a dead man walking for at least the last few months, Jerry Manuel has not yet been fired, so it was a little odd to hear Torre comment specifically about what still is someone else’s job.

Apparently, Manuel wasn’t very happy about Torre’s comments. As reported by the Daily News’ Andy Martino on Twitter, Manuel stated, “”I find it curious when someone comments about a job somebody already has…that’s not integrity.”

Manuel’s comments are a little bit ironic considering the circumstances under which he took over from Willie Randolph. At the time of Randolph’s dismissal, it was rumored that Manuel had quietly campaigned to be his replacement. Although no proof of that allegation has ever been put forth, it is notable that Randolph and Manuel have not spoken since that night back in June 2008.

It should also be noted that there were some less than wholesome dealings surrounding Torre’s hiring by the Dodgers. When Torre first met with owner Frank McCourt and GM Ned Colletti, the Dodgers still had Grady Little under contract. Coincidentally, after talking to Torre, Little took it upon himself to “resign”.

With so many high profile managerial positions expected to be open at the end of this season, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the potential candidates are already jockeying for position. However, openly campaigning for jobs that are not yet vacant is still generally considered to be bad form, especially from someone of Torre’s stature. It’s one thing for someone like Wally Backman to angle for his first big break, but in this case, Torre would have been better off issuing a no comment when asked about the Mets job.

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The sight of Tyler Colvin being hit in the chest by the splintered bat of teammate Welington Castillo has once gain shined a light on bat safety…and with good reason. However, the overreaction to the incident could wind up doing more harm than good.

Home plate umpire Brian O’Nora suffers a laceration to his forehead after being struck by a broken maple bat during a game on June 25, 2008. Since that time, MLB has implemented new manufacturing guidelines for bats that were intended to reduce the risk of similar incidents, but many around the game are calling for more significant actions (Photo: AP).

The immediate response from most corners has been to once again call for the abolition of maple bats. However, according to MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred, such a step is prohibited by the lack of quality ash that would be needed to fill the resulting void. Instead, Manfred told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that baseball has refined the manufacturing guidelines for bats, an action that has resulted in a decline in the number that has shattered during games.

So, if banning maple bats is not an option, which seems reasonable based on the alleged shortage in quality ash, what else can be done. Over at the fine Yankees-centric blog It’s About the Money (Stupid), Jason Rosenberg has been advocating a product called the BatGlove. According to the product’s website, the BatGlove is a polymeric adhesive that is fastened around the handle portion of the bat (kind of like an ultra strong saran wrap for the bat handle).

In an interview at Rosenberg’s blog, BatGlove cofounders Phil and Steve Rauso claimed that their product has passed all required tests with flying colors, but the resistance of bat manufacturer Rawlings has thrown a roadblock in the acceptance process. Although the supporting evidence does seem to suggest that the BatGlove prevents bats from breaking into large pieces, the issue raised by Rawlings does not seem as if it has been resolved. In fact, in the interview, Rauso references a dispute with Rawlings and major league baseball over the costs and parameters of follow-up tests that has prevented further studies from being conducted.

One of the concerns raised by Rawlings has to do with the potential for a “hinge effect” resulting in bats that use the safety device. While preventing a bat from shattering into pieces, the BatGlove could allegedly send the broken end back in the direction of the hitter, catcher and home plate umpire, according to the objection, resulting in increased danger to those parties.

Although there has been no verified evidence of a hinge effect resulting from use of the BatGlove, it is very reasonable to see it as possibility. After all, studies done have occurred on bats being suspended from a device (see below), and not swung by a player. Furthermore, the product website refers to it as an adhesive tape that “can be applied by the player or any other person prior to the bat being used in less than 30 seconds”. Although convenient, this also raises questions about the product’s reliability and safety if applied improperly. Perhaps these issues could be easily dismissed with further testing, but that takes time. The process may be frustrating to the BatGlove’s cofounders, but a slow and careful evaluation is still a responsible approach.

In his SweetSpot blog, Rob Neyer also weighed in on the topic and provided a link to another product called Extratec, which according to its description seems to be very similar to the BatGlove. Although it doesn’t appear as if major league baseball has tested this particular product, it would stand to reason that any further evaluation compare the two, not to mention other devices that may purport to accomplish the same goal.

More than his reference to possible alternatives, Neyer’s take was most interesting because of where he places the blame: squarely on the shoulders of the MLBPA. Assuming blame is the right word, Neyer is dead on. If players wanted safer bats, there is no reason why anyone else should object. Having said that, the idea that only a fatality will move the issue is more than a little extreme. After all, it’s not like broken bats have led to an epidemic of injuries, Colvin’s recent experience notwithstanding. Quite frankly, there are many more dangerous things at a baseball game than broken bats, beginning with the ball, but extending all the way to the beer the flows so freely in the stands during each game. In other words, if the chief concern is really saving lives, safer bats probably wouldn’t be very high on the list.

If products like the BatGlove are truly effective, then major league baseball and the MLBPA should have no problems with its implementation. That doesn’t mean, however, that they should rush into a solution for a problem that isn’t as pressing as some seem to suggest. Instead of bickering over the pace of implementation, those advancing new innovations would be better served by continuing to work with baseball on testing their products. Bristling at the game’s slow acceptance of change won’t speed up the process.

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Before yesterday’s game, the Yankees unveiled a larger than life sized monument to their former Boss. The 760 pound slab of granite, which at seven by five feet resembles more of a gigantic plaque, was prominently positioned against the back wall of monument park, overlooking the more traditional and much smaller headstone-like monuments dedicated to Yankees legends of the past.

Mariano Rivera looks on at newest addition to Monument Park (Photo: Getty Images).

Although some questioned the relative size of the monument, the oversized presence of the Boss looming over monument park was a perfect way to honor his memory. Never one to blend quietly into the background, Steinbrenner was larger than life as an owner, so it is only fitting that his permanent memorial share the same quality.

Probably just how The Boss wanted it. The biggest one out there. It probably was his idea.” – Derek Jeter, commenting on the size of the Steinbrenner monument, courtesy of the LoHud Yankees Blog, September 20, 2010

Considering his propensity for performing charity in anonymity, it’s open to debate whether the Boss would have approved of his monument’s dominating presence, but there really isn’t much room for debate when it comes to determining his place in history. With the exception of Babe Ruth, and perhaps early owner Jacob Ruppert, no one has had a greater impact on Yankees history than George Steinbrenner. For that reason, he not only deserves his oversized plaque in monument park, but merits one in Cooperstown as well.

Another fitting tribute to Steinbrenner also involved who was in attendance at the ceremony. The return of Joe Torre to Yankee Stadium, along with the underlying thaw in the chilly relations between the former manager and the organization, was a perfect way to honor the Boss. For all his faults, Steinbrenner was always keen on having great Yankees return to the fold, so Torre’s presence at the ceremony spoke even louder than the words chiseled in stone on the granite monument.

Finally, perhaps the most appropriate way to honor the Boss was for the Yankees to win the game and extend their first place lead over the Rays. Thanks to another solid outing by Ivan Nova and career high five RBIs by Curtis Granderson, that’s exactly what the team did. By bouncing back after squandering a 4-0 lead, the Yankees showed the kind of resilience that Steinbrenner always took pride in seeing from his ball clubs. So, even though the game took a backseat to the earlier celebration, things wouldn’t have seemed right if the outcome would have been different.

During the ceremony, the most poignant scene was of Mariano Rivera gazing at the Steinbrenner monument as the rest of the assembled crowd began to dissipate. So, it was only fitting that Rivera also closed out the evening with the welcomed sight of another save. Someday Mariano’s monument will be unveiled for all to behold, but for now, the Yankees should be grateful he remains their rock in the ninth inning.

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