"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: December 2003

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With just one day left in the calendar year of 2003, I’ve been spending some time thinking about how rewarding my first full year of writing Bronx Banter has been. It has become an unbridled passion, and yet for all the work I’ve put in to it, I’ve feel as if I’ve received just as much, if not more, in return. So bear with me as I acknowledge some of the people who have informed, entertained and shared their love of baseball with me in 2003.

First of course, are my contemporaries in the blogging universe. Every page that is linked to the right has been meaningful to me, but I am especially thankful for the relationships I have developed with Edward Cossette, Christian Ruzich, Jay Jaffe, Rich Lederer, Peter Schilling Jr, Tim Marchman, Jon Weisman, and Will Carroll. I also want to shout out some of the writers who have inspired me. They include: David Pinto, Lee Sinins, John Perricone, the Mighty Mike C, Aaron Gleeman, Steve Keane, Cliff Corcoran, Christopher DeRosa, John Bonnes, Travis Nelson, Repoz, Bryan Smith, Avkash Patel, Ben Jacobs, Peter White, Brian Gunn, Derek Zumsteg, Larry Manhken, “Twin Fan Dan,” Seth Stohs and the fellas over at Elephants in Oakland. I’m sure I’m forgetting some names; if I am, please forgive me.

Naturally, there are some fantastic professional writers out there too. Guys like Gordon Edes, Steve Goldman, Rob Neyer, Joe Sheehan, Alan Schwarz, Tom Boswell, Pat Jordan, Roger Angell, Tom Verducci, Peter Gammons, Bruce Markusen, Bill Madden, Doug Pappas, Bob Hohler, Ken Rosenthal, John Harper, Howard Bryant, King Kaufman, Nate Silver, Buster Olney, Joel Sherman, Allen Barra, Jack Curry, Ryan Wilkens, Anthony McCarron, Jim Caple, and Tyler Kepner, just to name some of my favorites.

I don’t know if the level of discourse in the other major sports can compare with what we have in baseball. Baseball Prospectus has certainly raised the level, that’s for sure. And as far as resources go, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.com, and Baseball Primer’s “Clutch Hits” have been essential, daily parts of my life.

Naturally, I can’t forget the readers who keep coming back to check out Bronx Banter. Guys like Murray, Harley, Cliff, Rich, Steve, e Double, and my favorite Yankee couple in Boston (who shall remain nameless for their own protection). And they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Not only that, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to show my appreciation to the New York Yankees. To George, Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, ‘lil Sori, Jeter, Giambi and the boys. They gave us Yankee fans another wild, and rewarding season. Another trip to the Serious, after the thrilling, knock-down battle with the Red Sox in the ALCS, was almmost too good to be true. Sure, many Yankee fans expect to reach the Serious each year, and that’s OK. We’ve been properly spoiled rotten. But I appreciate every time they make the playoffs. Everyone keeps waiting for them to fall off. Hell, I’ve been expecting it since the middle of the 1998 season, and yet, here they are, still winning and giving us plenty to cheer about.

They are a great team to follow as a fan, and an even better team to follow as a writer. And that’s a comforting thought, because no matter what happens in 2004, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Bronx Bombers won’t be dull.

For all of this, I am thankful. I’ve learned more about baseball in the past year than almost any year of my life. The beauty part is that I’ve been saying the same thing for the past seven or eight years. Here is looking forward to another great year in 2004.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.


I was able to conduct twelve lenghty interviews this past year, and I can only hope to be able to do more of the same in 2004. In case anyone wants to go back and revisit some of them, here is a full list of the Bronx Banter Interviews:

Ken Burns Part One

Ken Burns Part Two
Buck O’Neil

Marvin Miller

Buster Olney

Rob Neyer Part One

Rob Neyer Part Two
Ethan Coen
Allen Barra

Michael Lewis

Jim Bouton

Jane Leavy

Pat Jordan

Tom Verducci


Rich Lederer makes a strong case for why Bert Blyleven should be elected to the Hall of Fame. As is his custom, Lederer examines statistical evidence. But he also adds:

By the way, I would like to bring to your attention, ladies and gentlemen, the little-known fact that you haven’t honored any pitchers born since 1947 (Nolan Ryan), yet you have felt compelled to induct eight hitters (George Brett, Gary Carter, Eddie Murray, Kirby Puckett, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield, and Robin Yount) born since then. Furthermore, every pitcher that has been elected since Mr. Blyleven became eligible six years ago, as well as the two immediately preceding his candidacy, has won 300 or more games. In fact, Rollie Fingers in 1992 was the last pitcher that was voted into the Hall of Fame without 300 wins and he, of course, was a reliever.

Based on the above, one can’t help but think that winning 300 games has become the de facto standard for pitchers. As a point of clarification, had you held to that magical mark all along, there would only be 20 pitchers currently in the Hall of Fame with another one on his way (Clemens) and perhaps a second one on the horizon (Greg Maddux). A total of 22 starting pitchers would be comparable to only four or five position players. The fewest number of HOFers at any one position is 11 (3B). As such, holding starting pitchers to a minimum of 300 victories is overly strict and unfair. Focusing exclusively on wins is also a mistake as this stat is as much dependent on the pitcher’s team as it is on the pitcher himself.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the baseball writers agree or not.


Here is a passage from Roger Angell that I quoted last winter. It’s worth putting up once a year, as they are words to live by:

There is a game of baseball that is not to be found in the schedules or the record books. It has no season, but it is best played in the winter, without the distraction of box scores and standings. This is the inner game, baseball in the mind, and there is no real fan who does not know it. It is a game of recollections, recapturings, and visions: Yet this is only the beginning, for baseball in the mind in not a mere yearning and returning. In time, this easy envisioning of restored players, winning hits, and famous rallies gives way to reconsiderations and reflections about the sport itself. By thinking about baseball like this, by playing it over and yet keeping it to ourselves, keeping it warm in a cold season, we begin to make discoveries. With luck, we may even penetrate some of its mysteries and learn once again how richly and variously the game can reward us.

Roger Angell, from “Baseball in the Mind”


As you all must know by now, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner fainted and collapsed at a memorial service for the football legend Otto Graham this past Saturday. It was a scary moment, but Steinbrenner was OK. Actually, he was more embarassed than anything. After a night of observation, Steinbrenner was released from a hospital in Sarasota Florida on Sunday. The news made the front page of both the Daily News and The Post on Sunday and served as a reminder of not only how fragile life is, but how big an impact Steinbrenner’s eventual passing will have on the baseball world. Granted, this is all over a fainting spell; imagine the reaction if it was something grave. But let’s face it, Steinbrenner is 73 years old, so questions about his physical health are going to hover over him for the rest of his days.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but the biggest question the Yankees will face in the near future isn’t how will they deal with life after Joe Torre but how they will deal with life after George. Because love him or hate him, as Selena Roberts opines today in The Times, The Boss is the straw that stirs the drink in the baseball world.

I’ve been wondering about Life After George for a good part of the 2003 season. I’m surprised that I haven’t read more about it in the mainstream media. But if Steinbrenner’s health starts to decline, I’m sure we won’t hear the end of it. Meanwhile, George will likely be his old blustery self before long. With legal troubles at hand, he’ll need all the energy he can muster.


Kenny Lofton and Tom “Flash” Gordon were introduced as the newest members of the Yankees yesterday. In a conference call with reporters, Lofton, who will compete with Bernie Williams for the centerfield job, started his career in New York off on the good foot:

“I’ll play center…I’ll DH, if that’s what will help. I’ll park cars if they ask me to.”

…”At this point I don’t know what’s going to happen and what Bernie’s going to say and what I’m going to say,” Lofton said. “I think we have to hit that road when it comes.”

Lofton has a reputation as a malcontent, but Yankee owner George Steinbrenner has reportedly adored his game for years. Bernie Williams is a soft-spoken star, a great Yankee, and has been a fixture in center for a decade. Joe Torre has a history of being loyal to the players who have helped him win championships. It should be interesting to see how the potentially volatile Williams-Lofton relationship pans out.


The 5:00 deadline came and went yesterday and Alex Rodriguez was still a Texas Ranger. Both teams released statements indicating that the proposed A Rod-for-Ramirez deal is indeed deadfor now. There is speculation that both teams could revisit the trade later this winter, or during spring training. According to Gordon Edes in The Boston Globe:

Even after the deadline had passed, a high-level executive in Major League Baseball had held out the possibility an agreement could be reached. “I think there’s some hope,” he said. “I don’t know how much. Is it over for sure? I would not say that. Is there going to be a deal? I wouldn’t say that, either. I honestly can’t tell you what will happen, but there were a lot of things talked about between the teams [yesterday], and they need to sort those things out.

“Which way is it going to go? I don’t know.”

But a baseball lawyer with direct knowledge of the proceedings was more pessimistic, saying that whatever hope of getting a deal done was damaged perhaps beyond repair when Orza rejected a restructuring of Rodriguez’s contract.

“I don’t think this is going to happen,” the lawyer said. “If I had to write why in one sentence, I’d say, `Everybody thought the other guy should have done more.’ My sense of Tom Hicks right now is he can’t be leaving his best player hanging out there. The only thing worse than everybody going back to their teams is having your best player out there.”

Bob Ryan has a thoughtful piece today and suggests that the Red Sox will somehow survive without Rodriguez:

The simple truth is that the Red Sox already have had a fabulous offseason. Getting Curt Schilling, a veteran pitcher who knows what it’s like to have scaled baseball’s mountaintop, would have been a great enough move. Signing Keith Foulke, the best closer on the market, made it a spectacular winter. Signing Pokey Reese makes the team much better on defense. With Todd Walker, they would haved scored more runs. With Reese, they won’t need as many runs. Nothing in the Great Book of Baseball says a team must score 950-1,000 runs in order to win a pennant or World Series. Preventing runs is still the preferred way to go, and the Red Sox have taken steps to prevent runs — lots and lots of runs.

So Red Sox Nation doesn’t get the Christmas present it was wishing for, and yet their team has improved since they fell to the Yankees in the ALCS–they even added defensive help in signing Pokey Reese yesterday. I know I’m repeating myself here, but I won’t be completely convinced that Rodriguez is staying with the Rangers until, oh, the July 31rst trading deadline passes and he’s still in Arlington. Call me superstitious (I am), but that’s just my feeling.


There are several articles I’ve been meaning to link, so while I have a few moments during my lunch hour, I thought I’d share them with you:

1. Rich Lederer has two excellent pieces (one and two) evaluating Mickey Mantle’s place in history. Top-notch stuff as usual from Mr. Lederer.

2. My label-mate Christain Ruzich conducted an informative interview with Dave Kavel, founder of the Golden Baseball League, an independent minor league that will bring A-level ball to California.

3. A former Yankee clubhouse attendant who sued the Bronx Bombers in 1998, accusing specific members of the team (Mariano Rivera, Bob Wickman and Jeff Nelson) of participating in anti-gay discrimination, saw his case dismissed by the New York State Court of Appeals. In even more bizarre Yankee-related news, Darryl Strawberry is lending emotional support to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Who else will Michael turn to? I hear Rick James is available.

4. Finally, from the heavy-hitters: Rob Neyer evaluates how the A’s pitching staff will be effected by the signing of Mark Redman; Tom Boswell writes about why this Holiday season has been for the Birds in Baltimore; Jerome Holtzman considers the past and present of the “saves” statistic he created; Andrew Zimbalist weighs in on the mess in Milwaukee; and Tom Verducci offers up his Hall of Fame ballot. (Thanks to Baseball Primer’s “Clutch Hits” for help with the links.)


Will Alex Rodriguez be a member of the Boston Red Sox by 5:00 this afternoon? Too, will the latest deadline in fact be the final cut-off for this trade? These are the $64,000 questions. According to reports in The Times, Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Boston Herald, The Daily News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and ESPN the deal is dead. Then again, it’s also likely to happen. Sources are divided. So, what do you think? Personally, I think it will happen. Even if it doesn’t happen by 5:00 today. But I’m curious to know what you all think. Let me know, and I’ll be back later in the afternoon with an update should anything occur.


Boston Globe veteran Bud Collins contributed an article on Saturday featuring Marvin Miller’s take on the A Rod ordeal:

“This should never have gotten started the way it did because the commissioner broke one of the oldest rules by permitting the Red Sox to talk to Rodriguez. That’s tampering. That was a baseball rule installed by the owners long before the union existed. Selig had no authority to allow that exception. On the other side, the union was slow to pick up on it. That surprised me. There should have been no talks between the Red Sox and a player under contract. Period.

…”The pity is that the union didn’t step up immediately and object to Selig’s approval of what amounted to tampering by the Red Sox with Rodriguez. Rodriguez had no idea, but his quotes I’ve seen [yesterday] tell me he’s honorable and thoughtful. He said he does `understand the principle,’ and respects `the need to protect the rights of his fellow players.’ “

Thanks to loyal Banterite Murray for the link.


The Yankees non-tendered outfielders Karim Garcia and Dave Delluci, while Gabe White accepted arbitration. The Yankees roster is just about complete. The only position they need to fill is a back-up for Jason Giambi at first base.


After a weekend of stalled negotiations, Tom Hicks, the owner of the Texas Rangers, has set another deadline in the potential Alex Rodriguez-for-Manny Ramirez blockbuster trade. The latest in a string of deadlines is 5 p.m. tomorrow. But even if the deal doesn’t get done by then, how do we know that this will be the last deadline we see? The Boston Globe reports:

And so, the next deadline beckons. Will the Sox attempt to re-sign Garciaparra to an extension if the A-Rod deal is indeed DOA? They haven’t contacted his agent, Arn Tellem, about doing so in recent days, according to an industry source. Maybe they’re waiting for the newest deadline to pass.

“If the [A-Rod] deal gets done, then we’ll know it’s over,” one industry source said yesterday. “But if it doesn’t get done, how will we know it’s done? This has been going on nonstop for a month. A whole industry has developed around this. How will we know that it’s really over?”

Peter Gammons reports how the talks screeched to a halt over the weekend:

According to sources, Rodriguez’s passion for this trade has diminished, both because of his relationship with Hicks and his encounters with Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino.

Rodriguez was reportedly incensed when a Lucchino statement Wednesday not only made reference to Alex and his wife — neither of whom Lucchino has ever met — but also tried to drive a stake between A-Rod and the union, portraying Rodriguez as some union-buster who cared little for his fellow players.

“What happens from here on out will depend on whether John Henry steps forward, and undoes some of the damage rendered by his employee Lucchino,” said one source.

Gammons writes that there is plenty of blame to go around, but is especially critical of Gene Orza and Larry Lucchino:

Rodriguez and Theo Epstein did reach an agreement under which A-Rod would restructure his contract by $28 million. But Gene Orza, still fighting the “30-Year War,” nixed it. Then when Larry Lucchino, another cold-war warrior, blasted Orza and made a statement that separated Rodriguez from his fellow players, it blew up any immediate compromise or the hope that someone rational like Michael Weiner and Rob Manfred could be brought into the equation. It should be said that for one man, Orza, to anoint himself with the god-like authority to establish arbitrary valuations of benefits agreed upon by a player and general manager reeks of the height of arrogance. But when Lucchino played his Khrushchev routine there was no chance at an immediate compromise.

Complicating things was Hicks’ hopeless leaking of information in Texas, which clearly disgusted Henry, who does his business where it should be done — in private.

As expected, Mike Lupica jumps all over the union too, but Tim Marchman of The New York Sun wrote last Friday that Orza and the MLBPA did the right—if unpopular—thing:

If the deal is good for Rodriguez, why wouldn’t the union approve it? Because it’s not in the interests of players generally. It would set an ugly precedent, and this is probably the union’s primary concern. Any player trying to force a trade—which is quite common, as Curt Schilling or Roger Clemens could tell you—would be told by the team he wanted to join that he they’d need to renegotiate in order to get the deal done. Also, it would depress the player salary scale significantly. Free agent negotiations and salary arbitrations now use Rodriguez’s contract as a comparison point. Lower it, and you lower the potential income of every union member. The MLBPA would be criminally negligent if it didn’t object. If indeed they are willing to approve a $15 million giveback, as ESPN reported, they’re going far out of their way to get this deal done.

Gary Huckabay of Baseball Prospectus doesn’t understand how Texas would benefit from the trade, and defends the union as well:

It’s going to be interesting to see how things actually shake down. This has the potential of being the biggest trade of my lifetime, and it’s both good and bad that money and intrigue have become such a big part of it. I do know two things: 1) from a tactical perspective, I think the OCB played this much better than I expected, and 2) Gene Orza isn’t paid enough.

If this trade doesn’t eventually go down, it could be Rodriguez’s loyalty to the union that ultimately killed the deal. A Rod didn’t allow Larry Lucchino to seduce him into a scenerio where he’d essentially be setting himself apart from the MLBPA. Marchman concludes:

Moreover, [Rodriguez] has made it clear that he will not waive his no-trade clause to allow the deal to go through unless the terms are approved by the union. IF the trade does not go through, Commissioner Selig cannot bring the issue to an arbitrator, as he has reportedly considered doing, and the union will not be exposed to a potentially dmaging decision. In word and action, Rodriguez has shown an awareness of the history of the game—which could be written as a series of attempts by rich men to steal money rightly belonging to the athletes who generate it—that modern ballplayers are so often criticized for lacking.

Rodriguez should be commended for this awareness, the MLBPA should be commended for protecting the right of its members, the Red Sox should be commmended for trying to improve their team, and Commissioner Selig should be commended for trying to get Rodriguez to a city that will appreciate him.

How often can you say all that?

True enough. Although things are looking dark, I won’t believe that the deal is dead until A Rod is suited up in a Rangers uniform on Opening Day, or the Sox sign Garciaparra to an extension. Perhaps I’m being overly reverential of the Red Sox front office, but I wouldn’t count out a last-minute suprise from Saint Nick. Regardless, even if the trade doesn’t occur, the Red Sox have an improved, and mighty impressive team going into 2004 writes Ben Jacobs. I find it hard to disagree with him.


The distinguished movie-maker Robert Altman once said that you can write a movie just by walking down the street in New York City. By catching a phrase or a sentence from each passing couple, you can invent an entire story around them. You just need to have a good ear, and an even better imagination. With that in mind, head over to Will Carroll’s blog and check out what he overheard at the winter meetings last weekend. When you are done, continue on to Jay Jaffe’s most impressive–not to mention thorough–write-up on his time in New Orleans. You won’t be sorry.


Not to be completey overshadowed by the Yankees and Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles introduced Miguel Tejada at a press conference yesterday. Tejada’s first assist for the Orioles will be trying to recruit fellow Dominican Vladimir Guerrero, a demure country boy, to play with him in Baltimore:

“I’ve only had a couple of days here, and I can already see how the people here are,” Tejada said. “I’m going to tell him this is a great city, and if you have to make a decision, it’s the right decision for you to come to Baltimore.”

It might not be all that difficult. Oh yeah, it helps that Tejada’s agents also happen to represent Guerrero.


The Yankees traded left-handed relief pitcher Chris Hammond–he of the Bugs Bunny slow pitch–to the Oakland A’s yesterday for two minor leaguers. Hammonds didn’t love pitching in New York, but the move is reportedly motivated by the fact that the Yanks want to re-sign Gabe White, another left-handed reliever. (Incidentally, the A’s also signed southpaw Arthur Rhodes to be their closer.)

Meanwhile, Javier Vasquez spoke with the New York press for the first time as a Yankee via conference call yesterday. His agents and the Bombers are still working on completing a lengthy contract extension. And just to prove that there is never a dull moment in the Yankee-Red Sox season, Karim Garcia and Jeff Nelson were officially charged with assault and battery for their parts in the Game Three bullpen brawl during the ALCS between Boston and New York.


The 5:00 deadline came and went yesterday and Alex Rodriguez was still a member of the Texas Rangers. While the Red Sox proclaimed that the “deal is dead,” Texas GM John Hart, and Rodriguez’s agent Scott Boras said that just isn’t the case. I still believe the trade will get done, oh, just in time for Christmas (hey, timing is everything, right?). For the latest on the story that just won’t quit, check out the professionals: Bob Ryan, Joe Sheehan, Harvey Araton, John Donovan, Buster Olney, David Pinto, Jack Curry, and Tom Boswell.


After I received e-mails from both David Pinto and Edward Cossette this morning urging me to join the Dirt Dogs’ protest outside of the Player’s Union this afternoon, I thought the least I could do was check it out during my lunch hour (the Union offices are just blocks away from where I work). According to the Boston Dirt Dogs website, an informal protest was scheduled to start today at noon. When I got there at a quarter past twelve there were about a dozen Red Sox fans milling around, chatting, trying to keep warm. A couple of reporters from the local papers were asking questions. It was a tepid demonstration for starters, and not yet a full-on protest. There was no sign of the Dirt Dogs, but I assume that’s because they hadn’t made it down from Boston yet. I’m sure once they eventually arrive things will get more festive. Who knows, maybe Bill Lee will fly in and offer his two-and-a-half-cents worth.

Incidentally, the Sox fans I spoke with were all nice, rational guys. The prevailing sentiment was that the A Rod deal should and will get done, if not today, then sometime soon. David Pinto has a link to Mike C’s take on how Bud Selig’s done all he can to help the Red Sox. Pinto concludes:

I think it’s pretty clear what’s going on. In return for letting Henry buy the Red Sox when there was likely a higher bidder, by letting the Red Sox acquire whomever they want, Bud gets a large market team to support his small market socialism. It’s Bud buying power.

Doug Pappas details the language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with regards to this case, and Jim Caple writes about the nature of Rodriguez’s character, as he publicly politics for Nomar Garciaparra’s job.


On the day that Gary Sheffield was introduced as the new Yankee right fielder, the Alex Rodriguez-for-Manny Ramirez blockbuster temporarily came to a halt when the Player’s Union blocked the deal. According to Gordon Edes in The Boston Globe:

Faced with the possibility that the Alex Rodriguez trade will not take place because the Major League Players Association rejected the restructuring of Rodriguez’s landmark contract by the Red Sox, Major League Baseball’s top labor lawyer said last night that commissioner Bud Selig may legally challenge the union’s right to do so.
If Selig approves the reworking of the contract of sports’ highest-paid player over the objections expressed by union lawyer Gene Orza, the matter could wind up before an independent arbitrator, a legal process that could take weeks and cause chaos for the teams and players involved

Still, as Bill Madden reports in The Daily News, the long-anticipated trade is likely to be completed by today’s 5 p.m. deadline:

A baseball person with knowledge of the internal workings of the deal predicted the teams will get it done, if only because they have to. “I can’t believe the Red Sox, after all the tumult they’ve caused in Boston with Nomar, plus all of A-Rod’s publicly campaigning for Nomar’s job, aren’t going to go through with this thing. There’s been just too much damage done to go back now.”

Jack Curry concurs in The Times:

An executive from one of the teams said that the development, though disappointing because it created another obstacle, would not kill discussions and that the trade was still possible. “I think there’s too much wanting to get this done on both sides for it to die,” he said. But before the Red Sox or the Rangers do anything, they will probably wait to see what Selig does. An official from the commissioner’s office described Selig as being incensed at the union and said he was investigating his legal options. If Selig approves the trade, the union will most likely file a grievance and the issue will be settled by an arbitrator.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, Joe Torre joined Brian Cashman in welcoming Gary Sheffield to the big city. Torre was asked if he was concerned over the prospect of dealing with high-profile malcontents like Sheffield, Brown and Lofton. His response was typical:

“My job is going to be tough enough, not because of the new acquisitions of guys who are supposedly tough to handle,” Torre said. “When you go in and you have new people, you see what you have. Will my job be tougher? You never know that. I certainly don’t think it’s fair to the players that we’re getting to all of a sudden put a wary eye out.”

Joel Sherman spoke with Jim Leyland, who managed Kevin Brown and Sheffield on the star-studded Marlins championship team in 1997:

“Those two guys are professionals,” Leyland said by phone from his Pittsburgh home. “I don’t give a [bleep] what anyone else says. And they are going to have the perfect manager for them in Joe Torre because his strength is communication and all those guys want to do is win.”

…”I love Gary Sheffield. I heard the gossip about him, but I am telling you he is ready to play and one of the best clubhouse guys I’ve ever had. Joe Torre and Gary Sheffield will be a great marriage.”

The Yankees are stacked, there is no doubt about it. Then again, as Tom Verducci reports, so is Boston. All eyes are now on the Red Sox and Texas, the Union and Bug Selig, as they attempt to get this deal done by this evening. I would be surprised if it didn’t happen.


If anyone is still looking for the ideal gift that any baseball fan would treasure, I urge you to consider ordering a copy of Lee Sinins’ Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia. Sinins’ cd rom allows you to create your own leader lists, as well as the ability to compare a player or a team to the league average. It is an indispensable tool for any serious fan, and a perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays.


A few years ago, Nigella Lawson, the voluptuous British cook, came to the U.S. First it was her book, and then her cooking show. Although the half- hour program was shot through soft filters in her own kitchen, making it unlike most cooking shows–it looked like something out of “9 1/2 Weeks”– Lawson had a casual and spontanious approach to cooking that was almost as appealing as simply looking at her. I only caught one episode, which concluded with Lawson deep frying candy bars–all the rage a few years back–and inviting some friends over for a feast. Upon tasting one of these treats, a guest proclaimed, “It’s like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one.”

Well, that’s exactly how I expect Red Sox fans will react if Nomar Garciappara gets traded to the White Sox for Magglio Ordonez. Newsday is reporting that the deal will take place after the Rodriguez-for-Ramirez deal is completed later this week (the A Rod business could happen as early as today). If Ordonez does in fact get traded to Boston, the Sox will not suffer any serious decline in production with the loss of Ramirez. They will also continue to become a more likable squad, and I’ll be beside myself with envy as Ordonez has been one of my favorite players in the league for the last four years. Shortly, I won’t be able to root for Magglio or A Rod any longer; in fact, I’ll be forced to actively root against them.

Poor little Yankee fan am I.


Ben Jacobs has an excellent look at how the American League is shaping up for 2004 (and it’s not even Christmas yet). Last Friday, on the eve of the winter meetings, Jacobs

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver