"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 4/30/09

Let’s get to it:

  • If the Blue Jays’ hot start has you worried, consider this point from Joe Sheehan:

Finally, there’s the schedule. You can’t hold this against the Jays, who are playing the hand they’ve been dealt, but they have benefited from a schedule that has thus far included none of their three AL East rivals, teams that may be the three best in the league. The Jays have played every team in the AL Central, as well as the A’s and Rangers in the West. They have illustrated a point I think every analyst would agree with: if you put the Jays in any other division, they would be at worst a contender, and often a favorite. The pessimism about their chances this year stems in no small part from their having to play perhaps the toughest schedule in baseball. They haven’t gotten into that yet, and in fact, they won’t see the Red Sox, Yankees, or Rays for another two weeks. They play every AL team other than the Mariners before seeing any of those three, and in fact, the Jays don’t play the Rays at all until June 29. (In a whack-job of a schedule, the Jays play just nine of their first 78 games against the big three, then get them 42 times in their next 71 contests.)

  • PeteAbe does his usual wonderful job, this time playing out the “what ifs” of the starting rotation:

. . . let’s say that Wang comes back in early June and Hughes is 4-1, 2.85. What then?

You shake Phil’s hand, thank him for a job well done and send him back to Scranton until he is needed again.

Get this much straight: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are pitching every five days if they are healthy. That’s a given. There is not going to be a six-man rotation. Those guys are conditioned to pitch every five days and they’re getting a pile of money to do so.

Joba Chamberlain also needs to pitch. One good start by Hughes in April should not start the “We need Joba in the bullpen” nonsense.  . . .

Here is what some people can’t seem to understand: Joba threw 100 innings last season. He needs to throw 150-plus this season so that in 2010 he can throw 180-plus. Then he can throw 200-plus in 2011 and so on. This is a young man with a great arm, four pitches and the makeup to be an ace. The Yankees would be foolish not to give him every chance to be a starter.

If you send him back to the bullpen, you’re starting the process all over again and increasing the risk of injury by suddenly changing his role. Joba has a 2.43 ERA in 15 starts over the last two seasons. That is really, really, very, very good.

Ian Kennedy was examined by a specialist in NYC today because of his numb middle finger.

He has a vasospasm that can be treated with medication. He will be evaluated again Monday and will not throw until after that follow-up.

  • If you feel like dropping some serious cash on a steak, you can do so at NYY Steak at the Stadium.  Paul Lukas of ESPN.com tried the place out.
  • Richard Sandomir takes up the rally cry for the non-Premium seat Yankee fan:

The Yankees’ move Tuesday to slash the price of slower-selling premium seats, including the $2,500 perches, and give away others affects a few hundred seats. It was a cosmetic move to quell criticism and put more bodies in front of television cameras.

There are only 100 seats priced for season-ticket plans at $2,500 — and only 55 to 60 have been sold.

The Yankees’ strategy exacerbates the visible divide between fans in exclusive areas and the tens of thousands outside of club access. The Yankees gave discounts to those who can afford $325 to $2,500 tickets for 81 games, but nothing to fans who might have had to stretch family budgets pinched by the recession to pay $50, $75 or $150 a game.

Those fans — many of whom could once afford box seats — deserve something.

  • As you may know, Baseball-Reference.com has undergone a facelift, and is still tinkering with some new formats.  But in the meantime, I stumbled upon a cool “game preview” feature.
  • John Perrotto lets us in on a kinship between supposed bitter rivals:

. . . Kevin Youkilis and second baseman Dustin Pedroia made no secret of their admiration for Yankees shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter after the three were teammates for the United States in the World Baseball Classic last month. Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell came up through the Yankees’ farm system before being traded to the Marlins, and also doesn’t hide his affection for Jeter. “He treated me exceptionally well when I was a young guy,” Lowell said. “Whenever I see him, I’ll always say hello, but it’s not like I’m going to give him a hug if I’m standing on second base. I wouldn’t do that out of respect for what these games mean to the fans and the media.”

Perhaps the fans and media have puffed up the games between the Yankees and Red Sox to such a degree that the two teams have bonded in an odd sort of way because of it. “It’s two highly competitive teams expected to get to the playoffs every season,” Lowell said. “So that creates two high-pressure situations, which means our games are always going to be intense. As competitors in those similar situations, we also have a lot more in common than people think.”

  • Will Carroll chimes in on the ever-increasing speed of Alex Rodriguez’s rehab:

Rodriguez has simply been the perfect model of conditioning and baseball skill getting the benefit of the best medical technology. Most of the errors made by people assessing this injury were caused by their using normal physical therapy protocols, which are almost exclusively based on people more like your grandmother than like an All-Star. Rodriguez has given no sign during his rehab that he won’t step into the lineup and play at his former level.

  • On this date in 1988, Dave Winfield drove in his 28th and 29th runs of the season in the Yankees’ 15 – 3 rout of Texas.  Winfield tied the (then) major league record for RBI in April.
  • On this date in 1989, the Blue Jays acquire pitcher Al Leiter from the Yankees in exchange for veteran outfielder Jesse Barfield. Leiter will contribute significantly to the Jays’ World Championship in 1993, winning nine of 15 decisions as a spot starter and long reliever.
  • On this date in 1997, Tino Martinez, who got off to a painfully slow start with the Yankees in 1996, finishes April with 34 RBI to set a new major league record for the month.
  • On this date in 1999, about 3,000 fans wearing T-shirts that said, “$hare the wealth” protested baseball economics at the Yankees-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium. The protesters turned their backs when the Yankees batted, then walked out during the fourth inning. The Yankees began the season with baseball’s top payroll at $85.05 million, and the Royals were 25th at $23.8 million.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:18 am

Strange how much has changed in 10 years. If $85 mil was enough to get fans riled up then, they might be practicing military maneuvers at this very moment...

2 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:25 am

[1] Of course, since that time, the Yankees have probably poured close to $100mn into the Royals coffers via revenue sharing. Not surprisingly, KC hasn't exactly put their "shared wealth" to good use.

3 The Hawk   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:26 am

What, no A Rod? Ha - let me help:

On tipping pitches:

"Rodriguez expected players he helped would do the same for him when he was having an off night and needed to get his batting average up and it wouldn't affect the outcome of the game."

This explains so much.

4 RIYank   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:27 am

[2] Not put it to good use??? They're paying Ponson and Farnsworth! Invaluable. (Is that the word I'm looking for?)

5 Raf   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:28 am

[1],[3] Thanks for the laughs guys :D

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:30 am

We all know it was the Yankees' fault that KC couldn't build a halfway-respectable team around young Damon, Beltran, and Dye...clearly.

7 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:47 am

[4] Well, they did ask the Yankees to share the wealth! Allowing Farnsworth and Ponson to go free was the least the Yankees could do.

8 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:52 am


I don't know why, but all of a sudden I hear the strains of "Born Free" in the background ... :-)

9 jen   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:53 am

I have an extra bleacher ticket for tonight's game if anyone is interested (and one for tomorrow too).

10 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:56 am

[7] A case of "my cup runneth over" or "my cup was runneth over"?

11 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:56 am


I'd be interested for tomorrow

12 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 10:58 am

[9] Wrong week for me, but thanks! >;)

13 jen   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:03 am

[11] Cool. My email is muller8 AT gmail DOT com

[12] I have a couple extra for next week as well and 2 for Sunday that haven't been claimed yet.

14 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:08 am

[13] I'll send you an email about next week. Might make a nice belated b'day present from mi familia. Thanks!

15 jen   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:14 am

[14] Just to clarify, I only have 1 extra ticket for a couple games next week (Tuesday and Thurday). The 2 tickets are for Sunday's game.

16 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:15 am

[15] Ah. Gotcha.

17 nemecizer   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:24 am

This is totally off topic and completely irrelevant, but I need to vent.

If Steve Lombardi over at waswatching.com puts even just one more word in italics for emphasis I am going to stab my cat in the ass.

Stop using italics, Steve. Do it for the cat.

18 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:28 am

[17] It would make sense if you named your cat "Steve Lombardi", but dang man! Stop The Violence! >;)

19 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:43 am

[17], [18]

Hello ASPCA?

20 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:47 am


I think he's got that "cat ass fever" ....
(oh ... wait ... that's not the title of the song?)

21 bags   ~  Apr 30, 2009 11:57 am

[17] hilarious. drives me nuts as well. bonkers.

22 Raf   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:02 pm

[17],[21] Why does it drive you guys crazy? I've never had a problem with it.

23 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:03 pm

[20] That would refer to anyone who saw and liked Catwoman >;)

24 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:06 pm


You should have italicized that comment. :-)

25 bags   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:12 pm

[22] Eh. I probably shouldn't have piled on. I don't mean to criticize the guy. There's no harm in it. In fact, it is probably an appropriate style for a medium like a blog in that it allows him to be more expressive in a compressed space.

But the fact of the matter is, those italics and all the needless quotation marks are a quirk that drives the English major in me batty.

26 Raf   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:12 pm

[24] You're right, I should have.

27 Chyll Will   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:13 pm

[24] Nice!! >;)

28 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:17 pm


My mother always chides me for overuse of parentheses.
(What can I say ... parenthetically speaking?) :-)

29 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:18 pm

You know, the Topic that Refuses to Die remains Joba to the pen ... it baffles me. Pete Abe's cogent summary is just ... a cogent summary of what a lot of us have been writing since spring of LAST year. The value of a strong starter (and he shows every sign of being one) is so much greater than that of a 7th or 8th inning guy (about 130 innings greater!) it is ridiculous. And same applies to closers. When (alas) Mo retires and starts the HoF clock ticking, NY will find a closer. We will probably overpay for one, but we'll find one, since Mo's contract will be off the books that year, obviously. If Joba proves to be too fragile to truly be a starter, we might do a Papelbon or Morrow ... at that point. But it is just senseless not to use him exactly as they are, aim for 150 this year, and boost that next year. The only challenge I see is watching for that 150, and how to not slide past it.

Actually, that turns on being in the playoff hunt, doesn't it? If Yankees are not, it is a lot easier to back off on his starts in late summer.

And as a small note, my favorite single moment of the entire season so far is the inside breaking ball Joba threw to Polanco two nights ago, the one that had a veteran hitter bailing out on a called strike. Worth the price of admission. (Maybe not behind the plate in New Yankee Stadium, mind you.)

30 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 30, 2009 12:24 pm

Joba sure did seem to be a different, more confident pitcher when they got him the comfy lead.

31 tommyl   ~  Apr 30, 2009 1:20 pm

[29] That curveball was Phil's, but yeah, that was awesome.

32 Rich   ~  Apr 30, 2009 2:51 pm

If Hughes pitches very effectively and they send him down, you risk a regression, so I strongly disagree with Ham, the obsessive A-Rod hater.

33 PJ   ~  Apr 30, 2009 4:44 pm

[0] I believe I'd like the Surf and Turf (medium), along with the Wild Seasonal Mushrooms, please... but not at a ball game...

Chamberlain is about as "similar" to Papelbon as he is to Wakefield. Papelbon couldn't make it as a starter, because he's just got a FB and a Splitter. Joba has many more pitches in his arsenal, including a biting Slider that's not unlike Hughes' Knuckle Curve, hence his starter's role. He also possesses the added bonus of Burnett mentoring him in a Halladay-type fashion, which has already proved inherently valuable.

I keep trying to explain this to my elderly father, but to no avail (*sigh*). He like Francesa, is totally in denial with respect to Joba the Starter. It's simply not going to happen, not any time soon, if ever at all...

[32] At this pernt, I would argue that Hughes and his progression into being a permanent member of the Yankees' rotation is significantly greater than Pettitte and the "twilight of his career." The "stuff" is the "tale of the tape" for me.

[All] There! I think I covered italics, "quotes" (and parentheses), all in one comment!

: )

34 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Apr 30, 2009 4:49 pm

[31] damn and blast, tommy ... of course it was Phil's! It only shows that since retiring from my shortstop spot my memory is going ... and it was only two nights ago! Sigh. Yes, give the props to Hughes, it was a killer moment.

But keep Joba in the rotation.

35 randym77   ~  Apr 30, 2009 6:04 pm

[3] That is slimy. If it's true, anyway. (It's from the Daily News, for those who haven't seen it.)

I guess that's one good reason to play A-Rod at 3B instead of SS. Can't tip pitches from 3B.

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