"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Roy > A.J.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)It didn’t really matter what A.J. Burnett did last night given how well Roy Halladay pitched. Halladay faced the minimum through 6 1/3 thanks to a questionable call by second-base umpire Chuck Meriwether who called Johnny Damon out trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning. Fittingly, it was a Damon double that broke Halladay’s streak with one out in the seventh. After Mark Teixeira struck out, Alex Rodriguez delivered a two-out RBI single to plate Damon, but that was all the Yankees would get. Halladay erased a Melky Cabrera single in the eighth with a double play and stranded a lead-off Ramiro Peña double in the ninth. He threw 72 of 103 pitches for strikes, got 17 of his 27 outs on the ground, five more by strikeout, and two more on pop-ups, and picked up his first complete game of the year, pushing his record to 7-1. The game took just two hours and 22 minutes to play.

Fun stat: Since 2003, Halladay leads all major league pitchers in shutouts with 36. CC Sabathia is second with 26. Since 2006, however, Sabathia leads Halladay 22 to 21.

As for Burnett, he gave up three runs in the fourth after loading the bases on an Alex Rios double and two walks. Scott Rolen doubled down the left field line to plate two, and after Lyle Overbay struck out, Rod Barajas brought the third run home with a sac fly. Still, it seemed we were getting the pitching duel we had hoped for when Burnett held the Jays there and took the mound in the bottom of the eight trailing Halladay 3-1. Then Aaron Hill homered to make it 4-1 and Rios and Rolen teamed up again to plate a fifth run (via a walk, groundout, and RBI Rolen single) to bounce Burnett from the game and set the final score at 5-1.

A.J. was booed lustily throughout the game by the betrayed Blue Jays fans. Chants of “A.J. Sucks” echoed throughout the Rogers Centre (as did “Steroids” chants during Alex Rodriguez’s at-bats). One fan held up a sign that said “Roy > A.J.” Well, yeah. I think even he’d admit that.

In other news, Derek Jeter sat out with an oblique strain. He said it has been bothering him for about a week, but he hopes to play tomorrow night. He told Pete Abe, “I’ve pulled that muscle before and been on the disabled list two or three weeks. I’m trying to avoid that.” Hideki Matsui felt something in his hamstring coming out of the batters box on his second-inning groundout and was replaced by Nick Swisher before his next at-bat. Matsui claims it was just a cramp and he’ll be fine.

Meanwhile, in Scranton, Chien-Ming Wang threw six scoreless innings, getting his fair share of groundouts. Per Brian Cashman, he will make at least one more rehab start. Given Phil Hughes’ poor outing in Baltimore, it seems almost certain that Hughes will be optioned out when Wang returns.

Finally, the Yankees held a press conference to announce the beginning of the selling off of Yankee Stadium yesterday. Just in time for Father’s Day, you can spend $750 plus $80 shipping for a “commemorative” seat comprised of an original seat back and bottom and “commemorative” arms. Or you can buy some freeze-dried sod in glass display case that reads “Yankee Stadium Artifact” for just $80 plus $25 shipping. If there are any wealthy readers lurking out there who want to make a donation, I’d love to have my old bleacher seats, seats 5 and 6 from row JJ of section 37, just $770 with shipping. Ouch.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

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1 Rich   ~  May 12, 2009 11:42 pm

What bothered me about AJ's outing is that he seemed to let his emotions affect his command when he put runners on in the fourth. AJ also cited his inability to control his emotions as a reason why he melted down v. the Sox a couple of Saturday's ago.

There is no denying that he has killer stuff, but his psychological makeup, along with physical breakdowns, is probably the reason that he has never been able to have his career performance match his stuff.

To this point, I see no reason to believe that will ever change over the next five years.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 12, 2009 11:47 pm

I saw no reason to believe that before the Yankees signed him.

3 Rich   ~  May 12, 2009 11:55 pm

[2] Me neither, Cliff, but hope springs eternal for a few months, since I'm powerless to affect the team's decision making.

4 Mattpat11   ~  May 13, 2009 12:47 am

I don't know. I was the biggest anti-AJ guy here, and I've yet to be thrown into a rage by him. He's obviously not living up to his contract, but, and maybe its because of all the other problems, but he really hasn't been on my radar this year.

5 randym77   ~  May 13, 2009 12:52 am

I was at the SWB Yankees game tonight. I didn't realize Wang would be starting and Cashman would be there.

SWB Yanks won a 1-0 pitchers' duel. Wang took a comebacker to his leg. He stayed in the game, though, so I guess he's all right.

He made short work of the Charlotte Knights (including Andy Phillips, who's been raking in AAA, but was hitless tonight). Not sure it will translate to the big leagues, though. He was throwing 90-91, instead of the 95-96 he used have.

6 randym77   ~  May 13, 2009 1:01 am

[5] Why did I say they won? They lost 1-0. But the run scored after Wang was out of the game. He looked pretty dominant. The Charlotte Knights are a pretty bad team, though. That's why they traded for Andy Phillips. They had a 2-11 record, or something like that, and wanted some offense.

7 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:03 am

[5] i hope to be in Central PA late July. i doubt i'd be able to make it over to Scranton, though i'd love to see a game there. if i do make the trip, i'll catch a NY-Penn League game of the Spikes in State College...

8 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:05 am

[6] wishful thinking.

i didn't read the game thread, so i don't know if this was mentioned, but - Scott Proctor is out for the year: TJ Surgery. shocking, i know. that, and Tanyon Sturtze is seriously considering retirement...

9 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:14 am

motherfuckin' shit sox - losing all game, score 2 in the 8th to tie it up, rally in the 9th, take the lead and are still threatening. of course, paplebitch will come in, throw smoke and they'll win again. it seems like all they do is win, or come back and win, the last 5 years. it's always 27 outs with them and they're never out of it. our team seems like they're doomed from the outset and remain that way throughout the game, even if we're winning. REALLY frustrating! : /

10 Rich   ~  May 13, 2009 1:22 am

The Sox hit with RISP. The Yankees don't. Plus their pen is way better.

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 13, 2009 1:27 am

[9] hey man, cranky game thread tonight..understandable with the awful performance by our ALL-STAR lineup..

some blues on the iPod this morning, Albert King.

12 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 13, 2009 1:28 am

you just KNEW Hunter would whiff against Paps there..sigh...

13 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:28 am

boBBy doubled, but of course, the shit sox won. diane's on vacation, so she probably won't see that boston's record is 21-12, which is NOWHERE near as amazing as Rush's record 2112!!! : )

14 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:30 am

[11] hey buddy! i missed the game and thread, was teaching...

just finished listening to that awesome Mingus live set w/ Dolphy from 1964, at Cornell University! think i'm gonna hit some late 60's Chick Corea now!

all the King's are great, esp Freddie. but, i gotta say, since i do sooo many blues-rock gigs, i'm just burnt out on that stuff and can't get excited by it or listen to it much anymore. that said, i'm thankful for my blues-rock gig coming up this friday night! : ) plus, i get to play w/ my regular - and favorite! - bass player...

15 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 13, 2009 1:34 am

Oh, any Mingus is great, + Dolphy even better!
Not a huge Chick fan..though I heard an early one "Now she Sings.." recently and it was great.

Albert, Freddie, B.B..that's quite a trio of Kings..

damn Sox, they are going to walk away with the division I fear..their top two starters stink, Papi is done, Pedroia regressed, Youk injured..and they just keep winning! ArrrrghhhH!

16 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:35 am

[10] what a concept! a winning combination! do you think $200 million can buy that?! ; )

17 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 1:40 am

jazz tokyo - right on all accounts, esp Now HE Sings...Sobs. total classic! Roy Haynes and Vitous! i have the 2cd "IS" sessions on now. it's pretty unreal. de johnette is on it some. that early Chick stuff is awesome. he was on a few Blue Mitchell albums on BN - that was his start, really. i might need you to search for some Blue Mitchell cd's on BN for me over in your part of the world...

BB King had an older cousin - Bukka T. Washington White. he was GREAT! Fixin' To Die...

18 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 13, 2009 1:54 am

[17] Bukka White was BB King's older cousin? really?? Never knew that!

Chick, Roy Haynes and Vituous..wow..you KNOW those guys would be clutch in concert, not like our current Tex-ARod-Matsui threesome..D'oh!

Anytime for record shopping, just let me know.

Chick playing electric piano on Miles' records..seriously funky buzzing going on there, love it!

19 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 2:11 am

yeah man, this Chick record is a compilation of sessions EXACTLY 40 years ago - May 11, 12, 13 1969, in NYC. chick, woody shaw, hubert laws, bennie maupin, dave holland, jack dejohnette & horace arnold. it's definitely post-bop/pre-fusion and it's pretty killin'...

Blue Mitchell "Step Lightly", jewel case version cd on BN. try that for starters. if you can find it, i'd be forever grateful! it's HARD to come by 'round these parts...

yeah man, Booker was BB's older cousin. BB couldn't play a slide like Bukka, but that's how he learned to trill his hand. i like Son House and esp. Big Bill Broonzy too. i got to play w/ Cedell Davis. that's some "out" old Delta Blues!

Tex is killing me. sure he's a slow starter, but he's always been a consistent masher. must really but some heavy mental weight to sign a big free agent deal with the Yankees...

20 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 13, 2009 2:18 am

Oooowheeeee! That is a sick group of musicians there, i LOVE Woody Shaw and Hubert Laws (Bernie Maupin..played with Herbie Hancock??) and of course Holland and Jack D. What is the name of that compilation??

Will have a look for the Blue Mitchell and let you know. What's your MySpace/Website, etc etc??

Tex..I want to swear like a sailor now but with the new rules and everything..sigh...

21 thelarmis   ~  May 13, 2009 2:43 am

[20] what new rules?! you certainly aren't gonna offend me! aaaahhh, my virgin ears!!! ; )

i am *terrible* at networking, and therefore don't have a myspace or website. hell, i don't even know what facebook is! i sure hope to release my solo percussion cd, at some point this year, and when i do, i'll have to put all those necessary evils on the interweb.

in the meantime, i need to just email you offline already! tonight, i still have 2 long emails to construct, in catching up - 1 baseball, 1 classical percussion...

well, bernie taupin was elton john's lyricist in the early 70's! bennie maupin, was in herbie's band. you know this, though - i'm sure of it! he's the woodwinds player on the Headhunters. then Sextant. and Thrust/Flood. he worked w/ Lee Morgan toward the end of his days and Chick, too. he's awesome.

dave holland is still killin' it, with great groups and compositions. i really need to pick up more of his solo material...

this specific Chick comp, is called The "IS" Sessions, and is a 2cd set on BN. there are TONS of comps over the years, on budget labels, that have released portions of these sessions. the info on them has been sparse and not always fully right. i picked up one of these waaaay back when i was a teenager working at a record store in long island! i finally have a more complete representation of this terrific music. : )

22 williamnyy23   ~  May 13, 2009 6:21 am

Except for the Boston melt down, I don't think AJ has anything to apologize before. He's kept the Yankees in every other game he has pitched and usually given them innings. Considering how futile the Yankees looked yesterday, I am sure Burnett realized that one run could likely be the ball game. It can't be easy to pitch like that.

As for Jeter, if he isn't close to being 100%, the Yankees are better off with Pena at SS. Jeter's offense has been slipping as it is, but another long-term, injury induced slump combined with his suspect defense would make him a real liability. If Girardi simply pens him name in the lineup because Jeter wants to play, it would be yet another sign that he may be way over his head with team.

23 nemecizer   ~  May 13, 2009 6:38 am

These Yankees are making me angry....

24 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 13, 2009 6:45 am

[23] Well done, sir!

Settling in to watch the Hanshin Tigers vs the Hiroshima Carp on tv. Live from Koshien Stadium outside Osaka, the home of the Tigers and the national high school baseball tournament, Koshien is a gem. Combination of Fenway and Wrigley, no frills (cocktail bars..ahem), just a sea of black and yellow-clad maniacs who cheer for their Tigers from the first pitch. I wish all teams in the majors still played in such classic stadiums!

25 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 7:11 am

He’s kept the Yankees in every other game he has pitched and usually given them innings.

Yeah, I expect a .500 pitcher to earn a $85 million contract. Funny enough, he was a pitcher who kept his team in the game every other game before he came to the Yankees. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Carl Pavano says hello.

If Girardi simply pens him name in the lineup because Jeter wants to play, it would be yet another sign that he may be way over his head with team.

Seriously, are you on drugs? You're telling me that Torre never did exactly that. But it's Girardi. Riiiight.

26 The Mick536   ~  May 13, 2009 7:42 am

Don Meredith's singing voice rings in my ears. Put rockin chairs in front of their lockers and post the injury lists. Prepare for the worst, because it ain't goin to get better.

[10] Yup.

27 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 9:37 am

As I said yesterday, Halladay was as close to a lock to beat NY as you can get. I agree with William that it is just wrong to get all over AJ for last night. Jays are hitting very well, have all season, and it is hard to pitch knowing there's zero margin. We don't need Burnett to be a #1. He's pitched deep and pretty well as-advertised. He'll come in around a 4.1 or 4.3 era, and if we hit at all for him he'll win 14-16 like that, I suspect and help the bullpen.

Losing last night to King Roy is the wrong game to get sour about Cashman/Girardi. (Though I wouldn't have batted Chauncey in lead-off either - his short-stat numbers vs Halladay just don't mean enough ... I was guessing he was up to bunt his way on, actually.)

I stick with my call ... Sabathia will win tomorrow, tonight is the key game.

I also still feel what I said to someone yesterday saying he's not one of the World Series or Bust, Win Now group ... he's in a massive minority in that, among Yankee fans, and Banterers. If people really want the team rebuilt, a whole new philosophy, getting even younger than they did this year, it takes 4-5 years of losing. Can't see it.

I do actually have a sense Girardi's on the line if they lose the next two. We can say injuries shouldn't matter but: A Rod, Wang, Nady, Po, Molina, Matsui, Jeter, Bruney, Marte ...ouch. And add a wonky wrist for Tex. Long, long list.

Meanwhile, is it okay to give a shout-out to Leche? CF is a strength this spring, suddenly.

28 RagingTartabull   ~  May 13, 2009 9:51 am

yeah I gotta say, like about 99% of people here I was adamently against signing AJ. But I dunno, from a performance standpoint so far, I think you can do a hell of a lot worse from a 3 starter (which is what he was penciled in as). Overpaid? Yeah sure, who isn't? But he's given them quality starts more often than not, his stat line was just completely jacked up by the Boston game. And yes that was a horrible game, but its been his only start where he's infuriated me. Every other game he's thrown has been generally acceptable.

29 randym77   ~  May 13, 2009 10:09 am

The MiLB writeup of last night's game credits Andy Phillips for singling a ball off Wang's calf. It wasn't Andy's doing. It was the guy before Andy in the lineup, I think. Josh Kroeger. Andy didn't get any hits last night. He walked and reached on an error, but didn't bounce any line drives off the Wanger. He's innocent, I say. ;-)

30 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 10:25 am

At what point do people here start to see injuries as having a causal basis rather than being just fluky or due to bad luck? After how many years do people want to start looking for a reason?

Similarly, after how many playoff exits do people want to seek an underlying explanation?

In any other sport, both events have a strong correlation: Age. You take an old football team - they get hurt more readily and they lose more easily. You take an old basketball team - they get hurt more easily and they lose more easily. In the playoffs, especially after a long season, age matters. Why is it so hard for the fanatics here to see what any knowledgeable sports fan already knows so well?

We've seen now the same exact patterns for the last five years. I truly believe in Occam. And that doesn't involve any allusions to attitude or preparation or ghosts or gods.

31 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 10:31 am

Meanwhile, is it okay to give a shout-out to Leche?

No. See also April 2008 vs. May to October 2008.

He needs to do it for a full season. I think he has it in him. But he has to prove it.

Notice something though - the two players who haven't been hurt over the last three years? Melky and Cano. Otherwise, every other holdover position player on this team has spent time on the DL during that time frame: Jeter, A-Rod, Jorge, Damon, Matsui.

32 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 10:39 am

Bum, I think the search for cause is doomed. A wrist tendonitis can't link to a hammy. Hamstrings are all over the game, especially in spring. I don't think you can make more of Jeter's oblique than Youkilis's injury. Angels have two very young IFs and both get hurt a lot ... Pedroia's hurt, Ellsbury pulled his hamstring ... you want to fire the Yankee trainer now?

We've been through this: yes, older players will get hurt more. Yes, we are getting younger. Yes, getting a LOT younger is hard, and will take some losing.

Playoff exits? I'm afraid I also tend not to buy grand scheme explanations. Short series baseball is a crapshoot. We beat Oakland once because Jeremy Giambi didn't slide. We lost to Arizona same year because Mo muffed a DP ball. Cleveland beat us once when Sandy Alomar homered off a ball 4 inches up and out of the zone, and another time because midges swarmed. We won a playoff game we were set to lose because Bucky Dent got lucky ... and became immortal.

I won't subscribe to 'the team was built wrong' or 'the team lacked will or character' in playoff ball. Even the BoSox collapse ... Matsui hit a ball that went six inches too far off Pedro and became a shoestring catch, or that game was a rout - for us.

Occam's cool, but can be overextended.

33 ChrisS   ~  May 13, 2009 10:43 am

Re: Injuries, did anyone hear the YES crew say that Toronto has 5 of their original starters on the DL?

Re: the YES Crew, I want to see video of Ken Singleton when he mentioned AJ's previous no-hitter to start the 4th only to see AJ lose his current one completely on the very first pitch after the highlight.

Old team, no real minor league depth, win now! Worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Toby Hall is a FA after the season, he's only 34. Can't wait for the 5 year/$85 million dollar contract to Matt Holliday. Christ, the players on the FA lists are uninspiring. Sigh.

34 RagingTartabull   ~  May 13, 2009 10:47 am

Things could be worse, our lineup could be the '01 Padres that got no-hit twice. Once by AJ, and once by Bud Freakin' Smith.

35 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 10:55 am


The last five years (let's stick to that time frame) they either haven't made the playoffs or lost in the first round every time. In every other sport the explanation is simple and the same: Age.

That's the pattern we're dealing with. The same thing that's plagued the team during the season is the same reason they've gotten booted from the playoffs.

In science the simplest explanation for the most data wins. Here I've offered the simplest explanation for the most data. I await a better one.

If any one wants to do religion, go ahead. Just don't assume you're getting any closer to the truth.

Now, sure, we could discuss what the Yankees could have done differently. And sure, transitioning to a younger roster is very difficult while still trying to win. But they've had five off-seasons to get it right and they've only been sliding backwards even while spending more than $1 billion dollars. No other team has that advantage.

Christ, the players on the FA lists are uninspiring.

Except that's the problem that got them into this mess. Free agents as role players - sure. But Stick's Yankees won by developing superstar players at the most important positions. Cashman's Yankees haven't developed one in twelve years.

36 Rich   ~  May 13, 2009 11:05 am

[22] AJ is being paid to be a #2, but he's not pitching like one. His ERA+ is 88. That stinks.

I agree about Jeter.

37 Raf   ~  May 13, 2009 11:09 am

That’s the pattern we’re dealing with. The same thing that’s plagued the team during the season is the same reason they’ve gotten booted from the playoffs.

Nope. They didn't get bounced in the first round from 2005-07 because they were too old. They didn't blow the 2004 ALCS because they were too old.

Sorry, a 162 game season is a truer indication of talent than a postseason tournament.

38 williamnyy23   ~  May 13, 2009 11:10 am

[32] Don't be a fool...Age is the answer. Championship teams never have veterans and W.S. winners are never older than 30 years. In fact, I think Cashman should replace each Yankee with his youngest offspring. Then, by the magic of Science!, the wins will start rolling in.

Meanwhile, in the real world, you are right. Injuries are a fact of life in baseball and the Yankees have enough talent to overcome them. If the Red Sox can do it, so can the Yankees.

39 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 11:24 am

Yeah, injuries every year to the same players are a "fact of life".
I know my biology and you're no biologist.

If the Red Sox can do it, so can the Yankees.

Funny, but the Sox have what some call "depth". The Yankees could learn something.

@ 37

Whenever someone starts a response with "Nope" I know they have bothered to actually think. In the 2005 -2007 playoffs, they didn't hit after a long season. Old players don't produce. And that problem has now become even more obvious in the last 14 months.

I've explained the last five years. You've explained nothing. I won't hold my breath waiting for a better explanation.

40 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 11:26 am

@ 36

Yeah, he has nothing to apologize for. I look forward to four and a half more years of him producing ever other start. That's if he stays healthy.

41 ChrisS   ~  May 13, 2009 11:27 am

If the Red Sox can do it, so can the Yankees.

I'm won't be holding my breath.

Hopefully all of the senior citizens (like me, in their mid-30s) on the team got out of bed gingerly like I do, to avoid muscle pulls and sprains.

Go, CC.

42 Raf   ~  May 13, 2009 11:29 am

I’ve explained the last five years.

No you haven't, unless it's buried in one of your rants somewhere...

43 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 11:30 am

@ 42

Still waiting for a better explanation...

44 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 11:35 am

Another reason I know I'm right: When the Yankees have previously started slow, like Will pointed out, the knowledgeable fans here always chalked it up to age and injuries. We were always using the logic: Once they get healthy then they'll be really good. And the results mostly fooled us until October. Last year didn't. Now this year is the exact same pattern only worse.

45 Raf   ~  May 13, 2009 11:37 am

Last year didn’t.

Because they didn't get healthy...

46 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 11:41 am

Because they didn’t get healthy...

Using my amazing powers of observation and deduction, this year will be the same.

Now tell me how I know that.

47 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 11:45 am

Bum, you're asserting an explanation and denying the retorts. That isn't debating. Though by now I, and I suspect the others, will yield the field because reiteration isn't discussion.

For the short-term record, I think Raf and William have given variants of my own replies. The last 5 years have four playoff teams and one miss when we went with the kid pitchers, lost Posada, and CF became a black hole AND Tampa Bay emerged wonderfully, after years in the wilderness (years NY fans will not tolerate). Instead of feeling lucky and even spoiled to be so steadily competitive (and rich) a too-large segment of the fanbase get outraged and furious, as if budget ought to automatically equal WS or even short series win.

You claim to be a scientist. And are tarring those dissenting from your views (politely, I think) as espousing religion, somehow. This is just rhetoric. Consider, as a scientist, Raf's comment about 162 games being a better measure of general quality than a 5 game series. Take that 162 games over 5 (or ten) years. Be a scientist about it. Check how many teams have been so non-stop competitive, Make a bar graph.

Red Sox depth? Who is at first with Youk down? You want him? You want their C? Their back-up C? Their DH this year? Their back-up DH? Bullpen and a good manager, it looks to me. And some luck.

Actually, I think the AL East is amazing, and brutal: four ballclubs and a vg offense in Camden Yards.

48 Raf   ~  May 13, 2009 11:48 am

But Stick’s Yankees won by developing superstar players at the most important positions

They also won by using guys they picked up in the international market, free agency, and salary relief trades...

49 jonnystrongleg   ~  May 13, 2009 11:52 am

bum rush and jim dean have an awful lot in common in terms of baseball philosophy and posting style.

50 Rich   ~  May 13, 2009 11:54 am

[47] Actually, I think the AL East is amazing, and brutal: four ballclubs and a vg offense in Camden Yards.

In contrast to the lack of competition in the '90s, which is not to say that Stick and Buck didn't do a superior job of building and developing that talent.

51 Raf   ~  May 13, 2009 12:01 pm

[50] I dunno about that. In the two division format, you had the Jays & Sox, with the O's, Brewers, & Tigers on the periphery. When they went to 3 divisions, there was the Yanks, Sox & O's.

Then again, the Yanks stepped forward in 93 and we all know what happened in '94.

52 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:01 pm

@ 47

Sorry, I have very little patience for things that can't be measured. And I've found a lot of talk here about attitude, and coming to play, and preparation. We might as well be arguing about religion.

How many other teams have spent $1 Billion over five years? So it's going to be an off comparison. I agree with the 162 games as the best indicator. But that doesn't invalidate the playoffs and call it luck. If anything, the playoffs of 2005-2007 were a lagging indicator. Rather than being an anomaly, 2008 is when the chickens finally came home to roost over the larger sample. And 2009 was going to be more of the same since the moves in the off-season only kept them standing still. Now we're seeing exactly that. It's an 89 win team if everyone was healthy. And that assumption was the deadly one - just like 2008.

So five years in the making we get a team that will struggle to win 85 games. The proof is in the toaster. And I'm still waiting for a better explanation.

53 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 12:12 pm

So you know, Bum Rush, (I'll use full name, to doge hint of an unintended insult!): Dodgers, BoSox, Toronto (!), Mets, Cubs, Phillies (those spry WS champs!) are all older than Yankees. So are the Astros, but we won't go there.

Tampa Bay is .3 of a year younger.


Go make charts.

54 randym77   ~  May 13, 2009 12:16 pm

Robinson Cano was on the DL in 2006. Remember that really bad hamstring strain? He was out for about 6 weeks.

55 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:20 pm

@ 53

Great, you've discovered the problem with using an average as a numerical instrument. Now, the Yankees of course have guys on the roster who would never be there if everyone was healthy. And they've replaced much older players (compare Jorge and Molina vs. Cervelli and Cash; Gardner vs. Nady). What was the average at the beggingin gof the season, counting A-Rod? Then you have the problem that the Yankees are oldest at the most important positions, except CF. There's also the problem of the sucky, but young, bullpen.

In science, we use alternative explanations. I still have yet to see one here.

56 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:22 pm

@ 54

Yeah, I did. I was using the last three years (2007 - 2009) to highlight the injuries. I can accept that an injury for a 23 year old non-pitcher is fluky. But the same guys getting hurt year after year? That's no fluke.

57 randym77   ~  May 13, 2009 12:30 pm

I don't have the link right now, but a few years ago, one of the sabermetrical sites had an analysis of what makes for a winning team in the post-season (as opposed to the regular season). The short series mean luck plays a much larger role. They found having good hitters, for average or power, don't really help. All hitters go into slumps, and if that happens in the post season, you're screwed. While it will even out over the longer regular season.

They found three factors that correlated with post-season success.

1) Defense. Defense is less likely to slump than offense.

2) Power pitching. Power pitchers are less likely to have an off night than finesse guys.

3) A lights-out closer. Which I guess ties into the power pitching and defense elements.

The Yankees have certainly had the last. The first two, not so much.

In fact, I am really wondering if the Yankees preference for slugging over defense is the root of the problem. Torre liked to say "defense wins championships" - but he kept putting the likes of Ruben Sierra out there.

58 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:31 pm

@ 53

That's what's most sad about that list - it includes young players that are no where close to MLB-ready - and the Yankees are still 23rd.

By contrast, the Sox lost their young starting shortstop and the Jays lost their young pitchers.

59 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:33 pm

@ 57

Yup, and Sierra over Lofton!

I remember that study too.

I'd love to see a study about old teams in the playoffs. It's much easier to imagine a slump if you're worn down by the season.

60 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 12:40 pm

Hey, I just measured religion. It's pretty big, but not as big as it used to be. Go figure.

61 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:43 pm

@ 53

Do the math. The difference between Posada and Cervelli alone is 14 years. Divide that by the 25 players on the roster and that's .6. Add that to your average and now they're tied with "older" Toronto at 27th.

Now do the same for Nady, Molina, and Ransom vs. Gardner, Cash, and Pena. The result will be the oldest team in baseball, and by a wide margin.

62 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:43 pm

@ 60

Oh yeah? You can't tease me like that! How big?

63 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 12:44 pm

Boston is below us in D this season. They are killing both Lester and Beckett with their BABIP.

We signed two power pitchers, off-season. Anyone notice?

Bum R ... you're being slippery. Have a look at the 10 youngest teams. Have a look at the ten oldest. Consider the narrow gaps involved. a) you want one of the young teams? Pittsburgh, maybe? b) You see useless, going-nowhere, aged scrapheap clubs in the top ten, in age?

I'll say it one last time (I hope): going really young tends to mean less than 80 wins. There's some weird myth going around (credited to the Blue GM, I think) that young = winning. Look at his team.

You are swinging sloppily to 'Yanks got younger because of Po vs Cash, Gardner vs Nady' (you PREFER Cash? He's younger, dude. You want Gardner as 4th OF over Nady?) and not looking at the big picture, through the sport, of age vs competitiveness ... which was what this is all about. Cash is 32 this year, by the way.

I would have thought a self-proclaimed scientist would be able to go wide here. The real point is even teams like Toronto are older than us, and Tampa Bay isn't much younger. And if you are using the injury thing, how old you figure Toronto would be with the injured pitchers in there, instead of the kidlets?

And hey, our manger's young!

64 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 12:44 pm

manager, even

away in a manager

65 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:50 pm

@ 63

You're using biased numbers. And I never said go young at all costs (nor did Ricciardi).

Do the math. They started the season with the oldest team in baseball. It should have been no surprise when the injuries hit - just like last year.

Moreover, it's still the same guys getting hurt. Damon's next. Watch.

Worse, of course, is they didn't plan on they injuries as they should have. There's been enough evidence over the last five years that most, if not all, of their core was going to get hurt this year. The solution? Jose Molina, Brett Gardner, and Cody Ransom. All three suck and only one is under 30.

66 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 12:52 pm

[62] 345.6 meters.

Now I know what you're going to say next: Okay, you measured religion - what about emotions, tough guy? I have to admit, you have me there. We obviously can't measure emotions or any brain functions. It's quite clear our minds exist in another dimension that we can't access with current technology.

Oh you may poo-poo this idea, but some day, some day in the far, far, far distant future, I believe, - and sure, call it "faith" if you like - that some day it will be discovered by science that our brains actually exist in the physical world, and that the phenomenon that take place there - thoughts, emotions, heck even operation of the physical body (blasphemy!) - are a product of measurable electrical and chemical reactions.

67 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 12:55 pm

We obviously can’t measure emotions or any brain functions. It’s quite clear our minds exist in another dimension that we can’t access with current technology.


Still, tell me how that relates to building a baseball team again? Or how they play on any given day?

68 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 1:15 pm

[67] Wow, I laid it on as thick as I could yet still I get "the link" ... As Phil Rizzuto might have said had he had any sense of empiricism at all: Measurable Cow!

69 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 1:24 pm

@ 68

And yet, you're still dissembling. My arguments here are against things we can't measure for baseball arguments (given that this is a baseball site). Your beliefs about "attitude" are as relevant for baseball as my belief that Confession works and would help this team tremendously.

70 SteveAmerica   ~  May 13, 2009 2:08 pm

AJ Burnett is pretty far down on my list of things that are wrong with the Yankees in 2009.

71 randym77   ~  May 13, 2009 2:41 pm

Boston is below us in D this season. They are killing both Lester and Beckett with their BABIP.

We signed two power pitchers, off-season. Anyone notice?

We'll see how that plays out in the post-season. Assuming we get to the post-season.

72 ChrisS   ~  May 13, 2009 2:45 pm

[70] No, but in a few years, he'll be an expensive albatross that is injured and people will be saying that as soon as Matt Holliday heats up, and AJ and A-Rod are healthy, this team will be rocking.

73 SteveAmerica   ~  May 13, 2009 3:25 pm

[72] Perhaps. the fact of the matter is that the Yankees have been extremely unlucky with injuries, and haven't the organizational depth to do much about it. Let's see how the sox do with Youkilis and Pedroia out of the lineup.

74 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 3:35 pm

@ 73

Luck has nothing do with the injuries. Older players are more likely to get hurt. The Yankees have more than their fair share of older players (the worst in baseball in fact). Ergo, they have more than their fair share of injuries.

Agreed on the depth though.

75 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 3:42 pm

[69] How is that dissembling, exactly?

Anyway, you've made your point. Mental states = God, which is infinite. Therefore, closers shouldn't point to the sky after a save.

76 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 3:47 pm

@ 75



to put on a false appearance : conceal facts, intentions, or feelings under some pretense

I asked you:

"Still, tell me how that relates to building a baseball team again? Or how they play on any given day?"

Unless you're proposing using fMRI to decide who to stock a team with or who to play on a given day? Otherwise, "attitude" and other mental states has no place in a baseball discussion, unless you're quoting Yogi.

77 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 3:48 pm

By the way, you're still dissembling.

78 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 3:54 pm


1. The teams that win are older. The younger teams have no budgets, are young for that reason, and lose for years.

2. If VERY lucky, a younger team as an outlier, like Tampa Bay, can get maturing talent together at the same time and win. They will not be so young then, as the list shows.

3. Yankees skew older because they tend to pay for proven (allegedly, anyhow) talent. They do this because rebuilding young takes years AND because there is no guarantee to 'building from within'. LOTS of luck involved.

4. Ricciardi, on the edge of being fired till he backed into Gaston as a manager, is no guru. He was hired as Beane Lite and did very little good for the Jays (Wells' contract is massive, as was Ryan's). His comment about drugs and needing to be younger is the opposite of scientific, and that HAS to be obvious. (It intrigues me, though.)

5. Depth is good. Hard to come by, and keep happy on the bench. But yes, depth is good. We agree. Going into spring we thought we had it in the OF and we thought we had a deep bullpen, with many bullets in the chamber and even starting depth (Hughes, Kennedy) behind a top 5. Indeed, part of the knock on signing Burnett was he would block Hughes/Kennedy. There is at least a chance now that Hughes and Kennedy will never be #3 or better. No one to block.

6. Luck has a lot to do with injuries. If you are looking at it via 'science' or pseudo-science it seems you are trying to draw major conclusions from minute differentials in team age. The Jays' injuries, for example, are mostly their youngsters this year. Last year it was the older guys. The Angels are old AND young. Where's the science?

79 ChrisS   ~  May 13, 2009 4:07 pm

The Jays’ injuries, for example, are mostly their youngsters this year.

The injuries are to their pitchers' arms. Pitchers are at risk to injure their arms at almost anytime. That's not equivalent to having 5/9ths of a team's starting position players being >33 years old and expecting them to make it through a season as injury free as a younger positional team.

Average age is meaningless for a team because a couple of non-integral players (e.g., 35 year old journeyman relievers or 22 year old utility infielders) can skew the team's average.

80 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 4:47 pm

1. You're calling it binary where I've been calling it continuous.

2. Seems that was Stick's Yankees too. Except it wasn't about luck. Ideally, you'll have your best players, and at the most important positions, 23-29 years old at the same time. And of course, some veterans will fill out the roster. The 2005-2009 Yankees, however, are at their core an old team - the oldest in baseball, in fact.

3. The parenthetical refutes your own point. By the time "proven" talent reaches free agency, it's almost always past peak (unless PEDs are involved). All studies shows peak baseball numbers at age 26 to 28.

4. How is someone on the "edge" of being fired. He wasn't. And the results are finally paying off. He has a good young core with vets filling in where needed. His comment spoke to the heart of the current talent evaluation problems. Baseball players, and all sports stars really, perform at a certain level in their 20's then decline in their 30's - some faster than others. By their forties they're finished. The more players in the 30's a team has, the more the team will decline as they hold onto those players. PEDs helped us to forget all that.

5. There were plenty of good options on the market this winter. The problem is the GM didn't support his aging roster with the right backups. And that had everything to do with the left side of the infield and the catcher position. Instead he put his faith in a 33 year old journey man and a 34 year old back up catcher. How'd that work out again? There's also the problem with LF/DH - two guys who have both spent time on the DL in recent seasons. You have to assume one, or both, will get hurt not assume they won't. The Yankees are still short a bat. Instead, they carry Angel Berroa.

6. Some injuries - Wang, Jeter on his slide into 3rd. Hamstrings, quads, shoulders, and obliques are all age-related especially when they happen to a 37 year old catcher, a 34 year old catcher, a 35 year old leftfielder, and a 35 year old shortstop. The bum hip? An older player. The bum wrist? A past peak player now on the downslope (but signed for eight years!).

What's the last team to win a championship with a core 33-35 years old or older?

Going by BR's starting lineups:
The Phillies won with one position player that old (Pedro Feliz).
The 2007 Sox won with three that old (Varitek, Lowell, Manny), at least one of whom was likely using PEDs.
The Cards had two that old (Taguchi and Edmonds).
The White Sox had one that old (Everett).
The 2004 Sox had one that old (Mueller).
The Marlins had none.
The Angels had one (Salmon).

You have to go all the way back to 2001 to find the D'backs to find a team most similar to the current crop of Yankees. And yet, even then it took two starting pitchers who were among the best in baseball that year to win a championship.

Going back further:
The 2000 Yankees had two players that old (Brosius and O'Neill), 99 had two (O'Neill and.Chili), 98 had two (O'Neill and Strawberry), and 96 had three (Boggs, O'Neill, Duncan).
The 1997 Marlins had two (Bonilla and White).
The 1995 Braves had none.
The 1993 Jays had two (Molitor and Henderson) while the 1992 team had one (Winfield).
The 1991 Twins had one (Gladden).
The 1990 Reds had none.
The 1989 A's had one (Parker).

Summary: In the last twenty years, even encompassing the Steroids Era, exactly one team has won a championship with more than three position players older than 33. The Yankees started this season with five position players that old.

At a certain point, correlation comes so close to causation we might as well call it that. The 2008 team had five of their core that old. The 2007 team had seven that old. The 2006 team had three that old (but three more at 32 years old). And the 2005 team had seven that old.

Meanwhile, you're still knocking my argument, but you have yet to offer an alternative that explains the facts just as well.

81 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 13, 2009 5:37 pm

Bum Rush, I give you points for persistence, but not for logic. This, in especial, is actually funny:

"Hamstrings, quads, shoulders, and obliques are all age-related especially when they happen to a 37 year old catcher, a 34 year old catcher, a 35 year old leftfielder, and a 35 year old shortstop."

If you can't see the circularity in that, you need a good long look at your own sentence. So hamstrings are a marker of age when they happen to older players but they aren't when they happen to younger guys like Crawford? Got it.

I thoiught we had an agreement (naive of some of us?) that 162 games is a better measure than playoff series. So your dismal 5 year record cited involves 3 playoff teams, one 89 win in as close to a transition year as NY will ever allow, and who knows, as of May 13th.

Sorry, even a cursory look at media coverage in Toronto last year will show how close it was between sacking the manager and the GM, or both. Ricciardi is widely seen as having blown in on Beane coattails and done zip to substantiate. He does dress well.

My parenthetical can't refute my point - I am USING it to make a point about an unpredictable sport. Jeez, again. I am observing that talent is hard to call, and that applies - surely you'll agree - to 19 year old prospects, even more than to 29 year old first basemen widely coveted. Too long a contract? Yes. That was the market. Where would you have spent the money? Round about here the pleas to sign Tex were deafening.

Of COURSE you want your talent core aged 26-28, if it is a real talent core. I doubt anyone would argue this. Not me, anyhow. But finding and keeping that is luck as much as anything else. For every Tampa Bay (and before you point to them, consider how long they were dismal, and note they are sub-.500 right now) there are a lot more KCs and Pittsburghs and Seattles and Torontos. For every Zack Greinke (finally) there is a Bonderman, more highly touted, going nowhere.

As for backups. I did respond Bum Rush, you just like to glide past. Of course it would be nice to have seriously capable fill-ins who are happy playing 40 games a year at ss or C. I really and truly doubt Cashman or Girardi dissent from this brilliant illumination. Finding such a seriously capable player to ride a bench all season ain't easy. You get snarls of trade me, from May on. Look who is playing 1st base in Boston (I said this already), look who backs up Varitek. Look how frail their 3rd baseman is, post surgery. Is Boston run worse than us?

Be good enough, finally, to consider the weirdness of the AL East in your grand unified field theory of Bad Yankeedom. You see well-run teams in the Central? The West, asie from L.A. which gets to putter along in neutral and then roll because there is no competition? The East is brutal, leaves minute margin for error, and injuries, luck, pro or con ... these swing it.

I fear we are now boring the Banter, a mortal sin. I'll end my share of this.

82 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 5:44 pm

@ 81

And yet all that effort and no response to the meat of what I'm saying:

In the last twenty years, even encompassing the Steroids Era, exactly one team has won a championship with more than three position players older than 33. The Yankees started this season with five position players that old.

The Yankees were already at a disadvantage with their roster. Their bench killed all hope.

Sorry, but you can't argue this on facts or history. As constructed this team, this year, was going no where fast. Just like 2005 and 2006 and 2007 and 2008.

83 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 5:57 pm

[76] Again, how was I dissembling, exactly? What, precisely, was I concealing and when was it revealed so that you could ascertain it had been previously concealed? Maybe it would be easier for you to give a general answer. Was it a fact, intention or feeling that was concealed? Also: What was the pretense behind which it was concealed?

Finally, if it was a feeling that was concealed, how important is that to the discussion, given your disbelief in feelings affecting anything at all, ever?

84 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 6:05 pm

@ 83

I'm not going to play semantics.
But you still haven't answered my questions. I'm left to think you're just a Chicken Hawk.

Two references to Cheney today!

85 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 6:22 pm

[84] Semantics? Don't you agree the written word can and should result in clarity of thought and expression? The meaning of these words and their application to the discussion isn't "play". It is the very essence of the medium.

Now that we've established that the use of the word was inaccurate at best, the claim that I was "dissembling" reveals itself as more of a chicken hawk tactic (and I'll go along with your use of the term here so as not to, you know, play semantics) than anything I could come up with.

Your questions were answered approximately 24 hours ago.

86 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

Your questions were answered approximately 24 hours ago.

Actually no. They're in this thread if you care to find them and they were specifically directed at you.

87 The Hawk   ~  May 13, 2009 7:34 pm

[86] The answers are in the game thread from Tuesday ... if you dare to find them.

88 Bum Rush   ~  May 13, 2009 7:42 pm

Still dissembling....okay, I'm done with this thread. Tootles.

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