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Yankee Panky: The Tao of Pooh-vano

There was so much hype about Carl Pavano facing the Yankees. The tabloids ate it up, and Suzyn Waldman, as far back as the Texas series, said, “If there’s any justice, C.C. Sabathia will pitch against Carl Pavano in Cleveland.”

Sabathia and Pavano both pitched, but not against each other. Sabathia faced his No. 2 two years ago, Fausto Carmona, on Saturday, while Pavano squared off against Phil Hughes, which may have been a more intriguing matchup considering Pavano’s history with the Yankees and his five victories in May, and Hughes’ stellar outing in Texas and continued effort to stay in the rotation.

As I was listening to the game on the radio (another Sunday spent driving), I got to thinking about the myriad options the local editors and writers had for the game. Would Pavano be the lead? Would I make Phil Hughes’ mediocre start coupled by Chien-Ming Wang’s three scoreless innings of relief the lead, playing up the intrigue of Wang’s possible return to the rotation? Poor umpiring was a theme of the day. Where would that fit in? Are all these topics combined into one or do you do take one story as your base and go with the others as supplemental pieces?

I probably would have made Pavano the focus of the game story and made Hughes/Wang a featured supplement, tying in the early note that Andy Pettitte expects to be ready to start on Wednesday. How would you have presented Sunday’s game? Thinking of the broadest audience possible, how would you have set up your Yankees section as an editor? How would you have attacked the game if you were on-site? It’s two different thought processes. I’m curious to get your thoughts.

An examination of the eight local papers covering the Yankees revealed the following:

NY TIMES: Jack Curry had Pavano leading but alluded to the Hughes/Wang situation, melding everything into a tidy recap with analysis and historical context. Typical goods from Mr. Curry.

NEWSDAY: Three individual stories from Erik Boland, who’s now off the Jets beat and has replaced Kat O’Brien: Hughes/Wang leading, a Pavano piece tied with notes, and a short piece on Gardner’s failure to steal.

NY POST: As of this writing, only George King’s recap had been posted. Interesting to see that he focused on the bullpen, specifically Coke and David Robertson. (Had I been reporting, that would have been the angle I took with the game recap.)

NY DAILY NEWS: Mark Feinsand tied everything together, but it looked and read strangely like an AP wire story.

JOURNAL NEWS: No full game recap posted, but Pete Abe gives more in about 200 words on a blog than most other scribes do in 800.

STAR LEDGER: Marc Carig copied off Erik Boland’s paper in that he had individual stories on Gardner and Wang/Hughes, But he had a couple of other tidbits: 1) His recap was short and had additional bulletpointed notes. I thought this was an interesting format. It reminded me of an anchor calling highlights and then reading key notes off the scoreboard graphic. 2) He had a full feature on Phil Coke and his blaming the umpire’s call on the 3-2 pitch to Trevor Crowe. Check out the last paragraph. Looks like he copied off Pete Abe’s paper, too.

BERGEN RECORD: Only one story on the game from Pete Caldera, but boy does he know how to write a lead paragraph.

HARTFORD COURANT: Associated Press recap. Not much to say except this paper is an example of what’s happening in the industry. Dom Amore’s words are missed.

And this just in … on the “Inside Pitch” segment of the midnight ET edition of Baseball Tonight, Karl Ravech and Peter Gammons said the Yankees were the best team in baseball. This revelation comes hours after the ESPN ticker read “Pavano dominates Yankees” in the first half of its description of the game. I’m not sure what to make of this. I know Ravech, my fellow Ithaca College alum, is as good as it gets, but when Gammons agrees, I get concerned.

I’d say the best team is the team with the best record, and the team that’s playing most consistently on a daily basis. That team is being managed by Joe Torre.


1 PJ   ~  Jun 1, 2009 11:05 am

Hey Will! Welcome back!

One of the things I disliked immensely about yesterday's game against Pavano was Joe Girardi doing his best "Joe Torre" by pinch-hitting Posada during his "day off!" Instead of dicking around with that, he should have simply DH'd Jorge, who undoubtedly would have had a serious case of the "red ass" against Pavano, and rested a weary Matsui, with whom any feelings of resentment or revenge towards the "American Idle" are obviously lost in translation! Alas, I digress into a concept that actually could have helped the Yankees in that particular game. If two or three extra AB's are going to make that much of a difference with Po, then he's not at 100% as he says he is in the first place...

Another thing was Gardner either missing or ignoring a steal sign from Girardi. Perhaps if Joe jumped straight up Gardner's ass for allowing Damon to cut him off from making a catch earlier in the game, instead of "respecting the veteran and what he has to say about that," he may have taken to heart a potential game changing steal call, instead of being so afraid to fail or piss off a veteran, he's paralyzed into inactivity! Clearly to me anyway, the inmates are still running the asylum. If I were Gardner, I would kick Johnny Damon squarely in his "Idiot" high school girl's slow pitch softball league arm havin' ass the next time he cut me off on a ball I could easily get to you know, considering I'm the CF and the leader out there and all! That's another example of insubordination with respect to Girardi's specific instructions to Gardner playing in the field! I would argue without fear of contradiction that he is supposed to catch "everything he can get to" whenever he's playing CF, regardless of Johnny Damon's fictitious and egocentric "I got it-ness!"

I'm eerily reminded of an almost exactly similar situation in Yankee Lore with respect to a rookie giving way to an old and injured veteran back in 1951! How did that work out again? I thought so.

I'm just sayin'...

: )

2 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 1, 2009 11:08 am


Great title ... and a nice read to boot, Will!

I can just picture Carl mumbling "oh bother!"

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 1, 2009 11:13 am


While double-checking the "oh bother!" catchphrase, I came upon this LOL typo ...


4th paragraph:
The Dan Tyminski Band will appear on Thursday the opening day of the festival. Dan is the voice of George Clooney in the movie "Oh Bother, Where art Thou?" when Clooney sings the song "Man of Constant Sorrow".


(left to imagine George Clooney in a Winnie the Pooh outfit) :-)

4 ChrisS   ~  Jun 1, 2009 12:06 pm

Does anyone else find it ironic that Torre came to the Yankees when they were loaded with young talent and his magic managing skills made them the best team in baseball until the core group started to age and then he left for another team loaded with young talent and his magic managing skills are making them the best team in baseball (though a lot of the offense is coming from two guys playing well above their talent level)?

Maybe it's just me.

5 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 1, 2009 1:04 pm

Carl Pavano succeeding frightens me, and not just because its a sign of the apocalypse. I don't trust the decision makers on this team to begin with, and I think they would leap at the chance to "rectify" the worst acquisition in franchise history.

6 The Hawk   ~  Jun 1, 2009 1:39 pm

[4] I think it's better just to tip your hat to the guy.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 1, 2009 1:46 pm

Can we talk?

ESPN's lead article is on how big name FAs may have a lot of trouble signing 'good long tem deals'. The picture for the article is Matt Holliday.

1) Holliday (exluding this year) has a career ROAD OPS of .803.
2) His ROAD OPS+ in Oakland is 20 pts higher then his HOME OPS+ (so Oaklands stadium is not helping him)
3) Does seeing full time AL pitching this first year understate his 'real' value'?
4) The League average ROAD OPS is 30-40 pts lower then HOME OPS.

My feeling is, in YS, I think Matt can be counted on for a .825 OPS, and I think that's conservative. I believe he is an .850 OPS guy.

Do you think Melky is good for a .825 OPS?
Do you think Gardy is good for a .825 OPS?
Do you think AJax is good for a .825 OPS?
At the BEGINNING of this year, would you have been happy if JD posted an OPS of .825?
If we sign JD for 2 more years (I think 1 year is unreasonable to expect), will he average a .825 OPS over that 2 years?

I do believe, because of Coors, Holliday is overrated.
However, do you see an OFer in our future who is better?

We need at least 1 OFer next year, and maybe 2. The book is still out on Melky and Gardy. (I don't think anyone knows the story on Melkdud. It would surprise nobody if he turns out to be pretty good. It would surprise nobody if he turns out to suck. He's done both over 3 years).

Now.... I am assuming he could be had for a reasonable deal. Maybe 4/$56? Less to be a Yankee?

But what are the alternatives? For 2010, we simply can't count on JD, Melky, Swisher or Gardy to be above average OFers. Who else can we get? Crawford MAY be available (I think TB wil re-sign and then trade him), but he will cost us good players. Bay will sign with the Sox. Mannyless and Big-Poopi laden, they won't let Bay get away. They have tons of money to spend.

So... I ask...
1) What contract WOULD you give Holliday?
2) What are the alternatives?
(and if you say 'stay pat' with what we have, I will remind you of this on every Banter thread when everyone is bashing Cashman for our shitty OF...)

8 The Hawk   ~  Jun 1, 2009 1:47 pm

[7] I wouldn't base anything purely on OPS, that's for sure!

9 standuptriple   ~  Jun 1, 2009 2:12 pm

I couldn't understand not putting the runner in motion at any point during JoPo's AB. Of course he hit into the DP, but I was frustrated that they didn't run on Shoppach to prevent the twin-killer.

10 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 1, 2009 2:39 pm

[8] Well..... defensive metrics are pretty all-over-the-place, but I don't expect Holliday to be above average. What else would you look at? And again, everything is relative. Would you rather have Holliday over Melky..or Swisher... or dare I say....

11 Benjamin Kabak   ~  Jun 1, 2009 4:33 pm

Just curious: Isn't saying that Carig "copied" the other papers implying something more than what you might mean here, Will?

12 The Hawk   ~  Jun 1, 2009 4:35 pm

[10] Naw, I'm not a big believer in defensive metrics, you're right about them, I think. I'm just nitpicking I guess - I don't see OPS as legitimate summation stat for offense, that's all. I think you gotta look at everything, really, and stress different things based on the player's expected role.

I really think the jury's out on the OF situation till the end of the year. The primary question is does Cabrera keep up his quality play. I don't even think he needs to keep up this level, but needs to hit decently, get on base decently, and keep on getting big hits. He doesn't need to be the team's leading hitter, hahaha.

Secondary question is Austin Jackson: Does he see some serious ML playing time this season and how does he fare?

After that, you wonder about Nady, I'd like to see how he does as well. I'm guessing though, if Damon would take a one year contract, that that's what will (and should) happen, especially if Jackson isn't ready.

I'm on record as saying the Yanks don't really need OF sluggers. I'd like to see them get speed, if anything. That is what's really lacking on this team, a real burner or two. Gardner unfortunately is weak at the plate and uh, doesn't actually run when the team needs him to!

13 Will Weiss   ~  Jun 1, 2009 4:38 pm

[11] Yes. I realize it is a loaded statement, but it was written tongue-in-cheek.

It didn't faze me that there was information overlap. On the Newsday copying part, it was more of the aspect of the same stories being written. However, on Carig's piece on Phil Coke, his verbiage is very similar to Pete Abe's in his blog. It's probably a scary coincidence, but it's worth noting that the words are so similar that one can draw a conclusion that someone either stole an idea or copied. In that instance, if it was the case, I'd give the veteran the benefit of the doubt.

Overall, it was probably a weird coincidence.

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