"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Cooperstown Confidential: Embarrasment, Veras, and Mel Hall

It’s time to take the gloves off.

The Yankees should feel thoroughly humiliated after losing two of three games to the worst team in baseball. It is unfathomable that the Yankees could muster a mere seven runs in three games against the poorest pitching staff in the major leagues and arguably the worst bullpen that has ever been assembled in the history of the game.

If this atrocity of a series against the Nationals, who had a won a total of six road games prior to this week, had been an isolated development, I would have been willing to cast it aside as a blip on the screen. But it is not an isolated occurrence. When attached to a lackluster series against the Mets, another sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, an embarrassing 0-8 record against Boston, mediocre play against the Orioles, and another abominable April, it becomes a symptom of a larger disease.

So what exactly is wrong with the Yankees? Having followed them closely through their first 66 games, I’m not convinced that the real problem is a lack of talent. Oh sure, their bullpen and bench could use upgrading and the absence of overall depth remains a concern, but those are problems that can be fixed relatively quickly from within. I’m afraid that the Yankees’ malaise has roots in other areas, principally a low baseball IQ, a lack of toughness, and a general complacency that can happen when too many players have multi-year contracts and no fear of losing their status on the team.

A smart baseball team does not allow Jacoby Ellsbury to steal home plate with the bases loaded, especially moments after a veteran pitcher had been reminded to check the baserunner. A smart team does not forego an easy stolen base when the opposition tells you to take it, as the Nationals did in the second game of the series. A tough team does not repeatedly shrink with runners in scoring position, now a long-term problem that dates back to the beginning of the 2008 season. A tough team does not play like a collective group of basket cases when they face their archrivals, a team that remains the Yankees’ No. 1 barrier in trying to re-take the American League East. Finally, a hungry team does not continue to react to bad losses with a general shrug of the shoulders, instead of occasionally displaying some level of anger when the effort and execution are poor.

Yankee management needs to react to the Nationals series (and the generally poor play since the last Red Sox series) by making some kind of a change, even a small one. The players need to realize that there will be consequences for inexcusably poor play. Once and for all, it’s time to release Angel Berroa, who continues to occupy a valuable roster spot for no apparent reason. Maybe Brett Tomko should be designated for assignment in order to make room for the live-armed Mark Melancon. Perhaps a coach, maybe hitting instructor Kevin Long, should be fired, with Butch Wynegar promoted from Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

Maybe that is the way for the Yankees to send a message to their outdated on-field leadership. Perhaps that will convince Derek Jeter to finally express some anger during a postgame assessment of the team, or persuade Jorge Posada to stop selfishly obsessing about still being the catcher in 2011, or force Joe Girardi into finally losing his temper over another baserunning mistake. Something is going to have to change, or else the Yankees will be making another concession speech come October…


The Yankees did make one positive move this week when they cut bait with Jose Veras, who has been designated for assignment and could be headed toward a reunion with LaTroy Hawkins in Houston. (Yes, the Astros are interested in Veras and might be willing to give up something tangible in return.) Although it was clearly time for Veras to go, if only because his utter lack of control makes Kyle Farnsworth look like a marksman by comparison, I must admit to having mixed feelings about his departure. Still only 28, Veras has two legitimately frightful pitches in his flamethrower fastball and that vicious, serpentine slider. If his new team can retool his dreadful mechanics, or at least help him learn to sacrifice some power for accuracy within the strike zone, Veras might still be a serviceable late-inning reliever. Maybe the Astros, with their accompanying low expectations, would be just the place for that to happen…


In the early 1990s, Mel Hall was one of the few players that made the Yankees worth watching. As the organization mucked through an early 1990s decline, Hall brought clutch hitting, hustle, and some much-needed color to the pinstripes. Although Hall had his limitations—he never walked much and couldn’t throw worth a damn—he hammered right-handed pitching, always ran the bases hard, and never shied from hitting with runners in scoring position. He could also provide some sideshow entertainment, as he once did when he brought his pet cougar into the Yankee clubhouse!

Unfortunately, Hall took a wrong turn when some initial rookie “hazing” of a young Bernie Williams evolved into mean-spirited tormenting of a sensitive teammate. And then, after his playing days, Hall fell off the moral track completely when he engaged in a reprehensible sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl, which resulted in this week’s prison sentence of 45 years, with eligibility for parole in 22 years. In other words, Hall will remain in prison until he is at least 70, and possibly until he is 93. Assuming that he did the crimes, and the evidence indicates that he did, he deserves every day of that sentence.

At one time, Mel Hall was one of my favorite Yankees. Now I just wish he had played for somebody else.

Bruce Markusen writes “Cooperstown Confidential” for The Hardball Times.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Bruce Markusen

Tags:  History  Jose Veras  Mel Hall  Nationals

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1 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 12:19 pm

Just to be clear, I did not ghost write this entry for Bruce.

2 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 12:33 pm

Maybe the Astros, with their accompanying low expectations, would be just the place for that to happen…

After Hawkins' resurgence, I'm not surprised the 'Stros would think that they could strike gold again with Veras.

3 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 19, 2009 12:35 pm

Entitlement and complacency...ah, yes...familiar themes from recent Yankees history. I agree with Bruce that something needs to be done to stir things up. My own thought is that BOTH coaches should be replaced. But, ultimately, the culture of the team has to change from the self-satisfied cool of "the core" to the hungry edge of a younger, more physically talented roster. And that leads back to Cashman, who mouths the usual cliches about building from within, but has yet to realize that making minor patches and additions to a creaky, mediocre boat doesn't stop the ship from sinking. Same old same old doesn't cut it. The outfield defense is bad, the team speed is non-existent, and the old line catcher still refuses to pay any mind to scouting reports (BTW, it's not all Posada's fault...what's Eiland doing anyway?), and the bullpen is beset by injury and inconsistency.

4 randym77   ~  Jun 19, 2009 12:36 pm

Remember when we were so excited about Kevin Long? He was considered very successful down in Columbus. The guy responsible for making Cano into the hitter he is.

5 Bum Rush   ~  Jun 19, 2009 12:51 pm

Where do I find the humiliated stat? And how does it correlate with a team's ultimate performance?

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:22 pm

[5] If anything losing 2 of 3 at home to a team that came in with 6 road wins through mid-June should create a humiliation stat.

I haven't jumped on the "A-Rod just struck out, LETS FIRE GIRARDI!!" bandwagon this year...I think it's an exercise in futility. At the end of the day the players have to play, and with the roster the Yankees have they shouldn't have to have their manager "motivate" them.

This series was about as embarassing as a June series at home can be, and when you sandwich it with the Sox sweep around a very lucky Mets series win....that ain't good. I'm not ready to freak out or anything, the next two series are very winnable, but then again so was this one.

7 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:26 pm

and the Yankees are 6-1 against the Orioles after those back-to-back debacles in the first two games of the season, I don't know if thats "mediocre"

8 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:33 pm

From Lohud:
"Scoring change: Major League Baseball has announced a scoring change that takes a double away from Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia and instead charges Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher with an error. In the June 10 game, which the Red Sox won 6-5, Swisher chased Pedroia's fly ball toward the short wall behind the Pesky Pole in right field but pulled up and the ball bounced once off the warning track and into the stands. It was ruled a ground-rule double."

I can't remember... was that Wang's game? Well... someone saved a litte ERA. And it nullifies a few "what ifs" that flew around the Banter that day.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:36 pm

[4] Long may be a very good hitting coach. Eiland may be a very good pitching coach. The question is are they right now. Also, why is it that this Yankee staff is comprised of very little major league experience (aside from Pena). What's more, most of the coaches were nondescript players (which is being kind). I wonder if guys like that can get through to talented and veteran players. Afterall, if you are Joba, why would you listen to Eiland?

Furthermore, why is it that this entire staff has very little experience. The Yankees are a billion dollar entity. They should not have key staff members completely devoid of big league experience.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:46 pm

[8] Yes, it was Wang's game.

11 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:49 pm

[9] Non-descript players usually make the best managers, they spent most of their careers sitting on the bench and observing and they realize that there is more to the game than just natural ability.

Of the top managers in the game right now, only Torre and Piniella had anything resembling a great career. LaRussa and Francona were nothing special, Guillen was OK but probably would never sniff the majors today.

Leo Mazzone was nothing as a player, yet he never seemed to have trouble reaching scrap heap guys and Hall of Famers alike.

Leo Durocher is maybe the greatest manager of all time and all he ever was as a player was a New Deal-era David Eckstein. Casey Stengel's proudest moment as a player was hiding a canary under his cap.

12 rbj   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:50 pm

[1] Heh.

Aside from that, I got nothing.

13 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:51 pm

If the coaching staff is inadequate on their own merrits, then changes should be made. But will firing a coach, or even a manager, get Cano to stay awake in the field? Will it get Melky and Swish to run the bases batter? Get guys to bust out of the box, so we don't lose an extra base on the occasional outfield bobble? Will it get Cano and Melky to stop swinging at pitches out of the zone? Get guys to hit the ball the other way in critical situations (as opposed to the horrid ARod-Groundzilla attempts to pull outside pitches)?

I don't know what 'rights' the Yankees have over a players time. Can they mandate more practices? Drills? Viewing of videos? Can more time be spent actually working on the PLAYERS skills, as opposed to just scaprgoating the coaches because we can't effect the players?

14 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:52 pm

[10] Score 1 for William, a demerit for MP.

15 tommyl   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:55 pm

[9] Seriously, we have a bad week and we're calling for the heads of two coaches? The Yankees are currently second in the AL with 5.56 runs per game, Boston is at 5.36 in third. Anyone calling for the head of the Sox hitting coach?

As for Eiland, I can't really blame him for Wang, Pettitte is old (and was only so so last year), Burnett is pitching like well, AJ Burnett (which is maddeningly inconsistent) and Sabathia is an ace. Joba is in his first full year starting and yeah, he walks some guys and is inefficient. He's also 23 and has a 3.89 ERA. Give me the list of ace pitchers who started off that well.

Guys, we had a bad week, we're all of 3 games out of first in the division and a game up in the wildcard standings. Maybe back off the ledge and let the team play a bit?

16 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:59 pm

What’s more, most of the coaches were nondescript players (which is being kind). I wonder if guys like that can get through to talented and veteran players.

Walt Hriniak, Charley Lau, Leo Mazzone, etc, etc, seemed to do okay...

17 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 1:59 pm

[11] But, buys like LaRussa and Francona did not become successful until after they gained experience. Often, these non descript guys wind up getting fired from their first or even second job before it clicks in. In other words, they don't succeed until they have experience.

The Yankees should be able to bring in guys who don't need on the job training...that's one of the luxuries of being a big market team.

As for Durocher, he only won 3 pennants in 26 years.

Finally, you are bing way too unkind to Stengel's playing career. In almost 5,000 PAs he had an OPS+ of 119. He also hit 2 HRs with a 1.479 OPS in the 1923 World Series. I'd say that is more impressive than hiding a canary in one's hat.

18 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:05 pm

[13] Cano's defense has been very good this season, so I am not sure why you singled him out. Having said that, if Cano is sleeping on the field, then yes, the coaching staff needs to be held responsible. The same is true for all those things. For example, if Girardi had called Swisher out for his poor baserunning in the Boston series, maybe it wouldn't have happened again yesterday?

If coaches really don't influence all of these things, then they are meaningless anyway. In that case, what's the problem with simply firing them to send a message? Either way, you just can't allow this team to underpeform.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:10 pm

[15] It's not just a bad week...it's an absolutely awful week. Besides, it's not like Long and Eiland (and I am really talking about Eiland more than Long, although I think it is Girardi that is the problem) just got here...in almost 1.5 seasons, this Yankee team has yet to play conistently well over an extended period of time. Just because "it's early" doesn't mean these last 10 days should be acceptable. That was the line of thinking last year and look where it got the Yankees. Aside from the September surge when they were eliminated, this was close to a .500 team all season.

20 monkeypants   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:11 pm


...Hall brought clutch hitting, hustle, and some much-needed color to the pinstripes. Although Hall had his limitations—he never walked much and couldn’t throw worth a damn—he hammered right-handed pitching, always ran the bases hard, and never shied from hitting with runners in scoring position.

well, maybe not always.


I think I remember that game, and that s-l-o-w HR trot.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:15 pm

[16] Again, those guys paid their dues before gaining their eventual accolades. Eiland and Long may need to do the same thing before they have honed their coaching philosophy and acquired a level of stature that most players can respect.

22 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:18 pm

[0] Also, I hate to point it out, but Embarrassment is spelled wrong in the title. I always have trouble with that word too, but I've typed it so much these past 10 games, that it has finally stuck.

23 yagottagotomo1   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:43 pm

Here's the problem- three weeks ago, when the Yankees were coming back every day, everyone was talking about how this team was tougher and hungrier than those in the past, that the core had changed and brought a new attitude. So did the team suddenly become less tough? Teams slump, even tough teams.

24 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:48 pm

Welcome, yagottagotomo1!

25 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:49 pm

[20] I wonder what the people quoted in the piece think about the game now, some 19 years later?

26 yagottagotomo1   ~  Jun 19, 2009 2:52 pm

Hey, Raf. Glad to be here.

27 Joel   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:10 pm

Cashman is in charge. So Girardi and the staff get this year barring something crazy happening.

But let's face it, this team needs a strong dose of Lou Pinella...

28 The Hawk   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:11 pm

[15] How many runs a game they average does not tell even close to the whole story. Averages are terrible indicators sometimes, really. So they score 15 against the Mets in one game then 7 total against the Nats in the next three ... I think that's an average of around 5 1/2 runs a game. Godawful. It's when you score that's important. Piling on against one team then coming up short against another sometimes makes for a decent average but bad overall performance.

29 The Hawk   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:14 pm

[23] Things change ...

But this is the second time they've gone into a swoon post-Red Sox sweep. When things were going well, it seemed like maybe they'd put this shoddy play behind them, but there seems to be a pattern developing.

And tough or not, the Yankees may not slump to the tune of losing 2 of 3 at home to the worst team in baseball. Especially without the excuse of a Yankee pitching meltdown.

30 The Hawk   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:15 pm

[27] Re: Piniella, I tend to agree.

31 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:21 pm

[15] Terrible over 4 games, maybe. But over 66 games? No matter which way you cut it, averaging 5.56 runs a game, 2nd to the Rays in the AL, says that the hitting isn't much of a problem.

Pitching (5.05), OTOH, is...

32 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:27 pm

[18] This season has been great. But we know Cano's fielding is like Melky's bat. It's always a guess and can go from great to asleep in a blink. But yes, this year, so far so good.

I do agree that Girardi needs to kick ass more... although we don't know what he does in the privacy of the clubhouse, But yagottagotomo if the coaches can be held responsible for the player's performance. Do you think they have never mentioned to Melky that swinging at balls over his head is not a wondeful idea? Or taking a 3-1 pitch when a baserunner is desparately needed can be a good thing?

To some extent, you can lead a horse to water, but once he has a bat in his hand, or is on the basepaths, the HORSE needs to put his teachings into practice. Maybe our coaches aren't that good... I can't really know. But the general idea is you can't fire a 6/$30 player, or a dum-dum CFer when you don't have a better replacement, so you fire a coach instead because... ya know... ya gotta do something.

I don't think that works.

What I want to see is the team spending more hours working together.
Even more hours playing together. When a player fails, he needs not only to know... but to FEEL that he is letting down his teammates and friends.

If the last 6 years have proved anything, it's that talent can get you 90% there, but there are other factors is putting it all together. As Bruce says, we don't lack the talent. But we are lacking something.

33 The Hawk   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:34 pm

[31] The point is, avg runs per game doesn't tell the whole story. I used that stretch as an easy to digest small sample.

34 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:36 pm

people make Piniella out to be this cure-all anytime the Yankees look like they're dragging.

I'm not going to say he isn't a very good manager. He's been successful everywhere he's been (even Tampa...to an extent) but he's presided over some stunning displays of underachievement in his career.

35 Statler   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:37 pm

So, I don't have a lot of credibility as a commenter here, but I thought I'd add my thoughts. As fans, we tend to extrapolate in ways that aren't really merited by the situation. I'm humiliated and angered by the recent performance of the Yankees. The idea that firing someone will solve that problem seems wrong-headed to me.

Instead, I think there has to be a team meeting where they frankly discuss the problems with the team, outside of the media spotlight, with video evidence. People need to see what they're doing wrong and make an effort to correct it without singling anyone out for blame. Because, honestly, there's no goat here (okay, maybe Swisher). Instead, it's a group of people failing to live up to their potential. The discussion needs to be framed that way, rather than "y'all suck worse that Mel Hall's teenage girlfriend."

Too soon?

Too soon.

36 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 3:50 pm

The point is, avg runs per game doesn’t tell the whole story. I used that stretch as an easy to digest small sample.

But that's not what the poster in [15] was arguing. He's showing that overall the offense hasn't been the problem. That may be the case here and there, but overall, it hasn't been a problem.

37 PJ   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:00 pm

[0] Well said, Bruce! I couldn’t have said that better myself! However, you are much more patient than I...

It's about time we took these overpaid divas to task for what they've been now for years!

38 The Hawk   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:02 pm

[36] I don't know what to tell ya, but citing avg runs per game to say the offense isn't the problem doesn't tell the whole story, not all the time and not in the case of this team. No-one said "hey the offense doesn't average enough run" ... The offense is part of the problem, even though they have a nice stat there.

[35] That's fine by me. I don't care how they do it, they just need to do something whereby they no longer do things like droop through and lose a series at home vs the Nationals.

39 tommyl   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:06 pm

[33] Over a 3 game sample, agreed, but I'm talking about 66 games. As for the toughness, this is the team currently leading the majors in both come from behind wins and walkoffs, and their record in 1 run games is still better than .500. Was playing that way against the Nationals atrocious? Hell yes. But that doesn't doom the team for the season, if the season ended today this team is in the playoffs. Firing a hitting coach when the team is second in its league in offense?! What is it you want Kevin Long to do? Tell them to not hit as much when they are piling it on but try harder when its close?

William, as for paying their dues, both Kevin Long and Eiland have spent years in the minor league system, working their way up slowly. How is that not paying their dues? Are we comparing them to say, Ron Guidry who got the job because of nepotism basically?

40 Joel   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:28 pm

[34] Talent-wise, this is a very good team. Not a great team, but very good. 90-95 wins. At least a wild-card team.

Does anybody here think that Girardi and his staff should be retained if this team falls short of the playoffs?

41 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:28 pm

[35] Uh, yeah, too soon. But welcome; you'll find that none of us have much credibility as commenters, but as Gods we are Devine >;) I agree with your central point that blaming the coaches for the players' problems is not the right move, and as others pointed out, given time they could blossom into top coaches of the game. But who knows if they haven't already had a meeting or two out of the media spotlight (how would we know?) and it still didn't work out? Teams go through slumps as someone else pointed out, and once we calm down and assess the damage, we'll find that we aren't as far off the map as we think. How could we expect Alex to rush back from experimental surgery on a part of his body that is pertinent to his swing (which has to be done once again to actually complete after the season) and put up and maintain an OPS over 1.whatever for the rest of the season? How can we expect Joba in his first full season to be the second coming of 1984-85 Dwight Gooden after having a shoulder injury? Is it We The Devine who may have to adjust our expectations for this team, given the components and the competition? Is this team underachieving, or did they get the recipe wrong?

Ah'ight, enough hyperbole. Someone definitely needs to get these guys some primal scream therapy, and fast; Joba had the right idea about that...

42 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:37 pm

[37] Me, I think Bruce might have just gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but essentially his point is on target >;)

43 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:45 pm

I don’t know what to tell ya, but citing avg runs per game to say the offense isn’t the problem doesn’t tell the whole story, not all the time and not in the case of this team.

Just like dropping 2 out of 3 games to the nationals doesn't tell the whole story about the 2009 Yankees.

But looking @ the team compared to the rest of the league, the offense is fine, the defense is ok, the pitching is among the worst in the league. So where do you begin to rectify the problems with this team?

As [39] showed again, the team is second in the league in offense. Even if you don't want to look at runs per game, any other metric you choose points to the Yanks having one of the better offenses in the AL;

2nd in Runs Scored
4th in AVG
3rd in OBP
1st in SLG
1st in OPS+
2nd in Total Bases

Overall, the offense isn't the problem.

44 Yankster   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:49 pm

[15] [35] Hear hear! It's impressive that the Red Sox probably wish they had the Yankees hitting problems.

And yes, too soon.

45 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 19, 2009 4:53 pm

[40] Maybe not, but then that's not to say he'll never be a good manager. Sweet Lou made his bones as a Yankee manager and then went on to be considered a great manager. Buck Showalter helped Stick put the organization back on a title track in the absence of Big George, who thoroughly crushed it to bits until he was banned for "life". Torre didn't become a a "great manager" until after he was handed Showalter's diorama, and managed to squeeze 4 WS titles out of them in 6 appearances, not to mention another 11 seasons in the playoffs after he took over. I'm guessing that good managers have good players in front of them and also good front offices backing them up, so the problem is either one, two or threefold, or a difference in philosophy between field core and office core and an unwillingness to adapt to new strategies; who's the problem then?

46 sonyahennystutu   ~  Jun 19, 2009 5:21 pm

What strikes me most is the contrast in tenor b/t Yanks fans (at least some who hang here) and Mets fans recently.

The Mets have been decimated by injury and regularly fielding teams which are somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 flat embarrassing, and yet many fans on the radio seem to feel like "hey you know what with what all we've been through we're only 3 games back so if we can just tread water until we get healthy then this season might turn out okay."

We're the same 3 games back and the sky is falling :D Not saying it shouldn't be falling necessarily, and I think a 2-8 road trip marked by 3-5 inning starter stints should result in Eiland's departure. But hey - we're only 3 games back :)

47 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 19, 2009 5:30 pm

[46] I agree with your main point, but the Mets fans looking at it the way they do is likely because they realize they don't have their best team on the field, yet they are only three back in an indeed very weak division. They do have the possibility of getting their best players back soon to look forward to. Meanwhile, the Yanks are playing with their best players, and as such should be doing much better, but aren't, and don't really have the margin for error the Mets have; what with Boston in front and Tampa Bay breathing down their backs. The view may be the same, but the direction they're going in is different.

48 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 5:35 pm

[39] Eiland and Long have spent "some" time in the minors (7 and 5 years, respectively), but they haven't had any major league experience. If I was GM, I would want to have more than one coach with significant major league experience, especially with a manager who is also starting out himself.

49 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 5:36 pm

[46] As [47] notes, there are no Red Sox and Rays in the NL East.

50 tommyl   ~  Jun 19, 2009 5:43 pm

[48] So they are supposed to get big league experience how...? Tony Pena used to be a manager, Rob Thompson has experience too. So what is your complaint again?

51 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:03 pm

[50] In another organization, not on the big stage. Also, Thompson had very little major league experience before joing the staff.

As if it isn't clear already, my complain is this coaching staff (sans Pena) as very little major league experience. You may not think experience matters to a coach, but I think it does.

52 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:04 pm

[51] Also, to clarify, if the Yankees want to promote a coach from within, that's fine. But, when you have a relatively new manager, it doesn't make sense to surround him so many guys who have as little experience as he does.

53 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:04 pm

[50] I think he's saying there's not enough to lean on between Pena and Rob Thomson (where was he a big league coach/manager?); what always bothered me was that Larry Bowa bolted faster than Mattingly, in part because Girardi didn't feel comfortable with his presence as a possible successor; or was it that Bowa felt cheated and wanted out? In any regard, Girardi wanted his own guys, who also had little if any experience beyond what Girardi gave them. Pena wasn't even his decision, and if it were I think he'd have been out as well. To me, it made Girardi look small and insecure, but my prevailing thought was that he would shake the team out of the complacency that appeared to develop near the end of Torre's run.

Long and Eiland do deserve a chance, based on their track records in the minors, but they also deserve better mentors, which would be tricky to pull off anywhere and especially here. I expect a manager would hire whomever he's comfortable with; the problem develops when the manager's view and the front office view digress and the FO hires the coaches for the manager...

54 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:10 pm

I thought Eiland was brought on board because of his experience with the young pitchers the Yanks were supposed to be transitioning?

55 Raf   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:20 pm

Meanwhile, looking @ Lee Sinins' work

RCAA (Runs Created Above Average)

1- TBR: 64
2- NYY: 55
3- BOS: 35

RSAA (Runs Saved Above Average)

1- SEA: 36
2- BOS: 29
3- DET: 24

NYY: -26 (good for 12th)

56 NickL   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:38 pm

I share the initial poster's feelings; his analysis? not so much........Look, we'd all love the Yanks to show "passion", "anger", etc, etc: because we feel helpless--because we ARE helpless. The nature of fanhood. Because we care too much, we accuse them of not caring enough. The accusations, imo, are entirely typical of any team which is perceived to be underachieving, and given that for the Yanks, underachieving=not making the World Series....

Bitching about strategy and roster management, on the other hand, I'm all for. The presence of Beroa drives me crazy. The fact that we don't have a backup who can play 3rd and hit a little drives me crazy. Girardi's overmanaging drives me crazy (and then he'll fail, as william points out, to make seemingly obvious moves). Most of all, the young pitchers are driving me crazy. But that's what they're gonna do...

57 The Hawk   ~  Jun 19, 2009 6:47 pm

[43] Again, on average the team may be good in all those spots, but they run hot and cold. When they've run cold, it's looked really bad to me. Earlier in the year, before their first hot streak, they stunk mainly because of pitching, now they are having problems getting runs in when they need them. That may not affect their total numbers, but the failures have been pretty blatant, and as I've said before cover the alpha and omega of bad play - not taking care of business vs The Nats and not doing diddly-squat against the Red Sox, not to mention their poor play vs the world champ Phillies and crosstown rivals the Mets.

58 Rich   ~  Jun 20, 2009 12:24 am

I echo what [1] and [3] said.

59 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Jun 20, 2009 3:15 am

I share the frustration of the past week+ of this season, and of this team; it has embodied the spirit of AJ Burnett ~ when it's good it's blinding and when it's bad it's just plain dumb.

As for the coaches, I don't really know what to say, the offensive stats, despite previous arguments, are not bad at all. Despite their RISP, the team has an unreal come from behind win record this year so no quarrel.

Having observed this 09 team, 2 things come to mind, under the theme "Freedom From Consequences"
1. There are no consequences for mental errors ~ the principal offender here, in my book, is Nick Swisher, he of the airmailed throws from right, and the sophomoric base-running (no disrepect to sophs). After the games he's tweeting about how great everything is, and who got cream pies and all that; if I may borrow a page from Vito Corleone, Swish, YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN, THAT"S WHAT YOU CAN SO!" ~ how does a guy whose dad played and was allowed access all his life have such a low baseball IQ?

How to remedy? Put him in the hole, let him think about it for a week.

2. The strike zone is a theory not a reality ~ now, I don't know if this is new park effect, jorge's flaws as a catcher exposed, Eiland, the GFC, whatever~ but it doesnt seem to be getting better, rather, it's worse. This one stat, BB, is the one real killer on this team ~ I would hope and expect that the considerable resources of the team were brought to resolve the underlying causes for the explosion in walks.

Both of these tie back to a common trait in underperforming organisations ~ freedom from consequences. I dont expect the player/leaders to police this as long as Jeter is the captain. WHO WILL? Will Girardi throw a bunch of bats into the shower? Will the entire coaching staff get sacked? Will Cash get the axe? Will they reduce ticket prices again and/or admit that the dimensions are different? Will someone take responsibility for their f*ck-ups, please.

By the way, we are 2 games out of first. Who says we're demanding fans. Have a nice day.

60 slim   ~  Jun 20, 2009 3:47 pm

A few weeks ago the Yanks were playing great. Clutch hitting, good starting pitching, even good defense. Remember that record-setting errorless streak? Nobody would have said they are inherently a stupid, unclutch team at that point.

There's no way to make a judgment on this team yet. It's not even the All-Star break yet.

(Although I think they'll be at least playoff bound once A-Rod gets back on track.)

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