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News of the Day – 8/31/09

Today’s news is powered by . . . musical vegetables (no, not Michael Bolton!):

Fans are now allowed to bring in one bag that cannot be larger than 16” x 16” x 8”, subject to inspection.

  • John Perrotto has the lowdown on what the Yanks might do in the off-season:

The Yankees would prefer to re-sign Johnny Damon to a one-year contract for 2010 and allow outfield prospect Austin Jackson a second year to develop at Triple-A, meanwhile pursuing such big-name free-agent outfielders as Matt Holliday and Jason Bay in the offseason.

Kennedy has been throwing 35-pitch bullpen sessions that include all four pitches. When he first got back on the mound, Kennedy focused on throwing the ball over the plate, right down the middle. For the past two weeks, he’s been working side-to-side, hitting the corners. He’s scheduled to throw another bullpen on Monday, then he’ll face live hitters in batting practice sessions on Wednesday and Saturday. Beyond that, there is surely a plan, but Kennedy doesn’t know it.

. . . Kennedy is not pitching in Puerto Rico this season. The Arizona Fall League replaced winter ball. He’ll pitch during the instructional season beginning at the end of September — is it a season, it’s more like spring training — then he’ll go to the Arizona Fall League to pitch through October and most of November. He was planning to pitch in Puerto Rico, but the timing of the Fall League works better. His doctors told the Yankees that pitching in the fall would probably be better for his arm than pitching in the winter.

A former president of Madison Square Garden says that it was his idea to create what became the Yankees-run YES Network, and on Friday he sued George Steinbrenner, the team’s principal owner, in Manhattan federal court for fraud and breach of contract. He is seeking at least $23 million in damages.

Bob Gutkowski, who as president of the MSG Network negotiated a 12-year, $493.5 million deal in 1988 with the Yankees and is the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that he had several meetings with Steinbrenner, starting in 1996, to discuss the idea of a Yankees network. He said he also made a presentation in 1998 to Steinbrenner and other Yankees executives that laid out how to build a regional sports network controlled by the team.

At one meeting in 1997, according to the lawsuit, Steinbrenner said he wanted to use the threat of starting a network to get $1 billion for a 10-year extension from MSG.

“At no point did Steinbrenner, regarded for his business acumen, conceive of creating a Yankees television network,” Gutkowski said in his papers. “The idea and plan was solely Mr. Gutkowski’s.” He added that Steinbrenner “knowingly and continuously misrepresented” an oral agreement that Gutkowski would run or be part of the network.

[My take: He’s suing NOW?  12 years later?]

The press box second- guessing was immediate. Why was Derek Jeter bunting in the second inning with runners on first and second, no outs and the Yankees leading, 2-0.

. . . The bunt was successful, and Johnny Damon lined a double to score two more and put the Yankees up four on the way to a 10-0 romp over the White Sox yesterday at Yankee Stadium.

“It was the right thing to do,” Jeter said. “You got a couple guys on base with nobody out, you move them over. You got a lot of different ways to score runs when guys are on second and third as opposed to first and second. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again.”

. . . Winning the MVP is not about winning a batting title, it’s about doing all the little things right and winning games. Jeter picked up three more hits and is batting .333. He’s doing everything he can so he will not be sitting at home this October.

“He doesn’t want that to happen ever again,” Nick Swisher said. “He’s stepped up his game. Being a guy who played against him and to finally be on his team and to see what he brings to the ballpark every day, he should be a great role model for young kids, and I know he’s a role model for a lot of us guys in here as well.”

Jeter could care less about winning the MVP.

“It’s not about winning the MVP, it’s about winning and getting that ring,” Swisher said. “I think we have the right attitude. I think we feel confident about where we stand and we just want to keep this rolling.”

  • Claudell Washington turns 55 today.  Washington was acquired in the middle of the ’86 season, but his best campaign was 1988, when he hit .308/.342/.442 with 15 steals, in nearly 500 PAs.  A statistical quirk: Washington hit 164 homers in his career, and had ten seasons of ten or more homers, but never hit more than 17 in a season.
  • Juan Bernhardt turns 56 today.  Bernhardt had a cup of java with the ’76 Yanks, before getting plucked by the Mariners in the expansion draft.
  • The man who gave up Roger Maris’ 61st homer in ’61, Tracy Stallard, turns 72 today.
  • On this date in 1966, 2B Bobby Richardson, 31, announces his retirement.
  • On this date in 1977, reliever Sparky Lyle records his 3rd win in three games, all won on late-inning homers by New York. Graig Nettles’ 2nd homer of the game gives New York a 5 – 4 win over Seattle.
  • On this date in 1995, Paul O’Neill homers in his first three at bats and drives home eight runs in leading the New Yorkers to an 11-6 win over California.
  • On this date in 1997, in front of a crowd of 55,707, Don Mattingly’s uniform number 23 is added to the list of retired numbers on the wall at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Rich   ~  Aug 31, 2009 9:26 am

[0] He's suing NOW? 12 years later?

The federal court will rely on NY law. The S of L on both contract and fraud actions is six years in NY.

Gutkowski received a consulting contract after 2004, so that is the relevant date.

I also question how much George will be able to offer in a deposition.

2 a.O   ~  Aug 31, 2009 9:28 am

Johnny is lobbying hard in the media for that new contract. From the Yanks' site:

"I think I bring a bit more of a presence than just a baseball player. I help the clubhouse feel. There are a lot of intangibles that all the teams I have played for have liked."

Seems like a big mistake to me. I would bet he'll never have another offensive season like this contract year, and his defense is pretty weak. As for his "intangibles," something tells me the clubhouse will be OK without them. Perhaps most importantly, I don't see why the Yankees would want to settle for a guy past his prime to play LF.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 31, 2009 9:49 am

What a Bogus lawsuit!!!!
Can he PROVE that the Boss didn't have an 'Idea'??
Hey... I thought of it too. Can I sue?
What made YES successful was not the 'idea', but the 1,245,093 other factors that go into a successful pursuit of this magnitude.

Bobby R. retired at 31? Wonder why. He was still better then Hoss.

Even at his age, my guess is (based on this year), JD could get decent 3 yr contract. I'd be happy to go year to year with him.... you can't lose on what amounts to a performance contract, but I think he wants to play for a while yet, and pile up some numbers. I have no doubt he loves where he is, and he knows that YSIII is the perfect park for him. Would the Yankees go 2/$26? It seems risky, but our 2010 OF is not in great shape.

"... meanwhile pursuing such big-name free-agent outfielders as Matt Holliday and Jason Bay in the offseason."
First off, they certainly would not want both. Second, Boston has a ton of money (they spent nothing {and got nothing} in 2009). Looking at their O, I simply can't imagine them letting Bay go. And both Bay and the Sox should know that Fenway park is perfect for a good power hitting RFer, and can stand a guy without much of a glove (ala Manny). My gut says 99.925% Bay is re-signed.

I would go after Holliday. Our INF, including C, is literally set for years. We can only upgrade the O via the OF. Mind you, Matt is not a stud, simply a solid, .850 OPS kinda guy. Not worth a fortune, but still desireable. I see him as a Matsui type. Not a star, but above average power and OPS, and an average glove. But unlike Matsui, he should be able to man the OF for a while.

With the current (and immediate future) Yankee roster, we are once again, the 'team most likely' to make the PS and WS. If not-studs like Holliday REALLY want to win, then we shouldn't have to overpay him to sign.

I would be interested to know at what price other Banterers would sigh him... considering the current economy.

4/$50m is less then Mats and JD got 4 years ago. Is that reasonable? Too high for our deflated economy? In a 'normal' economy, does he get $15m/yr? Will the baseball economy normalize in 2 more years? 4/$50 is like $9m, $11m, $14m, and $16m.

Bobby only got $5m, but that was a steal. I have to think that was an exception? Surely that can't set the bar. Dunn got $10... a very good deal. It's an interesting problem. Can you get all 4 years of a contract, all at 'todays' prices?

Waddayathink? 4/$50m for Holliday. Worth it? Does it get it done?

4 knuckles   ~  Aug 31, 2009 10:04 am

4/50 does not net you Holliday. He is garnering the reputation as a big-time second half player- the kind of guy that can help you surge through Aug/Sept and into the playoffs. I can't see him signing for less than 5/75.

5 Rich   ~  Aug 31, 2009 10:10 am

[3] Can he PROVE that the Boss didn’t have an ‘Idea’??

I would suspect that Gutkowski has memorandums, letters, proposals, diary entries, and perhaps even witnesses to conversations. The lawsuit will have to withstand a series of motions in order to get to trial, so the sufficiency of his claims will be repeatedly tested. As an aside, I will say in his defense that Gutkowski has the last competent that MSG has had, so I think he is a serious individual. Some sort of settlement is also possible.

I would not offer Damon more than one year because he will almost certainly have to be primarily a DH by 2011, as will Posada, and maybe Montero. Jeter and A-Rod may also need significant time there as well. That's too much of a logjam.

When the Yankees signed Teix, it was reported that the argument that Cash made to Hal in order to get him to exceed this year's budget is that they have money coming off the books following the 2009 season which could be allocated to sign Teix now. They failed to do that in 2004 when Beltran was available because Bernie had one more year, and it cost them. So he convinced Hal to learn from that lesson. If that's true, the money may not be available. Consequently, my guess is that they won't sign a big name FA OFer, especially if they win the WS.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 31, 2009 10:22 am


Why do I get a vision of Carlos Beltran' 2nd-half run with the Astros a few years ago.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 31, 2009 12:14 pm

[4] Holliday was an .850 OPS guy in Oakland, but he is scortching in St. Louis with a 1.100ish OPS! (Of course, J.Lugo has an .850 OPS on St. Louis!). So maybe he's really a .900 OPS guy (career .850ish OPS on the Road,< 8.33 this year)?

5/$75m? Well, certainly in a normal economy, but Dunn, a TRUE (non-Coors) career .900 OPS guy got 2/$20.

Frankly, Bay may be the hottest FA next year, and 5/$75 might look good for him. You may be right, but I think you are too high (no joke intended).

We have 4/$50m and 5/$75m for Holliday. Other bids?

8 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 31, 2009 12:32 pm

[7] I don't think the Yanks will make an offer, and I don't think they should - unless they can get him for Damon/Matsui money and years. But there's no way that will happen. Holliday will get quite a bit - no Dunn or Abreu or Burrell is he. He has a reputation as a good-to-very good defender. Whether that's deserved, or true, I don't know, but there it is in any case.

He's also, AFAIK, the only real "big bat/good defender" on the market, so again, I don't see his situation comparable to Dunn/Abreu/Bradley/Burrell/Ibanez at all.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 31, 2009 12:39 pm

I've been to about 15 games so far this season and have been able to bring in a bag about the size that is "now" allowed into the park. I realize so much has been written about "draconian Yankee Stadium" policies, but my experiences have been decidely different. I guess if the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

10 Yankster   ~  Aug 31, 2009 2:08 pm

[3] The reason to bid on Bay is just to make sure Boston pays full market price for his contract, not to actually get Bay. I'd argue the same is true for Holliday, wherever he ends up.

After paying a player less than they are worth to you, the next most important strategy is making sure your opponent pays full price for the players they do get. And you can be sure Bay/Boras will play right along with the Yankees in that negotiation. I wouldn't be surprised if the Yanks express interest from the outset just to really drive Bay's price up to what he's worth and then when it gets hot, walk away. Finally, looking sincere in offering Bay something is a great way to get a good deal from Damon.

I think there'll be plenty of misinformation from everyone involved. Fun to see how it goes!

11 monkeypants   ~  Aug 31, 2009 2:09 pm

[9] All your experience proves is that you were allowed into the stadium with a bag; it does not disprove the existence of a policy, draconian or otherwise (though it suggests that such a policy, if it existed, was laxly enforced).

I just attended a game a few days ago--my second--and showed up quite early to the game. Although there were only a handful of people in front of me, my entry came only after a noticeable delay, during which several old women (and they really were old) were directed by the gate security to leave the line and position the small canvass bags they were carrying inside the new "bag size check boxes" in order to prove that they were small enough. After several fans were sent through this same routine, and after I was compelled to empty my pockets--including my wallet--we were allowed to enter. In the meanwhile a relatively well-dressed man showed up in the next line over, with a briefcase and small carry-on bag. He was told that he could not enter with the bags, at which point he pulled out what looked like very fancy tickets and showed them to the guard (legends seats? press passes?). He immediately allowed to pass the gate.

These things I saw with my own eyes. I report them for others to interpret. I do now know for sure what policies the Yankees had in place before, with regards to carrying bags into the stadium, but the appearance of the bag size check boxes suggests either a) they had a policy of no bags allowed, but have since loosened it, or b) they had no policy before but are now enforcing a new one. I suspect a), given the scrutiny with which my pockets were checked, but again, I have little direct evidence.

12 Yankster   ~  Aug 31, 2009 2:29 pm

[7] Dunn got the $10 after a down year and depending on the stat (like eqa) it could have been the third consecutive decline year. His ops was .898 and doesn't adequately reflect his poor OBP. Ironically, Bay has an almost identical OBP now but a higher slugging. There are also far fewer power OF available in Bay's FA year. But he'll be two years older than Dunn was when he signed with the Nationals...

I'll go for 4/$68M (higher pay, fewer years)

13 Raf   ~  Aug 31, 2009 2:35 pm

All your experience proves is that you were allowed into the stadium with a bag; it does not disprove the existence of a policy, draconian or otherwise (though it suggests that such a policy, if it existed, was laxly enforced).

Yep. I don't even bother bringing a backpack to the game anymore. Too much of a hassle.

FWIW, opening day 2003, @ the skydome, I was able to check my overnight bag at the gate.

Of all the major and minor league games I've been to, since 2001, I've only come across a problem @ Yankee Stadium. I'll relay my experiences if I make it to Citi Field.

14 williamnyy23   ~  Aug 31, 2009 4:09 pm

[11] I thought I made it clear that I was relating MY experiences. I won't discount your experience, which I guess came on the heels of the codifcation of the new airport carryon style policy, but before there were bins you were allowed to bring a sensibly sized bag into the park. My guess is the new policy was put in place to take the determination out of the hands of the individual security guards.

Nonetheless, the continued depiction of Stadium rules as Draconian is entirely inaccurate, at least according to my many experiences. After 15 games, I have not been treated nor witnessed anyone else being treated severely or harshly.

I would also add that I have never had to do anything resembling empty my pockets and I don't have special tickets.

15 Start Spreading the News   ~  Aug 31, 2009 6:30 pm

[9] "I guess if the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

When you call other people's experience "legend", you are discounting their experience. Just because YOU don't experience these things doesn't mean that others don't experience them. I have had many an argument when I go to the Stadium with the Stadium security when I go straight from work and have to carry a small shoulder bag for my stuff. Many times I have had to spend $5 bucks for a bowling alley to hold my bag.

No doubt you will dismiss my experience as part of the "legend." Or you can take a different tact which is :"If so many people are getting annoyed by Stadium policies but I am not experiencing any of the issues, then are they all lying/exaggerating/thin-skinned (thus their tales are legend) or am I missing something here?"

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