"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Rainout III: Son of Rainout

This is going to be one of those years, isn’t it? Where instead of spring, it just rains for months and then gets hot. Ah well: tonight’s Yankees-Orioles game is a no-go due to the inclement weather, the Yanks’ third rainout already in this young season, and their second with the Orioles. We’ve got some doubleheaders to look forward to down the road.

Meanwhile, I’m still all out of sorts about Bud Selig’s new expanded-playoffs plan. And I’m not a purist – I like the Wild Card, but ten playoff teams? One third of all teams making it to the postseason? I think that’s too many. Now, we don’t have details yet, so I will try to (try, not necessarily succeed) keep an open mind…. but it seems like a money-grab to me, rather than something that would improve baseball for most fans. We’ll see what the actual plan is when all’s said and done.

Better news: Francisco Cervelli is ready to play in rehab games. There’s nothing like a Gustavo Molina to make you appreciate your regular backup catcher, eh? Thing is, as of now, Molina’s only played in one single solitary Yankees game. If the team can somehow make it through Cervelli’s broken foot while using Molina only once, I will be impressed and amused. And I’m guessing Russell Martin will be tired.

Speaking of Russell Martin, the other day Brian Cashman talked about him:

“He’s the toughest Yankee,” Cashman said. “He’s as tough as nails.”

Is Martin the toughest Yankee? In a clubhouse that includes Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, who each have five World Series rings, has Martin already soared to the top on the tough-guy meter? According to Cashman, he’s soared even higher.

“He’s Thurman Munson-tough,” Cashman said.

Look… I like Russell Martin a lot. He’s been fantastic. I think he was a very smart addition to the team, and I don’t doubt that he’s plenty tough. However: “Thurman Munson-tough”? No. No, no, no, no, no. Nope. Come on.

[Photo from Old New York]

Categories:  Baseball  Emma Span  Game Recap  News of the Day  Yankees

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1 The Hawk   ~  Apr 22, 2011 7:55 pm

MLB playoffs are the only reasonable ones of any major sport. It had to end.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 22, 2011 8:37 pm

Great photo. And curious but interesting quote from Cash. Again, the knock I've heard on Martin is that he'll fade in August. Be nice to get Cervelli back--where is our mascot?--to give Russell a regular breather.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 22, 2011 8:52 pm

Jesus, the Knicks suck.

4 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 22, 2011 9:23 pm

[2] You'd fade too if Joe Torre was running your ass into the ground ...

5 thelarmis   ~  Apr 22, 2011 9:53 pm

emma - not sure if you're title is in tribute to frank zappa. but if it is, that's all kindsa *awesome*!

ie. "return of the son of shut up 'n play yer guitar"

"music is the BEST!!!" - FZ

6 thelarmis   ~  Apr 22, 2011 9:53 pm

i am firmly against adding another wild card team to the playoffs...

7 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 22, 2011 9:56 pm

4) Yeah, I've heard that...

8 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:11 pm

[6] I guess I'm not too against it if it means that there would be a 1 game play in between the 2 wild card spots that would lead directly into a series against the team with the best record.

That way, the wild card "winner" whether 4 or 5, would go into the series against the 1 seed at a more significant disadvantage.

Hopefully, that might lend more weight to winning a division rather than settling for a wild card berth and make the regular season more exciting.

9 nyydreamer   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:16 pm

I'm against adding another wild card to the just long-enough post season - although Russell Martin has turned out to be a good addition to the team, he definitely isn't thurman munson tough....yet - though I don't live in ny I'm a diehard yankee fan (two tattoos) and I'm so sick of rain and cold weather in chicago - it'll probably be cold until june and then be stifling hot - but I guess we have plenty to be thankful for: no hurricanes, no major earthquakes, no tsunamis, and I can't remember when a tornado hit the city.

10 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:19 pm

I have no idea how anyone could look at the overwhelming mediocrity of the NBA and NHL playoffs and say "Baseball needs that!"

11 monkeypants   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:22 pm

[10] And think, in seasons with the historic and always classic World Baseball Classic, longer players could mean December Baseball. What could be better?

12 Bruce Markusen   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:24 pm

I know that Cashman is trying to pump up one of his players, but that statement is just ignorant. Munson played on two painfully bad knees, playing game after game when most guys would have cried to be put on the disabled list.

Did Cashman even see Munson play? Does he have any idea of what Munson went through behind the plate?

13 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:30 pm

[9-10] And yet, if it happens the way I described in [8] adding a 2nd wild card actually makes it *harder* for the wild card team to advance, something that has been problematic with the current implementation, where there isn't a real disincentive to coming in 2nd.

Again, anything that they do that increases the incentive to win your division is a good thing and makes for better, more meaningful baseball in September.

And if it's done right, with a 1 game playoff, then there's essentially *no* impact to the length of the season, so [11] is irrelevant.

Not that I trust Seligula to do the "good" or "right" or logical thing here ...

14 thelarmis   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:30 pm

[11] december baseball? would be soooo cool if the Yanks won the Serious on my birthday!!!

[don't worry, it's early in the month!]

[12] yeah, i was wondering if Cash was around much when Munson was playing. i've been looking for a cool baseball card frame to put a bunch of Thurman cards in. haven't found the perfect one yet... there's a fantastic Thurman card in the 2011 Topps set. i was pleasantly surprised when i got it in a pack a week or so ago!

btw, bruce - another excellent 'card corner' piece today. i always love you Banter posts and i always learn more about the history of the game from your wonderful writings. many thanks!!!

15 monkeypants   ~  Apr 22, 2011 10:43 pm

[13] A one game play in is an OK idea, but I don't think that it will significantly limit the chances of a WC team advancing. Sure, one WC team would be knocked out, but then you are effectively back to the current 4 team per league playoff. The only difference your system imposes is that the surviving WC would have to play the #1 seed regardless of which division the teams came from. But that could be achieved just as easily by changing the current seeding format.

Lastly, even if the WC team had to play the #1 seed, I don't see that as much of a disadvantage for the WC team, especially if the first "real" round of playoffs remains five games.

16 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 22, 2011 11:12 pm

[15] No, what it also does is impose an additional game upon the WC teams, while giving the higher seeded team a chance to rest in anticipation of the upcoming series.

The WC teams have to expend their highest available starter, while the seeded team gets another day of rest in case they need it.

If done right, which again, is something I have little faith in, this could be a telling drag upon any team unlucky enough to have to play through the WC game.

17 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 22, 2011 11:21 pm

Also, what would you rather face? A 5 game series, or a 1 game playoff just to reach a 5 game series? I assert that forcing the potential WC winner into a winner-take-all playoff has positive repercussionsto the competitiveness of both the post-season AND the regular season.

18 monkeypants   ~  Apr 22, 2011 11:31 pm

[16, 17] Of course I would rather not have to play the extra game, but that is a separate issue from whether an extra one-game round would make it more difficult for a WC team to advance over higher-seeded team. After the extra game is played, the odds that the surviving WC team advances beyond the next round will not be seriously affected, I think. It would depend on the timing of the series: it *is* possible that the team's #1 starter would be lost in the play-in round, but if that round follows immediately after the season then the WC team may not have the option of setting up their best starter for the one game playoff.

As for rest...I am not convinced that extra rest before the start of a playoff series is necessarily a good thing (it sure didn't help the Yankees last year).Now, it might allow the #1 seed more opportunity to set its rotation, that is true.

Anyway, I was not responding to

19 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 22, 2011 11:40 pm

As for rest…I am not convinced that extra rest before the start of a playoff series is necessarily a good thing (it sure didn’t help the Yankees last year).Now, it might allow the #1 seed more opportunity to set its rotation, that is true.

I dunno, there seems to me to be a sizeable, meaningful difference between a day of rest and 5. I have not conflated the two, you should try not to either ...

20 Shaun P.   ~  Apr 23, 2011 12:07 am

The extra two playoff teams are about one thing only:


If anything good comes out of it in terms of competitive play, making winning the divisions important again, etc - its a lucky break at best. It certainly won't be by design, no matter what Selig or anyone else says.

As for the Munson comparison, I'd like to think that Thurman Munson would have enjoyed it. Especially because Martin has caught all but 1 game so far. But what the heck do I know? Munson died before I was 2.

In any case, I don't see how it can be an insult, or tarnish Munson's memory, or go too far, or do anything bad. Munson is dead. The worst thing to happen to you after you are dead is to be forgotten. However off the mark any of us think the comparison is, it shows that Cashman - and us - haven't forgotten Munson. That's what counts, not how accurate the comparison is.

Damn fine complement too, for a guy who's played quite well for the Yanks so far.

21 thelarmis   ~  Apr 23, 2011 12:33 am

[20] awesome post, shaun...as always!

oh, and i know you're a hard rock/metal guy. i had the honor of meeting Robert Plant one week ago tonight! : )

22 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 23, 2011 1:04 am

[20] Agree with you on both counts.

After watching the Yankees and Rays plays disinterested baseball down the stretch last year, I'd happily accept another wild card team if it means teams will stop losing battles to win the war. I realize a second WC setup could be very unfair to the first WC (in the era, the AL Wild card has been about six games better than the 5th best team, while in the NL the margin has only been two games), but that doesn't bother me. After all, in the old setup, the first WC would be eliminated anyway.

On Munson, I am sure Cashman didn't mean to literally imply that Martin was as tough as Munson. Rather, he was using Munson as a reference because of the obvious connections. Of course, Martin's body has been banged up pretty good over the last couple of years, so the comparison might not be that far off...hopefully, its a complement that Martin proves worthy of.

23 thelarmis   ~  Apr 23, 2011 1:10 am

halos threatening the shit sox a bit in the late innings. but it's headed to the final frame and america's favorite underdogs are up by a run...

24 thelarmis   ~  Apr 23, 2011 1:35 am

papelbitch gets the save. but, of course... : /

25 Raf   ~  Apr 23, 2011 10:14 am

[22] It doesn't make sense to me to have the Yankees play the Red Sox in a one game playoff (or a playoff series) to see who gets to face the Twins.

26 MSM35   ~  Apr 23, 2011 3:35 pm

Bud Selig thinks too small. Baseball is terrible in April and in Sept. the NFL starts and baseball is an afterthought in most cities. This is really a bad business model. Forget this one game playoff nonsense and do what the other sports do with their playoffs.
Baseball records are dead. The steroid era killed them. The 162 game schedule is a dinosaur. Cut it back to 140 and start the playoffs Sept. 15. Have 8 teams in each league and seed the top two in each division and two wildcards. 1 plays 8 and so on. Give the higher seeded teams most of home games.
Playoff baseball is great and everyday. Football is once a week. Get smart and revive the game. It's dead and cold in Oct and god-forbid Nov. Hardly anyone watches the games unless their team is involved and even then seeing only a player's eyes because he has a muffler over his face is silly. Stop thinking only about the fortunes of one team. This would be a great show with 16 cities involved. August would also heat (sic) up with pennant races.

27 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 23, 2011 6:42 pm

[26] They will never cut back on the schedule because it would mean forfeiting too much money. It would be absurd to try and bolster the playoffs by cutting back on the regular season when the latter is what drives revenue. Let the NFL pander to ratings. With one game a week and a natural hook into gambling, it can afford to. Baseball is doing just fine. A tweak here or there is ok, but expanding to 16 playoff teams would make the baseball regular season a farce like all the other sports.

28 MSM35   ~  Apr 24, 2011 1:35 pm

Baseball is doing terribly in Cleveland, Tampa, Pittsburg, KC, Houston, Oakland, Toronto, Seattle and Miami. Actually, sharing revenue from extended playoffs would balance revenue.
It was said that the owners would never allow interleague play or the wildcard.
The season would eliminate half the teams and seed the rest. August would be alive with real races and the lesser teams have a chance in a short series to move on. The popularity of baseball in the East gives a false picture. The Dodgers do not do well anymore. The Orioles survive on NY and Bos. There is no honor in holding games that no one cares about. Most of the teams are out of it by July.
There is no ideology here. Baseball is entertainment. They are not above making their game more exciting in areas of the country where it is now dead.
As far as farces go, nothing is more popular than the NFL playoffs or the Final Four. Some people even watch the NHL or the NBA playoffs. It's time for new thinking.

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