"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: September 2011

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Bombers Welcome Tigers to Chocolate City

Verlander vs. C.C. Here we go.

You guys know the rules. Cursing is allowed but no bitching at each other.

Time to git it on.

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF

Never mind the pending Cy Young Award:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!


Play Ball!

Rays vs. Rangers Game Thread. Have at it, y’all.

Beat of the Day

‘Cause when I’m on the mic I like to speak freely.

Taster’s Cherce

An apple a day, the old saying goes. But I eat a carrot every day. Or almost every day. Don’t ask me why, but it’s been that way for years.

David Lebovitz has a good recipe for grated carrot salad.

Dig in.

Morning Art

“Excavation,” By Willem de Kooning (1950)

Color By Numbers: October Men

In the franchise’s 111-year history, the Yankees have made the post season in 50 seasons, including 27 championships, 40 pennants, and 46 division titles. The Bronx Bombers have also punched their ticket to the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 seasons. No wonder so many Yankees’ fans consider October baseball to be a birthright. However, surviving the 162-game marathon isn’t easy. Just ask the Boston Red Sox. So, in honor of the team’s prolific post season record, a breakdown of all 254 October games is provided below.

Yankees All-Time Post Season Record, by Opponent

W L T W% Series W Series  L Longest WStrk Longest LStrk
Chicago Cubs 8 0 1.000 2 0 8 0
San Diego Padres 4 0 1.000 1 0 4 0
Texas Rangers 11 5 0.688 3 1 10 3
Minnesota Twins 12 2 0.857 4 0 9 1
Atlanta Braves 8 2 0.800 2 0 8 2
Baltimore Orioles 4 1 0.800 1 0 3 1
New York Mets 4 1 0.800 1 0 2 1
Philadelphia Phillies 8 2 0.800 2 0 4 1
Oakland Athletics 9 4 0.692 3 0 3 2
Pittsburgh Pirates 7 4 0.636 1 1 4 2
Seattle Mariners 10 6 0.625 2 1 3 4
Cincinnati Reds 8 5 0.615 2 1 5 4
Brooklyn Dodgers 27 17 0.614 6 1 5 3
Milwaukee Brewers 3 2 0.600 1 0 2 2
Boston Red Sox 11 8 0.579 2 1 4 4
San Francisco Giants 4 3 0.571 1 0 1 1
New York Giants 19 16 1 0.543 4 2 4 8
St. Louis Cardinals 15 13 0.536 2 3 5 4
Kansas City Royals 9 8 0.529 3 1 3 3
Milwaukee Braves 7 7 0.500 1 1 3 3
Anaheim Angels 7 8 0.467 1 2 2 3
Cleveland Indians 7 8 0.467 1 2 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 10 12 0.455 2 2 6 4
Arizona D’backs 3 4 0.429 0 1 3 2
Florida Marlins 2 4 0.333 0 1 2 3
Detroit Tigers 1 3 0.250 0 1 1 3

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Yankees All-Time Post Season Record, by Series

W L T W% Game WStrk Game LStrk Series W Series   L Series WStrk Series LStrk
ALDS 39 27 0 0.591 6 (2x) 4 (2x) 10 6 4 3
ALCS 45 28 0 0.616 5 4 11 3 7 1
WS 134 90 1 0.596 14 8 27 13 8 2 (2x)
Total 218 145 1 0.599 12 (2x) 8 48 22 11 4

Source: Baseball-reference.com

World Series Record, By Game

W L T Pct
Game 1 24 16 0.600
Game 2 23 16 1 0.575
Game 3 26 14 0.650
Game 4 24 16 0.600
Game 5 18 12 0.600
Game 6 14 8 0.636
Game 7 5 7 0.417
Game 8 0 1 0.000

Source: Baseball-reference.com

American League Playoff Record, By Game

W L Pct W L Pct
Game 1 10 4 0.714 Game 1 10 6 0.625
Game 2 8 6 0.571 Game 2 10 6 0.625
Game 3 7 7 0.500 Game 3 11 5 0.688
Game 4 8 4 0.667 Game 4 5 7 0.417
Game 5 8 3 0.727 Game 5 3 3 0.500
Game 6 3 3 0.500
Game 7 1 1 0.500

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Total Post Season Record, By Game

W L T Pct
Game 1 44 26 0.629
Game 2 41 28 1 0.586
Game 3 44 26 0.629
Game 4 37 27 0.578
Game 5 29 18 0.617
Game 6 17 11 0.607
Game 7 6 8 0.429
Game 8 0 1 0.000

Source: Baseball-reference.com

  • The Diamondbacks, Marlins and Tigers are the only teams against whom the Yankees have not won a post season series.
  • The Cardinals are the only team to have won more World Series than they lost against the Yankees.
  • The Yankees are 11-3 in “Subway Series”.
  • The Yankees have never faced the Rays, Blue Jays, White Sox, Nationals/Expos, Astros and Rockies in the post season.
  • The Yankees longest post season losing streak was eight games, suffered at the hands of the New York Giants from game 6 of the 1921 World Series until Game 1 of the 1923 World Series.
  • The Yankees longest winning streak in the World Series is 14 games, beginning in game 3 of the 1996 World Series and last until game 3 of the 2000 World Series.
  • The Yankees record for most consecutive post season wins is 12 games, which was accomplished twice:1927, 28 and 36 World Series as well as Game 4 of the 1998 ALCS through Game 2 of the 1999 ALCS.
  • The Yankees won a record 11 post season series, beginning with the 1998 ALDS and ending with the 2001 World Series. From 1927 to 1941, the Yankees won all eight of the World Series in which they played. The record for most World Series victories in consecutive years is five, established by the 1949-1953 Yankees.
  • The only Yankee to ever win two post season MVP awards is Mariano Rivera, who earned the hardware in the 1999 World Series and 2003 ALCS.
  • The Yankees post season winning percentage of .599 is better than the team’s regular season winning percentage of .568, as of the end of the 2011 season.

Observations From Cooperstown: The Roster, 1978, and Butch Hobson

As usual, the Yankees are waiting until the last minute to officially announce their 25-man roster for the Division Series. So that leaves me guessing as to what will they do at the periphery of the roster. We do know that Jorge Posada will be on the roster, as will Russell Martin and Jesus Montero. I have a hard time believing the Yankees will carry four catchers, so I’m guessing that rookie Austin Romine will be left off, with the Yankees gambling that they can tolerate either Montero or Posada doing some catching if Martin is lifted in the late innings for a pinch-hitter. The Tigers don’t run much, so a strong throwing catcher becomes less of a priority.

We know that the starting infield will have Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, and (hopefully a healthy) Alex Rodriguez, with Eduardo Nunez serving as the primary utility infielder. Eric Chavez will also be around as a backup at first and third base, but perhaps more importantly, as the primary left-handed pinch-hitter. So that makes for six infielders.

The starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher will need a backup, so right-handed specialist Andruw Jones is a certainty. The real question is this: will the Yankees carry a fifth outfielder? It’s a tough call, but I think they will. Chris Dickerson has played well in his limited opportunities; he’s a good corner outfielder who can handle Comerica Park and has enough footspeed to serve as a pinch runner. While he doesn’t have the blazing speed of Greg Golson, he’s a better baserunner, as evidenced by Golon’s extra-inning foul up in extra innings on Wednesday against the Rays. So Golson will be out, and Dickerson should be in as a backup outfielder.

With three catchers, six infielders, and five outfielders, that makes for 14 position players. That leaves room for 11 pitchers, instead of 12. And that’s the right way to go in a series that can go no longer than five games. The Yankees figure to use only three starters (CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia), which leaves room for an eight-man bullpen. The givens are Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, A.J. Burnett, Cory Wade, and Boone Logan. That still leaves two spots for pitchers from a group that includes Phil Hughes, the slumping Bartolo Colon, Luis Ayala, Hector Noesi and obscure left-hander Raul Valdes. Out of loyalty, I see Joe Girardi going with Hughes for one of the spots. The final spot? Given that the Tigers have a lineup that is deeper from the right side, I see the Yankees going with Noesi, whom the Tigers have never seen face-to-face. So mystery will win out over the strategy of lefty-on-lefty matchups.

On Thursday, the Yankees did announce two important decisions for the postseason. I like one, but not the other. Simply put, Posada is a bad choice to DH against flamethrowing Justin Verlander in Game One; he just doesn’t have the bat speed to catch up with fastballs in the high 90s. Montero, with his OPS of .996, would have been the better choice, riskier, but better.

In terms of the No. 3 starter, Freddy Garcia is absolutely the correct choice. Selecting Burnett, based on one good start last weekend against the Red Sox, would have been a horrendous selection. Similarly, the enigmatic Hughes has been too inconsistent from game to game, with his velocity readings continuing to fluctuate so violently. Of all the possibilities, Garcia has been the most consistent starter, the one who is most likely to give the Yankees six innings of two-run ball. He also has a terrific record in the playoffs and World Series. Across seven different postseason series, Garcia has posted an ERA of 3.11, with 45 strikeouts and 22 walks in 55 innings. “The Chief” will not be rattled by the pressure of a short series, or by the enemy crowd at Comerica Park…


Since my wife Sue is a Red Sox fan, I do have some sympathy for what their fans are enduring in the wake of the team blowing a nine-game lead in the span of four weeks. The collapse of this year’s Sox has me thinking about the events of 1978, when the Red Sox allowed a 14-game lead to fritter away over the span of ten weeks. By comparison, the collapse of the ‘78 Red Sox seems milder. After all, they did win 15 games in September and October, and managed to put together an eight-game win streak at the end to force a one-game tiebreaker against the Yankees. In contrast, the 2011 Red Sox won only seven games in September, lost 20, and generally played dreadful baseball, especially from the mound and on the basepaths.

One of the reasons that the ‘78 Red Sox lost was due to questionable managing by skipper Don Zimmer, who was not yet a gleam in Joe Torre’s eye. Zimmer buried Bill Lee in his doghouse, refusing to use him as a starter while youngsters like Bobby Sprowl and Jim Wright struggled. Zimmer also continued to play Butch Hobson at third base even though he had several bone chips in his elbow that prevented him from making even routine throws to first. Hobson ended up with a whopping 43 errors that summer. Hobson, as hard-nosed a player as I’ve ever seen, did not ask out of the lineup until late September. Zimmer should have taken the decision out of his hands much earlier, made Hobson the DH, and put backup Jack Brohamer at third base. By waiting so long, Zimmer may have cost the Red Sox a game or two in the standings.

Four years later, the Yankees acquired Hobson in a trade with the Angels for righty reliever Bill Castro. I remember being excited about the trade, remembering how tough and tenacious Hobson had been for the rival Red Sox.

Unfortunately, Hobson had nothing left in the tank. He was only 30, but his body was much older. Years of drug abuse, running into walls, and playing through bone chips and bad shoulders had taken their toll. In 60 plate appearances, Hobson put up an OPS of .390, which is so low it doesn’t seem possible.

I wish Hobson had done better with the Yankees. He certainly deserved better in 1978, when his manager should have done him a favor, but didn’t.

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

Gearin’ Up


Around the dial, dig these ALDS previews, predictions and other good stuff:

First up, our man Cliff over at SI.com:

1. Three Days’ Rest
No need to speculate about when these team’s aces will pitch. Managers Jim Leyland of Detroit and Joe Girardi of New York have already announced it. CC Sabathia will pitch on three days’ rest in Game 4. Justin Verlander won’t. That’s consistent with their histories. Verlander has never pitched on three days’ rest in the major leagues. Sabathia is 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA in four regular-season starts on three days’ rest, three of which came in his final three starts of the 2008 season and helped lift the Brewers into the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. He also posted a 2.45 ERA in two quality starts on three days’ rest in the 2009 postseason, both of which were won by the Yankees on the way to their 27th world championship.

As a result, those two aces, arguably the first and fourth best pitchers in the American League this year, will only face off once in this series and will be opposed by lesser pitchers should their second starts be necessary. That also means that Doug Fister, who went a Doyle Alexander-like 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 11.40 K/BB in 11 games after being acquired from the Mariners at the trading deadline, will only start once, even if this series goes the distance.

2. Ivan Nova
Verlander and Fister will still start three times in this best-of-five series, which is good news for the Tigers, who were 18-3 in games started by those two since the latter’s acquisition. In two of those starts, including a potential double-elimination Game 5 against Verlander, the Yankees will counter with Ivan Nova, a rookie who was farmed out to Triple-A in July. That’s a heady assignment for a rookie, not that he hasn’t earned it. Nova went 8-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts after returning to the Yankees rotation, and really shouldn’t have been demoted in the first place (though one could argue that he returned with greater purpose and effectiveness). However, even over those last 11 starts, Nova’s peripherals have been underwhelming (5.7 K/9, 2.35 K/BB). If the Tigers’ formula for winning this series is taking the three games started by their top two starters, the Yankees’ formula for winning the series just might require winning one of Nova’s two starts against the Tigers’ big two, and if the Tigers take Game 1 behind Verlander, there’s no other way for the Yankees to win the series.

Larry Koestler at The Yankee Analysts

Brien at IIATMS

Jay Jaffe at BP

Tyler Kepner in the New York Times

Steven Goldman at Pinstriped Bible

Rob Neyer at SB Nation

And over at Was Watching Jeff F offers 25 things we didn’t know about the 2011 Yankees.

Be sure to check out these sites as well as Replacement Level YankeesYFSF,  River Ave Blues and No Maas for all the Yankeeness you can handle.

[Photo Credit: Your Very Own Contrapasso]

New York Minute

It was warm and humid in New York until yesterday evening after a rain. Then, the autumn was back in the air. And the coolness is still there today although it’s not cold. But it is playoff weather and for Yankee fans the change to fall means more baseball. This won’t last forever, the Yankees making the playoffs annually, but it has been a constant in New York life for a generation now and you have to be a selfish fool not to take a moment to breath it in and give thanks.

[Photo Credit: I Spy NYC]

The X-Factor

For weeks I’ve been thinking that if the Yanks play the Tigers in the ALDS they’ll lose. Too much pitching from the Tigers, too much Miguel Cabrera. I’ve held to that, but last night, as I tried to fall asleep I started to change my mind. This is a series the Yanks can win. Yeah, the Yanks should fear the Tigers but the Tigers should also be ascared of the Yanks.

I like Freddy Garcia pitching Game 3 in Comerica more than down in Texas. I like C.C. holding his own against Verlander. I like the Yankees’ offense, even if I think that Cabrera, win or lose, will be the best player in the playoffs this year.

Here’s the guy that worries me. Doug Fister. Game 2 is the series. He’s been great since joining the Tigers. But he’s got to pitch on the big stage in New York now. Still, he’s the guy that scares me.

If the Yanks win Game 2 I think they advance. If not, even if they win Game 1, I think they’ll lose.

Afternoon Art

“Seated Woman,” By Willem de Kooning (1940)

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Thanks to Deadspin for linking to this bit of wonderfulness.  Dig these drawings by Summer Anne Burton. And pass along the word of what she’s up to. Fantastic work.

Taster’s Cherce

A few weeks ago I bet my old pal Johnny Red Sox that his team would make the playoffs. He said they were going to blow it. Here’s the bet: If the Sox won, he takes me out to dinner. If they lost, I take him out.

Figured it was a win-win for me. Now, let’s just hope his tastes are reasonable. That doesn’t mean Gray’s Papaya, but let’s hope it doesn’t mean Del Posto either.

Beat of the Day

A favorite Bronx battle rhyme from the Teacher and Mr. Foxxx.

New York Minute

From Glenn Stout: “Hangovers were instantaneous, severe and violent.”

I wondered about being hungover as I passed this guy today and felt the ground vibrate.

More from Stout:

Mike Torrez screamed “I’m off the hook!” Darrell Johnson was sprayed with champagne in the Met clubhouse. Bill Buckner danced a jig on his ranch in Idaho, while Carl Crawford, Jonathan Papelbon and a cast of thousands not named Jacoby Ellsbury pushed Pesky aside, their careers distilled into a single moment, the lead of their obituaries already written. The whole 2011 roster elbowed their way past Stanley and Schiraldi and Galehouse and Willoughby. Don Zimmer, Joe McCarthy, Joe Cronin, John McNamara and Grady Little welcomed Terry Francona to the brotherhood while Joe Maddon looked on in sympathy, Buck Showalter grinned and pushed the pin into the voodoo doll a little deeper and Theo Epstein felt the pain and tried to peel the target off his forehead. Robert Andino joined Aaron Boone and Mookie and Bucky as an improbable villain and regional epithet. The dark corner deep in the heart of all Red Sox fans everywhere, the one that appeared to have healed got ripped open and suddenly seemed a little darker, a lot more crowded, and a whole lot more unpleasant.

More than one Boston fan woke the next morning and either logged on or turned on the television or clicked on the radio to confirm that the ultimate nightmare had indeed taken place. It had.



Early this morning I got this e-mail from a Red Sox pal of mine:

You’ll get the whole season recap from me tomorrow, but the short story is that I really did stop caring about this team about three weeks ago. In fact, I hate that I actually gave a shit again tonight, for about forty-five minutes. (Great baseball story, though.)

What happened is they stopped being any fun to watch sometime in late August, but I have to say, they weren’t that great to watch in the first place. (Something like 3-57 when trailing in the 8th inning this year.)

They were kind of like the loud guy at the party who’s having a great time, and you sort of keep your distance from him as the night goes on, and suddenly he gets WAY too drunk…a little funny, sure, but mostly pathetic.

Or think of those hammered guys on “Cops” that just got pulled over by the cute little PO-lice lady from Tennessee.

So what you do about it? If you’re at the party, you just get the hell away from that guy, maybe take off. But when it’s on TV? All you have to do is reach for the remote and change the channel…


The Art of Fiction is Dead: Seven Minutes of Madness

The Yanks jumped all over David Price last night. Slapped him silly. Mark Teixeira hit two dingers, including a grand slam and the Bombers led 7-0 and were cruising. You could practically hear a pin drop at the Trop. The Rays had nothing, they were done, even though the Yankees trotted out thirty-six pitchers. Then in the eighth, the Rays scored six runs, capped by a three-run shot by Evan Longoria. A final, noble gasp, right?

Cory Wade retired the first two men in the ninth, had pinch-hitter Dan Johnson down to his last strike, and then the sombitch hit a line drive home run to tie it. And that’s the truth.

Enter Scott Proctor. Now, it’s not what you think. Proctor got the final out in the ninth and made it through the tenth and eleventh. The Yanks had runners on first and third with one out in the top of the twelfth and couldn’t score. Then, at 11:59 p.m., after he’d struck out the first two men in the ninth and given up a double, Jonathan Paplebon, one strike away from a win, gave up a game-tying double. That was followed two minutes later by another hit from the man whose name will be burned into Red Sox Nation’s collective memories forever–Robert Andino. Little fly ball to left, Carl Crawford charged, had it, and then it popped out of his glove. And the winning run scored.

The crowd at the Trop went nuts when they heard the news. Proctor had to step off the mound. No matter what happened, there was something noble about the way Proctor performed. He was the last guy out there. Maybe if the Yanks got the lead, someone else would come in but so long as the game remained tied, it was Proctor’s game, Proctor–there to lose it. And he toughed it out. It was his best performance since rejoining the team.

He got the first out and had two strikes on Longoria before the best player on the Rays hit a low line drive down the left field line. Was it fair? It was. And just over the wall. The times was 12:06 a.m.

My goodness. The art of fiction, dead, for sure.

What a finish.

The Tigers won and so did the Rangers so the Yanks will play the ALDS against the Tigers. Tough match-up. Should be fun.

[Photo Credit: Fur Affinity]

Down to the Wire

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Jesus Montero C
Eduardo Nunez 2B

Sit back, relax, enjoy the show.

Let’s Go Base-Ball!


Is Brooklyn in the House Right Now?

Hell, yes.

Dellin Betances will start his first big league game tonight.

[Photo Credit: N.Y. Daily News]

Taster’s Cherce

My mom was in town and came over for dinner last night. Ted Berg had given me some of the pulled pork he cooked over the weekend so I figured I’d make a couple of sandwiches, and as luck would have it, mom brought a loaf of challah. I’m not sure why, maybe in honor of the Jewish New Year that I don’t celebrate. She doesn’t celebrate it either, though she was once been coerced into “converting” to Judaism.That expired, at least in spirit, well before she divorced my dad. Still, maybe she brought the challah to remember the old days. Or just because she thinks it is delicious.

Anyhow, the bread was ideal for the pork, and we topped it with some homemade coleslaw and a vinegary bbq sauce.  I usually only think of challah for french toast but it’s more than lovely for a pulled pork sandwich too.

Happy New Year, indeed.

[Photo Credit: James Ransom for Food 52]

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