Pirela injured, Yanks also limp in Mets contest.

The Mets rampaged over theYankees who continue to underwhelm with the bat. ARod looked sharp in another game, he wasn’t taking part in this contest and perhaps he ought to have been there. The performance of the Yankees hitters has been something of a downer to all fans. We get it that these games are not important, and won’t matter a whole tonne of biscuits when the season gets going. That is the nature of the beast. But I do hope that they can get it together and start hitting the ball more, and getting something for their hits.
But despite the sour taste in my mouth at the idea of losing even a meaningless Spring Training game to the Mets, the pressure to include Pirela in the starting day roster was released for Cashman, as the young standout was filling in at Centrefield for Jacoby Ellsbury and crashed into the fence, injuring himself and giving up an infield homer. He was confirmed as having suffered a concussion, which was not as bad as it could have been but was bad all the same. Brian must be happy that this will take away some of the pressure of him, and that he is at least not being as crazy as the GM in the Cubs. I guess the only thing that we can take from whole Kris Bryant is that we are not the only club with fools running it, who make decisions that make no sense, and cite money as the so called logic behind it.
All that aside, I just want to wish Pirela well and hope he has a speedy recovery, and more importantly that we see him in Yankee pinstripes sooner this season.

Brian Cashman continues to stink up the place- Why won’t Hal Fire Him?

Brian Cashman is one of those guys who keeps making bad calls when it comes to bringing players to the Yankees, and it must be said that he seem to lack the moral courage to admit when he is wrong, even when it is painfully obvious to all that he is. So far the worst decision he has made this season is to give $5m to Drew in what he called in an interview qwith an NY paper ”a gamble.”
I am sorry Brian if you fancy a flutter go bet on a horse, shoot some dice, or do some other lame ass Vegas/ Atlantic City activity that requires as much thought and logic as you seem to put into roster moves. It is almost as though he sees bringing in players and giving out contracts to guys like playing the slot machines. Throw the money in and hope that it works out for the best.
I don’t blame Drew for the fact the Yankess have given him such a big contract. Or Beltran either for that matter, because they are both players that are just trying to get paid and play the game we all love. But they are two players who I think will cost more than we will get from them by way of runs. So no it isn’t their fault they got a big contract with so many big questions over their production or their health. I blame Cashman.
I blame him in the case of Drew for making another poor decision in signing him and thinking that he will give something to the Yankees that he isn’t able to give. I blame Cashman for thinking that if a guy played for Boston, and then came to New York then he wil in someway reinact the curse of The Babe, and hit like Ruth did. So no matter if he couldn’t slap the broadside of the JFK with a Garth Brooks guitar, give him a big contract and then give him a spot on the Opening Day roster at the expense of Pirela the one Yankee that has stood out as deserving a place on the Opening day roster ahead of Drew. Instead Cashman has all but written Pirela off as being Minor League bound and in the meantime he keeps payjng out big money on useless players in the hope that sometime soon he is bound to hit a gamble that pays off.
Spoken like a true Gambling addict there Brian.
Now I know that I have praised Joe Girardi, i just love that guy and find his style of managment to be superb. Not many may agree with me on that, I don’t really know. I praised his work last year as some of the best of his managing career especially with a massive handicap (ie Brain Cashman’s bringing in a whole bunch of guys who were expensive plug ins that just weren’t good moves.) I just want it to be known that my praise of what Joe did is not given to Cashman. Because he stank last year and gave Joe a tonne of duds. In the end I hope Hal wakes up and shows some of the spark his father had and fires Brian’s ass. Or of he is in the habit of hiring staff who don’t do their jobs, or when they actually bother to do their jobs do them badly without fear of being fired for it- please Hal Baby, give me a job. I can stink at a job at a Brian Cashman level. I know I can… I just know I can!

Double Header #2: Minor League Happenings

Okay so the Yankees have had a few things happening in the minor leagues. Tyler Austin has been optioned along with Danny Burawa, and Jose De Paula to Triple A’s Scranton /Wilkes-Barre. Tyler is rated as one of the top Yankee prospects by MLB.com. Yet he hasn’t really impressed too much with his bat this spring training. In 16 At bats he has scored 3 runs one of which was a home run, 2 rbis with a batting average of .188. Girardi said that while nobody was going to make or break their places on the team. Which is a good thing for Tyler who could still do well enough in Triple-A that he could get a call up when during the season. The baseball season is long and the Yankees will need as much help from the farm system as they can get. Especially with so many older players on the roster. Younger arms will prevail, just as long as their heads keep focused and they don’t let being sent down to the minors as a set back.

Also optioned to the minors was Mason Williams who was sent to Double-A Trenton, while Wilking Rodriquez was sent to Minor League Camp. It is also thought that Jose Pirela could very well wind up being sent to Triple A despite a great Spring Training performance. There just isn’t any room for him on the roster for Opening Day. It shows how deep the roster is for the team that someone of his calibre can’t quite get into the team.

Also Moises Cedeno who plays in the Yankees’ minor league team in the Dominican Summer League was suspended for 72 days for being found with traces of PES Clenbuterol. This is a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He will not be paid during the suspension either.

Double Header #1: Let’s talk about Didi

Didi Gregorius was a smart move. In bringing him to the Yankees the front office have upgraded the infield defence. Derek Jeter was a great shortstop but last year he was not at his best. Still good by anyone else’s standard. But not so hot by his own. It was to be expected as age, and injury slowed him down and weakened his arm.
Didi will certainly improve performances at shortstop and has shown us just what he can do with some great plays that has Yankee hearts racing. But wee must remember one thing. Didi isn’t a hitter. He hasn’t come to the team to be a hitter. He is one of those guys who won’t put up the numbers that Jeter did especially if he is expected to do just that. Because pressure can do a lot of things to a guys head. If we start expecting him to put up big numbers on offence, hitting like Jeter, he will start swinging at everything digging himself into a massive hole. It will do him no good. The problem then will mean that he will become a flop. All from pressure to perform with the bat. But if we are happy that he is there to defend, and let him hit according to his own style of playing, then I think Didi will be a massive star for the Yankees, not quite at the level that Jacoby Ellsbury who is by far and away my favourite on the roster, but not too far behind him. I am glad Didi is a Yankee. Let’s get behind him for what he brings to the team, and not on his back for what he isn’t naturally able to do.

CC’s first start since May was more wimper than a bang!

So CC Sabathia took to the mound for the first time since May of last year when injury had ended his season. Most people wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in how well he pitched yesterday. After all these games just aren’t that big a deal outside of the mechanics of getting a player in shape for Opening Day. But we can learn something from it, ie what kind of shape he was in after such a long lay off.
He looked good in the first inning that he pitched. Getting three quick outs to shut down the inning quickly. He even managed to get Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista to ground out, and struck out Josh Donaldson. Not bad one might think. But his second inning was not such a good one, and he quickly lost control of proceedings giving up two runs. It could have gotten a lot worse but for an amazing series of plays to get the third out when Josh Thole hit a fly ball which gave him a double to the left field where Brett Gardner threw to Didi Gregorius, who in turn fired a rocket of a throw to Brian McCann at home where he tagged out Devon Travis who had run from first base to try to score. It was an exciting play to close the innings.
It is true that you cannot really put a lot of stock in the performance of a two innings appearance on the mound in spring. It is really only a matter of seeing how CC could handle pitching from the mound in a game situation rather than in simulated/ bullpen situations. He did well, to a degree. But in two innings he threw 31 pitches, gave up 4 hits, two runs both of which were earned, and struck out two guys for an ERA of 9.00. So it wasn’t a stellar as some of the appearances of fellow teammates. But certainly we can feel a bit happier by the fact that he is healthy enough to get on the mound and pitch. He doesn’t look sharp, but with a bit more practice and playing time, then I think he will be an integral part of getting us back to the post season. From small steps are the highest mountains climbed.

The State of the Yankees (From What we See in Camp)

The Yankees have gone through two weeks of Spring Training games in the Grapefruit League. There were a lot of questions about the pitching staff and the offence that  we Yankees fans have pondered the whole off season. The great-hang over from the 2014 season was not that Jeter would not be at shortstop this year. There was no doubt in my mind that another great Yankee would come along and not replace Jeter (how could anyone replace him), but take up the baton after him. That is the nature of the sport. Of all sports.
No the real hang over is the way the Yankees couldn’t score. It was such a weak scoring season for the Yankees that the moniker Bronx Bombers was fast becoming somewhat ironic. It was the worst I had ever seen it.
The front office was busy the off season. Bringing Didi Gregorius to the Bronx to take over at shortstop was a stroke of genius because he has already proven to be an electric player. The infield is now as solid as the outfield of Ellsbury, Beltran and Gardner. We have McCann, Teixeira, Gregorius, Headley, and Drew manning the infield. That is the projected lineup for Opening Day. It is a great defensive team. So at least it seems that we have that concern covered.
The pitchers have been a problem too. Injury left its mark on the rotation. Nova, Sabathia, Tanaka, and Pineda all lost large periods of time on the DL meaning Girardi and Cashman had to do their best work as the manager and the GM to keep the team going, and given how close we got to the post season despite our starting lineup’s injury woes, you can see just how good of a job they did. Not that many will give them the credit they ought to. But they should.
The front office has gone through great lengths to get in enough good pitchers who will it is hoped be able replacements in the events of injuries to our rotation. Tanaka looked good in his start, Pineda has looked sharp and has really got some pop in his pitching. He is pitching fire I think. Sabathia is due to start this week.The noises from camp are that he is going to be in good form this season and so we will watch him eagerly to see how he will look. Nova is still out of action and will miss a lot of the season.
Capuano is injured and will miss the beginning of the season, so that gives some of the other guys a chance to get into the rotation before Nova is cleared to play in June… or is it July? Either way it is a golden chance for one of the other guys who has come into the team for this very reason. Eovaldi had a great turnout against the Phils. Certainly he looks good. But the pitching staff was not the problem. If they can keep fit we have a great lineup. If not then we have a good lineup.
It is the hitting that still looks as dodgy as we can get it. They still look as though they are unable to score. Sure it is early in the Spring and so we needn’t worry too much. But I thinks it is something that will cause our collective stomachs to whirl. Because even with Jake and Brett leading off, and Didi at the bottom of the rotation combining in the middle inning of the game to add some spice to the hitting, there has not been too much production. The only big name to actually hit a homerun was ARod. How it sticks in our throats to have to say that. But for the most part it is the kids, the prospects that are putting up the scores for us and winning the games. We can only hope that this is merely a case of the starting lineup getting their timing down and their eyes in. There is bound to be a point when they will hit. If they can hit like they ought to, like the are supposed to on paper, then it will be fun being in Yankee Stadium because that is a homerun friendly stadium and we should see something… Oh if only they start hitting.    

When Maris beat the Babe.

There are many heroes in the history of the New York Yankees. That can only be so when a team has reached the pinnacle of their sport 27 times. No other team has achieved that kind of greatness in all professional sports. The only team to beat that score in sports is the Kilkenny hurling team who has won the championship in the Irish sport of Hurling 37 times. But they are not a professional team in that their players are not paid for their efforts.
But the Yankees are a professional sports team, in the most intense arenas of all, the city of New York. No other city can have a claim to the number of greats as that gleaming metropolis. Even those who have gone to coach and run other teams in other cities such as Vince Lombardi, and Al Davis, have become greats in their respective sports.
Sadly when there are so many who are lauded for their sporting endeavours, there are those who get overlooked and forgotten. Such is the case with Roger Maris, who seems to have fallen through the cracks of memory. It is my desire to try at least to play a small role in bringing him to the fore.
Why? That is a good question, with a simple answer. He beat the Babe despite a lot of abuse from the fans and media.
On the last day of the 1961 season, Sunday October 1st, against the Red Sox, Maris comes to the plate. It is the bottom of the fourth, nobody is on, one out, and there is no score. This is Maris’ second at bat of the game. Tracy Stallard the Boston pitcher throws a fast ball pitch, knee high to the outside of the plate. Maris takes a swing and despatches the ball to the rightfield stands. That faithful day saw him break a record that for many was unbreakable, and boy did they let him know it. He was chasing Babe Ruth’s single season home run tally, and he was successful as Maris racked up a score of 61 home runs.
It should have been a moment to savour, one which the fans went wild over. They had seen a record broken, one which had been set by a true giant of the sport and a Yankee legend. But it wasn’t such a joyous moment. Not for Maris anyway. He had come under increasing pressure from the media, and under attack from the fans. Can you imgaine that it was possible that he was booed by Yankee fans who resented that he was going to better Babe Ruth’s record. All of this robbed the joy of the game from Maris. He began to fall apart, his hair fell out, he grumbled and cussed at reporters, he took to drinking.
It was so bad that one reporter wrote in 1963 that Maris had “proved to be an unsatisfactory hero.” Little wonder then that once he retired from playing baseball in 1968 he ceased to have a whole lot to do with the game he had loved.
Roger Maris was one of the finest hitters of the game, and yet sadly he has become a forgotten one. Micky Mantle, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gherig are names that rightfully fall off the tongue. They were not only the best in the history of the franchise, but also in the history of the game itself. Maris never gets the mention he deserves. Rightfully this has changed however. The Yankees have begun to give him the due credit and recognition he deserved. The number 9 he wore was retired in 1984 the year before he died, the sad thing was that his number was retired decades after his last game as a Yankee. When you think of the others, their jersey numbers were retired much sooner. It is testimony to the fact that he was all too often overlooked, and was only recognised by later generations. Let’s do our part to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Let’s do our best to make sure that this Yankee legend is spoken of with the same reverence as other greats. It is the least he deserves. Because in the Pantheon of Yankee heroes, Roger Maris is the most human of them all.