Could the 19-year "Sunday Night Baseball" broadcasting partnership of ESPN's Jon Miller and Joe Morgan be coming to an end?...
Well-embedded baseball moles contend the answer is "yes" to both questions. Both Morgan and Miller have two years left on their ESPN contracts, but that would not prevent a change.
Sources said Morgan could be shifted to the network's midweek baseball telecast, where he would work with a new play-by-play partner.
What's coming to light is how unpopular Morgan has become with many of his ESPN colleagues, who are less than thrilled with the way he prepares for a telecast. Some of them also don't respond well to what they call Morgan's haughty attitude, which he has displayed during some of his more outspoken performances in internal ESPN meetings.
Prone to on-air mistakes, Morgan also has come under some intense media scrutiny. And during those moments when he's made a mistake, the give and take between him and Miller can sound strained. But some of this stuff (if you don't take it all seriously) is kind of funny.
Here are the first four lines -- like the 30 free seconds you get from iTunes. These are unedited:
On Brett Favre Pass, a legacy catches hell.
Barely makes sense.
It is a dead end street, but a sports bar there is a thoroughfare of debate.
Does not really make sense.
What's he doing? Where was he doing it? Who called whom? Why Brett why?
Does not in any way make sense. Sub-Seussian nonsense.
On Brett Favre Pass, some folks are wishing he had thrown his last.
Bill? The English Language is on line 1. It wants to know why you hate it so much.
[Edit: I woke up this morning to several hundred million emails defending Plaschke, and insinuating that what I failed to understand is that Brett Favre Pass is an actual street in Green Bay. I knew that. Even if I hadn't known that, I could have determined it from context. It's capitalized, for God's sake.
What I object to are clauses like, "...a legacy catches hell." Which: ??? And "...a sports bar there is a thoroughfare of debate." What the fuck is a "thoroughfare of debate?" A thoroughfare is a road, or highway, as I understand it. A highway of debate? That makes zero sense. What he means is "a locus of debate" or "an epicenter of debate" or something. But that wouldn't match up faux-poetically with the fact that Brett Favre Pass is a dead-end street, so he went with "thoroughfare," which is nonsense.
As for the last two lines, I object to: the goofball poetry, the overblown musing, the whimsical Dr. Seuss rhythms, and the unpleasantly haughty linguistic transmogrification of "Pass" into "pass."
The only person in America, apparently, who assumed I knew that Brett Favre Pass was the name of a street and had something else to comment on was John M., who wrote:
I...wish you would have included this sentence, which is not only vintage Plaschke, but also would have given you an excuse to use the food metaphors tag:
"Whatever, it has been the equivalent of a warm farewell followed by the guy changing his mind, barging back through the front door for one last piece of pie, spilling that pie on his lap, dropping messily asleep on your couch."
It's time to play no-one's favorite game, "Irrelevant/Counter-Irrelevant," with Jayson Stark and Jim Caple. The goal is to make as many irrelevant points as you can in the space alloted. First, Irrelevant: The Phillies Will Win!
These Phillies won't be playing in this World Series because they're the best team in the National League.
Well, they did win the second-most games, and had the second-best run differential, trailing only the Cubbies. They scored the second-most runs, had the most HR, and had the fourth-best ERA, only 0.03 behind second-place Milwaukee. So, maybe they aren't the best team, but they're certainly very close.
They're here because they're the toughest team in the National League.
Fuck all that statistical noise. It's about toughness. The Phillies are tough. The Phillies are like a hockey team. The Phillies work in an Alaskan cannery 19 hours a day. The Phillies could knock out Kimbo Slice in thirteen seconds.
And that toughness is the biggest reason I think they'll win.
I'm going with "they hit the most HR in the league and have a really good pitching staff." But whatever.
"They're the most mentally tough team" in the field, an NL general manager told me three weeks ago.
That NL GM? Robert Duvall. Legendarily tough. Tough old sonofabitch. He knows tough. When he said this he was driving in a pick-up truck with 300,000 miles on it, that he built himself, and he was on his way to a black bear-wrestling contest, in which black bears take turns seeing if they can defeat him. And he's mentally tough, too. He once survived fifty days of waterboarding without giving up any information. The waterboarder? Marlon Brando, on the set of The Godfather. So I think he knows what "tough" is.
By the way, I'm currently watching Game One of the Series on like an hour TiVo delay, and Tim McCarver, after Shane Victorino almost got picked off second, said something like, "You've probably heard that you should never make the first or third out at third base, but in this case, you should never make the first out at second base."
What he could have said: "You shouldn't get picked off in a [fucking] World Series game."
And he was just the lead singer in a chorus of GMs, scouts, coaching staffs and players who have run into this team along the way.
They're called the "Stolen Bass-es" and they're performing this Saturday at the St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church in Germantown, PA.
Tim McCarver just referred to Jason Werth's double as a "check swing plop job," which: ewww, and then he talked about Ben Zobrist racing to the line to grab said plop job by saying, "Gives you an idea about the closure [sic] speed of the Rays' outfielders." Why is Tim McCarver allowed to broadcast? These people are always talking about "the way they play," and "how hard they play" and how much fun it is to watch these Phillies play.
What [people who talk about the Phillies] Talk About When They Talk About [the Phillies]:
1. The way they play 2. How hard they play 3. How much fun it is to watch them play
These people sound very interesting and knowledgeable.
These Phillies don't seem imprisoned by their team's tortured past. In an odd way, they almost seem inspired by it. They constantly talk, right out loud, about how driven they are to write their own history, make their own mark, put their own stamp on their franchise and their ballpark.
Look, as a Red Sox fan, I understand the importance of a traditionally-losing franchise being undaunted by the past. But let's also acknowledge that we are deep into this "Why the Phillies Will Win" argument, and we have nary a mention of Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat the Bat, Brad Lidge, or, you know, anything related to what actually happens on the field of play.
This is a group that sets the bar as high as it can be set, and a group of players who seem remarkably comfortable on this stage.
What? Who? When? How? Which? For? Make? Jump?
What is the evidence for this platitude?
They've won 12 games this year in which they trailed after seven innings. They've won 29 games decided from the seventh inning on. They've won a half-dozen games they trailed by two runs or more in the eighth inning or later, including a defining NLCS game in Los Angeles last week.
They may not have the best starting rotation in this World Series, but they do have the best starting pitcher -- Cole Hamels.
Hey look! Something about an actual player!
I expect him to win Game 1, set the tone and buy the offense a night to apply the Rust-Oleum after a week off. History does tell us that 10 of the last 11 Game 1 winners have gone on to win the Series.
Actual analysis! This is so much fun! (Though that is a pretty small sample size, at least it's something.)
So Game 1 starters are often Series-changers. And Hamels fits that mold. The Phillies also have the best bullpen, and the best closer (Brad Lidge), in this World Series.
Best closer, maybe. But best bullpen? The Rays' bullpen had a .220 BAA. The Phillies, in the NL, had a .251. Their OPS-against was a little worse, too.
Much like the Rockies last year, this team heads into this World Series playing as well as it has ever played.
So very soon, the Phillies will be able to hoist the Championship Trophy, just like the World Champion 2007 World Series Champion Colorado Champion Rockies, the 2007 World Series Champions of Championships! Champs!
Maybe 20-5 isn't 21-1, but it's in the same stratosphere. The difference, though,
...is that the Rockies didn't win the World Series, like you are predicting the Phillies will?
is these Phillies aren't just a good team that got hot. They're a team that was built to win, a team with all the ingredients to win, and THEN they got hot.
As the Rockies found out last October, it isn't always the hottest team that wins the World Series.
The Rockies were hot! The Phillies are also hot! The Rockies didn't win! The Phillies will win, because they are better than the Rockies! I should go back and rewrite this without invoking the Rockies, which are irrelevant to my argument! Too late! Deadline is here! Oh well!
But when the hottest team is also the toughest team, that's a whole different story.
You're telling me. I just read that story. And it's a doozy.
How about this, instead of what you wrote:
The Phillies have a very good pitching staff, a very good bullpen, and hit the most HR in the league. The Rays are a bunch of 24 year-old kids who had never, before this season, played a meaningful game after like April fucking 13th.
Now it's time for Counter-Irrelevant: The Tampa Bay Rays Will Win!
As always, my esteemed colleague arrived at his World Series prediction after consulting with scouts, general managers and other people throughout baseball.
Didn't seem to help him.
He observed the Phillies up close and personal from opening day to the final game of the NLCS.
He observed their toughness. Missed all the HR and good pitching performances.
He studied the statistics, sorting through OPS, VORP and WHIP in search of tell-tale trends.
No he very obviously did not. He did no such thing. Take that back.
He carefully analyzed player matchups, spoke with the participants and called upon more than 30 years of experience covering the game.
Then he talked about toughness for twenty paragraphs.
Likewise, I made a careful study before making my prediction. Namely, I noticed that Tampa Bay rays play in the American League. Which is why I'm picking them to sweep.
Not the strongest argument, but I'll accept it.
The AL...dominated interleague play yet again this season, winning 149 of the 252 games played.
I'm not sure what Braves-Royals games have to do with the World Series, really. I'm still with you, ish, though.
To put that in perspective, that winning percentage would translate into a 96 victory season. The last time a league struggled as much as the NL has, Geena Davis was the catcher and Tom Hanks was the manager.
Didn't the AAGPBL become a success, after Geena Davis did that split when she caught the foul pop-up and got on the cover of Life magazine? Not that I've seen that movie 25 times, or anything.
If you're scoring at home, the Rays were 12-6 in interleague play while the Phillies went 4-11, the worst record in baseball.
The Phillies had to play Toronto, Boston, Oakland, LAA, and Texas. Tampa got Florida, St. Louis, the Cubbies, Houston, Florida again, and Pitt. Eh...maybe it's a wash. The Phils had a rough patch against some pretty good teams. Big deal.
Look, it's nice the Phillies won the National League pennant and that Warren Giles trophy will look good in their office. But now they're playing with the big boys.
Matt Garza, B.J. Upton, James Shields, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour...these are all names of people who play for Tampa Bay. You should talk about them.
The Rays are a well-balanced team with power, speed, great defense and deep pitching.
They are so loaded with young talent that they were able to put a pitcher with just five major league games of experience on the mound and see him silence the defending world champions in two games of the ALCS.
They have an experienced manager
Joe Maddon: 251-286 (537 total games). Never managed in the post-season before this year. Charlie Manuel: 573-485 (1058 total games). Managed in the post-season twice before this year.
It took me 21 seconds to look that up.
who is willing to use his bullpen in unconventional ways if they make sense, rather than sticking to ways that boost his closer's arbitration figures.
Probably because his "closer," Troy Percival, is injured and out for the season.
And, more importantly, did I mention they play in the American League?
Yes. Very well done.
P.S. Tampa: 2nd-best team ERA, 2nd most Ks. Only 9th-most runs scored. My money's on the Phillies.
P.P.S. Originally, after the line about Maddon using his bullpen non-traditionally, I went on a long and snarky diatribe about how Brad Lidge pitched in like 70 games this year and never once went more than one inning. I was very pleased with myself. Then Timothy wrote in and politely pointed out that Brad Lidge plays for the Phillies, and Joe Maddon manages the Rays. So I swiftly deleted that shit and replaced it with the Percival line.
Bears-Vikes, 14:56 left in the 2nd quarter. Marty Booker drops an easy TD pass from Kyle Orton, bringing up 2nd and goal from the 15. The announcer, whose voice I do not recognize and whose name I am too lazy to look up, watches the Bears' offense come to the line and paints his verbal picture thusly:
Everybody out, two wide ends, wide outs, two tight ends, and everybody split out. And Orton calls time out.
Or, if this were 1959, in the West Village,
Everybody out! [saxophone blast] Two wide ends, Wide outs, [saxophone blast; snare roll] Two tight ends, and Everybody -- [saxophone blast] Split -- [saxophone blast] Out! [saxophone solo] And Orton Calls... Time out. [applause]
While the big offensive trio had respectable statistics or better, they didn't stop the September slide. Manuel said spring training will be a time of teaching, for him to give "clarity" to players on his methods. Execution in the clutch is his emphasis, and the Mets likely will bring in new offensive players, most likely in the corner outfield spots.
So Manuel plans on teaching "clarity" (I assume this means making the team watch The Love Guru repeatedly), teaching guys to be clutch, and bringing in guys who are clutch.
Good luck with that, Jerry Manuel. I have some suggestions about how you teach guys to get clutchier:
1. Just before Jose Reyes takes a swing in BP, scream in his ear "It's Game 7 of the World Series!" and also punch him in the gut because that's what butterflies in the stomach feel like.
2. Secretly feed the team laxatives before practice because that's what butterflies in the stomach feel like.
3. Make the team eat butterflies.
4. Kidnap Carlos Delgado's kids and hold them at gunpoint while Carlos takes BP. "You like pressure, Carlos? This is what the playoffs feel like." Then, after Carlos strokes a home run, shoot one of the kids. Just in the leg, though. Remember, it's just a game.
5. Strap Luis Castillo to a speeding train. "Unless you hit in the clutch, Castillo becomes the meat in a train sandwich." Everyone comes through, and you reveal that you basically just wanted Castillo gone anyway.
6. One bat in the clubhouse is filled with plastic explosives. Stay on your toes, gentlemen.
7. Put up a picture of Derek Jeter in the clubhouse.
8. Be positive.
"You don't see a lot of guys that have statistical numbers play well in these championship series," Manuel said.
This is so bonkers I don't know where to start. First of all: what are "statistical numbers"? How do they differ from "numbers," "statistics," or "numerical statistics"? Are there "statistical letters"? We have a right to know. Second: Jerry Manuel is claiming that doing well in the regular season is a detriment to playing well in the playoffs. That's right. You want to be a playoff hero? Fuck around for 162. Careful, David Wright. Don't let those numbers get too statistical!
Third, here are your League Championship Series leaders in on-base percentage:
1. Mark Grace .575 2. Will Clark .529 3. Kevin Youkilis .518 4. Carlos Beltran .476 5. Ryne Sandberg .457 6. Dusty Baker .451 Manny Ramirez .451 8. Darrell Porter .450 Gary Sheffield .450 10. Albert Pujols .449
Look, these are pretty stupid because we're talking about minuscule sample sizes. But those are, for the most part, pretty awesome players. Players who did accrue very statistical numbers. Pujols, Manny, Sheffield, Sandberg. And hey, Carlos Beltran's number 4! Guess what: Carlos Beltran also leads the world in Divisional Series OBP and SLG. His career postseason OPS is a cool 1.302. But he still needs clutch lessons from Jerry Manuel, according to Jerry Manuel.
"What you see is usually the little second baseman or somebody like that carries off the MVP trophy that nobody expected him to do. That's because he's comfortable in playing that form of baseball, so therefore when the stage comes, it's not a struggle for him."
Here are the World Series MVPs for the past 10 years:
2007 Mike Lowell 2006 David Eckstein 2005 Jermaine Dye 2004 Manny Ramirez 2003 Josh Beckett 2002 Troy Glaus 2001 Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling 2000 Derek Jeter 1999 Mariano Rivera 1998 Scott Brosius
Two of these 11 players sort of stink. The rest range from very good to Hall of Fame locks. Because the best players in the playoffs are the best players. Period. Sure, there are Brosius-style flukes once every few years. But Jerry Manuel is mistaking the fucking Brosius Exception and turning it into the rule. That's plain dumb. Also, Jesus: coaching your team in a way that you think will produce a Craig Counsell or David Eckstein MVP award is white-hot, untrammeled madness.
Your team has: Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and Johan Santana. Your bullpen stinks and you need some more starting pitching depth. But you were second in the league in runs scored, tied with the Phillies, who are in the World Series. "Clutch" hitting is not your problem. "Clarity" on your methods is not your problem. "Statistical numbers" are certainly not your problem.
But hey, by all means, start getting rid of the guys whose numbers are too good. The more silly things happen, the better things go for me, a critical asshole with the free time on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon to blog about dumb remarks about baseball.
In the Oct. 13 The Sporting News, somebody put together a panel of 16 former major-league shortstops and asked them some questions.
First I'll list the 16: Biancalana, Bordick, Burleson, DeJesus, DeMaestri, Elster, Foli, Fregosi, Harrelson, Joost, Kasko, Kubek, Larkin, Maxville, Menke and Petrocelli.
Second, the relevant question on the table: "Jeter or A-Rod?"
Jeter 11 Too close to call 3 A-Rod 2
And with it runs a quote from Menke: "A-Rod will end up breaking some records, but Jeter is a winner."
Interesting. I have just conducted my own survey. The question on the table: Biancalana, Bordick, Burleson, DeJesus, DeMaestri, Elster, Foli, Fregosi, Harrelson, Joost, Kasko, Kubek, Larkin, Maxville, Menke, Petrocelli or Logic and Reason?
I think everyone pretty much knew where I was going with that right from the beginning, which is why it delighted me to actually type it out and make you read it.
Many people reported this quote from Fire Joe Morgan favorite Joe Morgan, but Rob C. is the one I happened to flag, so he gets all the credit and the rest of you can suck it:
Just driving home from work with ESPN radio's call of the game on. Morgan talking about Beltran's great playoff performance in '03:
"I read an interesting article that talked about how scouts will look at a player's performance in postseason games to see how his mental makeup is, if he can handle playing under pressure. I think that makes sense to a degree, but you can't put too much weight into it, because we all know that the playoffs are a very small sample size. You don't want to put all your marbles in one basket."
I almost drove off the road.
This really does make me feel as though something has been accomplished, somewhere, by someone(s). However, lest you think for one second that Mr. Morgan has come to his senses in like a large-picture worldview kind of way, peruse this little beauty from just the other day, sent in by 1.4 million of you, quoted here from Clark:
Joe Morgan just did a location spot during which he asserted -- repeatedly -- that "they [Red Sox] cannot beat them [Rays] by outscoring them."
And here I'd thought that was the *only* way to win a game.
Oh, Clark. You silly man. There are plenty of ways to win baseball games. Outscoring your opponent...not un-outscoring them...doing the un-opposite of not un-outscoring them...the list goes on.
Alexander points us to a special video presentation here at Gallimaufry Time, which includes Matt Stairs and what can only be described as unfortunate phraseology:
"You want to rephrase that, Matt?" "Yes, I do. Ahem. When you get that nice celebration coming in the dugout, and you're getting your weiner diddled by the guys--" "Okay, thanks. That's enough."
And now, a special Golf Note, from Chad, who, after a lengthy and kind series of compliments about our site, writes:
A note from the Ryder Cup: Johnny Miller stated, "the US will miss Tiger, as he is one of the two greatest clutch putters of all time. The other being Jack."Guess who is in the top 5 in career putting statistics. Yup, Tiger and Jack. The fact that they are better tee to green than anyone else AND were/ are great putters is why they are the two greatest GOLFERS of all time! They had more chances to make "clutch" putts because their long games gave them more opportunities. They made more "clutch" putts because they are GREAT putters! Remove the word clutch from Johnny's statement and it is true.
Clutch is bullshit! Tiger and Jack have made more non-clutch putts, too! Once again, because they are great putters!
I digress. Thank you again for your work. I thoroughly enjoy it!
Now, you might be thinking, "How did this mildly interesting note about golf make it into the Gallimaufry?!" I'll tell you why. Because at the end it says:
Sent from my iPhone
That is insane. Chad typed that whole thing on his iPhone, people. Including the all-caps words. And not one single typo. It probably took him eleven hours. That's dedication.
As long as we're going multi-media today, here are the Built Ford Tough Keys to the Game from NLCS Game 3, sent in by Daniel:
Phillies: Win this game too, like you won the other games, at the other place Dodgers: Try to do the things you did 6 weeks ago, when you won a baseball game
I like the idea that "Remember August 30!" is a "Remember the Maine!"-style battle cry for Dodger fans.
Finally, we close with some more bad news for Mets fans. Here's your new manager, on the first day of his new deal, talking about how to take his team to the next level:
On his first full day as the Mets' long-term manager, Manuel forcefully attacked the SABR-type mathematical analysis some have fixated on in recent years.
"You get so many statistical people together, they put so many stats on paper, and they say, well, if you do this and you score this many runs, you do that many times, you'll be in the playoffs," he said.
"That's not really how it works, and that's what we have to get away from. And that's going to have to be a different mind-set of the team in going forward. We must win and we must know how to win rather than win because we have statistical people. We have to win because we have baseball players that know and can understand the game."
Congratulations to the Phillies, for winning the 2008 NL Pennant. Congratulations to the 2009 Phillies, Braves, Nationals, and Marlins, for all of the easy victories you will have over the 2009 Mets.
We don't have a lot of time these days, which is why our posts are appearing less frequently than Sarah Palin on Meet the Press. (Ooooooooooooh shit! Political humor! Bam!) Anyway, I just got home from work and am watching the highly entertaining latter innings of the NLCS Game 4, and overheard Timothy McCarver say this:
Boy, a devastating turn of events here in the 8th inning. The 2-run shot by Victorino to tie it, and Matt Stairs with a 2-run homer. Neither were cheap.
Forget about the big ol' [sic] that needs to nestle its way in there, right after "were." Just go look at the videotape of Victorino's line drive HR, which cleared the RF wall by about 30 inches. What does "cheap" mean to you, there, Tim?
That's it. Just a little snippet. We'll try to post more soon.
Wait a minute, Junior. You actually went to a real live baseball game? Don't you realize that baseball is way more fun when viewed as a matrix of numbers played by robots on a network of computers? I guess what I'm saying is I'm just jealous mom let you out of our basement.
Albert Pujols Was Not A Good Enough Pitcher To Win The MVP
I for one can't wait for the deluge of Ryan Howard-for-MVP columns from older dudes wearing RBI Glasses™. RBI Glasses™: Available at ShittyLensCrafters all across the country. Hey, here's the first one, from Bob Klapisch.
Me: Bob Klapisch, you're writing a column about your awards picks. What are you going to call it?
Bob Klapisch (stopping to think for exactly 0.00038 seconds): The Klappie Awards! I'm on break.
Bob Klapisch's Klappie Awards
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER, NL: Ryan Howard, Phillies.
Nope. Wrong. So so so so so so so wrong. You should be criticized on some sort of hypercritical baseball blog for that opinion.
We’re prepared to face the firing squad on this one, having passed over Albert Pujols.
Klapisch is talking about a literal firing squad. He has written his farewell notes to his wife and kids. But he's doing this because he's a man. A man taking a stand. A man choosing another man who is ranked 30th in his league in VORP for MVP. These are the kinds of causes for which a man like Bob Klapisch is willing to stare death in the face.
Mark DeRosa and Cristian Guzman had higher VORPs than Ryan Howard. VORP is not the final word by any means; it obviously has deficiencies. But hey, also: Ryan Howard was 6th on his team in OBP. Think about that.
But as unthinkably dangerous as the Cardinals’ slugger was, he couldn’t get his team to the postseason. Howard did.
You're right. Albert Pujols did not nearly pitch well enough, or for enough innings (Can you believe zero innings? What a bum!) for the Cardinals to to make the playoffs. (The Phillies had a team ERA of 3.88; the Cardinals 4.19. Albert Pujols? More like Albert Not A Very Good Pitching Coach!)
Pujols should have lobbied to have St. Louis the city moved to Oregon, where his Cardinals would have won the NL West by two games and he would be lauded as a clutch MVP baseball superhero with quality intangibles and a leader with the uncanny ability to come through when it counts. But unfortunately, Pujols has never been good at getting entire cities to spontaneously change their geographical locations.
Ryan Howard batted .168 in April. Albert Pujols' batting averages, by month (and I know batting average doesn't matter. Here they are anyway): .365, .373, .302, .347, .398, .321. Bob Klapisch, do you think for some reason that games played in April don't count in the standings? Ryan Howard batted .213 in August.
Cubs-Dodgers starts in 10 minutes. Huge series -- probably the most intriguing DS in a pretty overall-intriguing DS year. Cubs trying to overcome 100 years of failure, the result of a curse put on them by a man with a goat. (This, unlike other curses, is actually true. It is an actual curse. A real-life witchcraft/black arts type situation. I know, I know -- I don't generally believe in curses, but in this case, science, logic, and reason all point to the Cubs' failure to win a World Series being the result of an honest-to-God occult situation. It's hard-core fucking Goonies type stuff. That's the deal.) And the Dodgers trying to overcome exceptional mediocrity with the help of Manny Ramirez, who apparently, Red Sox fans are surprised to find out, has been phoning it in since July of 2002.
Anyway, it should be a very interesting series, and not just because it's fun to listen to Ron Santo's insane-yet-somehow-charming homerism. But let's get right to the heart of the matter. How do Yankee fans feel about it?
I mean, that's obviously the #1 fucking thing we all have on our minds, right? Where do average, run of the mill Yankee fans stand on the Cubs-Dodgers series? Someone should fucking write about that. Is everyone going to just ignore that huge fucking question mark? Is the liberal media just going to blow off the single most important question heading into the Cubs-Dodgers series -- namely: how do Yankee fans feel about it?! This is an outrage. This is a farce. I cannot believe that nobody is going to investigate how Yankee fans feel about the Cubs-Dodgers series. I swear to God--
NEW YORK -- Along the avenue that borders the bleacher entrances to Yankee Stadium, the souvenir shops remained shuttered on Tuesday, as did most of the bars and restaurants. There will be no baseball in the Bronx until next year, and none left in this 85-year-old facility.
So there's no point in writing an article about the Yankees right now. The End.
But two figures near and dear to Yankees' fans hearts will take their teams head-to-head in the National League Division Series, as Joe Torre's Dodgers and Lou Piniella's Cubs prepare to open their best-of-five series on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on TBS at Wrigley Field.
Lou Piniella, I'm sorry, is not a "Yankee." Lou Piniella is more a Mariner, a [Devil] Ray, or a Red than a Yankee. I know he played for them for like 12 years, but he wasn't like super good, really, and he's way more well-known for being a manager these days, and he won a WS with the Reds, and 116 games with the Mariners one year...
Hey -- Jeff Suppan is on the Brewers now, and Matt Stairs plays for Philly. Why don't you go ask Pirates' fans how they deal with the gut-wrenching choice of who to root for.
And yes, I am saying that Jeff Suppan is as important to the Pirates as Joe Torre is to the Yankees. And yes, that is totally fair. And no, I will not be reading my email after I post this.
Outside the press entrance at Yankee Stadium, fans clustered for autographs from players cleaning out their lockers for the last time. Even though their Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, many still felt a rooting interest with Torre, who brought the Bombers there 12 times.
"I'm rooting for Torre. I'll always root for him, no matter what," said Jason Cardona, a 33-year-old Yankees fan from the Bronx. "[Piniella] wasn't like Joe Torre. He never won the World Series four times.
Hey Bryan. Great article on how Yankees fans feel about the Cubs-Dodgers series. Great stuff. I love the part where some random guy says he's rooting for the Yankees because of Joe Torre. That really cut to the quick. But you know what would make the article even more interesting? If you could somehow find someone...who isn't so sure who to root for.
Pat Bostonia of Wayne, N.J., was more conflicted. A season-ticket holder who estimated she attended more than 1,000 Yankees home games since the late 1970s, Bostonia, 49, was not sure who she'd prefer to see move on to the NL Championship Series.
"[Torre is] a great manager and a great guy, and I say good for him," Bostonia said. "I don't wish him any harm. To tell you the truth, if [the Yankees] aren't in, it just doesn't mean anything to me. I do wish him the best.
"If the Yankees aren't in, it just doesn't mean anything to me." And with that simple declaration, the author of this article, and his employer, MLB.com, realized there was nothing interesting about this angle, and decided never to publish it. And that's why you never read it, and I never commented it about it, and you never read my commentary, and none of us wasted our time.
"But I'm also a big fan of Lou Piniella.
Uh oh! Now what kind of boring non-bind do we find ourselves in?!
I'm not watching anything. I'm going to go home and put my head in a corner. Lou's a real doll, kicking the dirt and everything. I love them both."
Wow, this is getting pretty goddamn uninteresting. We'd better keep going. Is it possible to interview a woman with a comical name that sounds like it was made up by Jackie Mason in the 1960's?
Miriam Pinto, who drove to Yankee Stadium from Springfield, Mass., to say goodbye to the old place one last time, said the Dodgers-Cubs series would probably draw her in only because of the 68-year-old man filling out Los Angeles' lineup cards.
"I'll probably flip back and forth on them, but to see Joe Torre sitting there, I think that's a good thing," Pinto said. "I'm upset the Yankees aren't there, but Joe Torre deserves it. I think [the Yankees] let him go in the wrong way."
There you have it. A made-up woman with a ridiculous name is a fan of Joe Torre. But what about people with names that are bad parodies of Italian-American Sopranos-style goombahs? What do they think?
"I was glad that he left for somewhere else," added Savino Stallone, 54, who made the drive from Stormville, N.Y., with his daughter, Jennifer, and son, Joseph.
1. There's no one named "Savino Stallone" in the whole world.
2. There's no such place as "Stormville, NY." This is a parody of Italian people. You got drunk and made all of this up.
3. If there were actually a person named Savino Stallone, from Stormville, NY, his kids would not be named Jennifer and Joseph. They would be named I-Roc and Pasta Fagiole.
Steve Lombardi, who operates the Yankees fan site WasWatching.com -- a play on Phil Rizzuto's old scorecard trick of writing "WW" for plays he'd missed -- plans to watch the NLDS closely, believing that the winner may very well go on to win the NL pennant.
Here -- I'll rewrite this graf in a way that points out how pointless this article is:
Steve Lombardi, who likes baseball, plans to watch the NLDS closely, believing that the winner may very well go on to win the NL pennant.
When the part of the paragraph that links it to the overall premise can be removed without any consequence to the paragraph, there is something wrong with the premise.
"I want to see the Cubs win it all because I believe that gives Lou Piniella an excellent shot at making Cooperstown as a manager," Lombardi wrote in an e-mail.
You emailed this guy? You sat down and emailed him? This was pre-meditated?!
"Lou won 90 games with the Yankees [in 1986].
Not interesting or remarkable.
He won a ring with the 1990 Reds. His teams in Seattle made the postseason and once won 116 games in a season. Bringing the Cubs their first ring in a century would be the icing on the cake for Lou's resume -- and one that Cooperstown could not ignore."
This is probably true. And you know what no one in the entire world would think about, or care about, or mention in his HOF ceremony? The three years he mediocre-ly managed the Yankees.
Further complicating the issue,
Is that even possible?! This issue is so complicated already!!!!!!!111!!1!!11!11!111!11!!!1111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!111111!!!!!!!1111111111111
on some level, is the makeup of the Dodgers' roster. While Torre, Mattingly and -- to a lesser extent -- Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa and reliever Scott Proctor lend a Yankees flavor, the Red Sox are especially well represented.
Oh shit. Oooooohhhhhhhhhhh shit. There are former Red Sox on the DOdgers?!!?!?!?!?!? How WILL the YANKEE FANS' OPINOINS OF THE CUBS_DODGERS SERIES be changed nowe THAT tTHEY HAVE THIS INFORMATION BAOUT THERE ARE RED SOX FANS on the DoDGERS?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Manny Ramirez hit .396 in 53 games after joining Los Angeles and changed the clubhouse culture of a team that also features Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciaparra, three frequent thorns in the Yankees' sides.
Sure, I'll write this article. How much will I get paid? A dollar a word? Okay. Then I'll just keep writing words until you tell me to stop. Cool?
"Those are former Boston Red Sox players and I'm not too friendly with them," Cardona said. "Like Jorge Posada said on [the YES Network program] 'CenterStage,' he can't stand the Red Sox. I don't blame him. I'll always be a Yankees fan, no matter what."
You heard it here first: Yankee fans will continue to root for the Yankees. How is this not the main headline on Drudge?
"It's very strange, but let me tell you -- since Manny left Boston, I'm a Manny fan now," Pinto added. "He's just got to cut his hair, that's it."
So, let me get this straight. Now that a guy doesn't play for the team you hate, but rather plays for a team you are neutral about, which is managed by your favorite team's former manager, you no longer dislike that player as much?
Where is CNN? Where is the MSM on this? Where is the Presidential address from the Rose Garden? Why am I still typing these dumb sarcastic rejoinders?
Oh my God, look -- he's still writing this article.
Robert Anderson, 45, made the trip to Yankee Stadium from Brooklyn, N.Y., on Tuesday, hoping as much for autographs -- Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain stopped and signed for most -- as to spend a little more time at his favorite stadium.
Saying that "there are a lot of memories in this place," Anderson said his interests would be with the man who steered his club during the most recent dynasty seasons.
This is the same result as the first person you interviewed. Why are you including this?
"I'm pulling for him," Anderson said. "I'll go for the Dodgers. You've got Torre, Mattingly, Bowa. I'll watch it, but it will never be the same because we're not in it."
So there you have it. Yankee fans: owners of various boring feelings about an event that doesn't really affect them.
I know you probably think you're a guy who "doesn't rely on stats" and "thinks there's more to the game than numbers," but I submit to you that the only reason you selected Francisco Rodriguez to be your AL MVP (MVP!) is that he corralled a large (a record, in fact -- !) number of saves. Saves, as I'm sure you've been told many times, are a ridiculous stat, the kind of stat that gives stats a bad name. So you really shouldn't use them when making such important decisions as selecting your fictional #1 MVP choice on your fake MVP ballot.
I will now list various players, persons, and other entities in the American League of U.S.A. professional baseball who were more valuable than Francisco Rodriguez:
Grady Sizemore Joe Mauer Dustin Pedroia Alex Rodriguez Carlos Quentin Josh Hamilton Milton Bradley Aubrey Huff Miguel Cabrera Kevin Youkilis Ian Kinsler Brian Roberts Nick Markakis Vladimir Guerrero Mark Teixeira Jermaine Dye Cliff Lee Roy Halladay Ervin Santana Joe Saunders Jon Lester Daisuke Matsuzaka John Danks Joe Nathan Mariano Rivera Joakim Soria Joe Maddon Terry Francona Mike Scioscia The crowd at Camden Yards A replay monitor Heart, the intangible quality Heart, the band Ed Hochuli The wind Chief Wahoo Jim Abbott Curtis Pride Gravity Roberto Petagine Levi Johnston Birds -- all of them. Just birds in general. This guy Rick who fixed my rearview mirror Monster.com Zombie Bernie Mac I bet if Scot Shields or Jose Arredondo were the closer they would have broken Bobby Thigpen's record too, I'm just saying -- does this count as an entity? Evan Longoria
I want to stop writing about Jon Heyman. We're not targeting him, we're not keeping an eye on him, we don't have anything personal against him. Honestly: you send shit in, we read each thing, and then we decide which things make us angry.
I mean, look, it's late, I just ate a giant bone-in ribeye and I'm sleepy. But a quick rundown here: guess who Heyman picks for AL MVP?
(Easy one. Just think about who would make you the angriest.)
Yeah. It's K-Rod. The same K-Rod who ranks something like 80th amongst relief pitchers in WHIP. Behind dudes like Tyler Walker and Mike Lincoln and other made-up names of guys who went to your high school. Don't like WHIP? Fine. He was also only fourth amongst relief pitchers in the AL in WPA.
It gets better. Numbers one and two on Heyman's NL MVP ballot were Manny Ramirez and C.C. Sabathia, two men who combined to play something like 4 total innings in the NL. I'm not even being nitpicky here. Take a look at the MVP criteria:
The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:
1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.
See number two there? Yeah. Apparently the rules of voting don't mean a goddamn thing to Jon Heyman.
So here's my secret way to win the MVP. Play 50 games really well, then sit out the rest of the year. Say you injured your biceps, your triceps, your quadriceps, and your quinticeps (these are fake muscles). Then wait until the end of the year and pray that your team narrowly makes the playoffs. You point to your amazing 50-game run and Jon Heyman and his ilk immediately choose to ignore the literally hundreds of players who played full seasons in blatant disregard for the rules of voting.
Or how about this: people like Heyman say that if your team doesn't make the playoffs, then the whole season is essentially completely devoid of value. Nothing -- nothing you do can redeem your individual performance. But let's take it a step further. No one remembers who gets eliminated in the NLDS. Hell, who cares who loses in the World Series? The only team that has a season of value at all is the team that wins it all. So let's wait until the absolute end of the playoffs, until the final out is recorded, and every year we'll give the MVP to the guy who has the ball when the World Series ends. 'Cause fuck every guy who's not on a winner. Fuck you if your teammates were only good enough to get you to within one win of the wild card. That renders your season moot.
I will insert a baseball-playing tarsier at first base in Game 7 of the World Series, and when the closer fields a comebacker to the mound and flips it to that tarsier, I will declare the tarsier the MVP of baseball because without him who knows what would have happened to the team during that final out and isn't that the definition of value? Yes. Yes it is.