New York Yankees all-star Alex Rodriguez has been a media target since the first day he put on his pinstripes.
Mind you, A-rod didn’t help the cause along the way. Still, no matter what, when you are the highest paid player in New York and add that to a presence that made Jeter fans feel threatened, getting attention was inevitable.
Trying to describe A-rod’s time as a Yankee is almost impossible, but it continues to be filled with heavy expectations that he is paid to play.
This season seemed no different, until I watched A-rod’s press conference at the start of 2011 Spring Training. He really looked happy, which was refreshing and well deserved. He has dropped 10+ pounds, got the green light regarding his hip injury, which finally made A-rod just normal.
First thought in my head was, good for him. I have always had A-rod’s back until recently, but I blame it on being brainwashed temporarily.
Mr. Aaron is a living legend, and one that I thought had more class than to compare teammates who still play right next to each other (Jeter & A-rod).
Mr. Aaron’s comments about A-rod were hurtful, unnecessary and if it was supposed to be constructive criticism there are other ways to go about it. Sadly, his other answers were pretty un-interesting but since the article started with the A-rod questions it was hard to even want to read anymore, like how Joe Torre was lady killer.
Here is why I think Mr. Aaron owes an apology to A-rod:
Q: Do you think Alex Rodriguez is a threat to break the all-time home run record?
A: I think he is. If he puts things where it’s supposed to be at. I think Rodriguez has got too many irons in the fire right now. I think his head’s not level enough to the point where he can have the kind of year that it takes in order to go past all of the records in the book. Q: In what way?Continue reading ‘Hank Aaron Takes A Cheap Shot At Yankees Alex Rodriguez’ »
Here at Lady Loves Pinstripes, I had the pleasure of interviewing Through The Fence Baseball founder Jamie Shoemaker, who answered all my questions about his wonderful site. Shoemaker also discusses the upcoming season and of course I got his opinion on the New York Yankees.
With the 2011 season just four weeks away, it is the perfect time to check out some baseball websites, and Through The Fence Baseball is one you will want to be familiar with…here is my Q & A:
1) How did you come up with the concept for Through The Fences?
I came up with Through The Fence Baseball out of the blue. I was trying to think of a title I could run with that relates to a baseball saying. Playing baseball all my life, I had a coach that would always say “Hit the ball through the fence, not over. It forces you to stay within yourself and in the end, you ultimately achieve the later”. That same coach would tell outfielders the same thing when tracking down a ball “Run through the fence, not to the fence”. I’m really not sure how often that worked out in our favor. So, we’re attempting to go through the fence, not over.
Connections and being able to show what you believe in with confidence. We have some great interviews and partnerships coming up that we are really excited about.
3) Through The Fences has a cool blog by Toronto Blue Jay Ryan Shopshire, who is writing about his trip through the minors; do you think we will see him in the majors during this season?
You know, anything can happen! At Through The Fence Baseball, we would love for him to see action in the Majors this year. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are projecting him to hit the majors this summer. He finished at A+ last year. Not sure yet on where he will start this year. I guess a September call up is a best-case scenario right now. I’ll be honest; I’m not too familiar with the Blue Jays minor league system. Not sure on how many pitching prospects have the inside track.
4) Is Through The Fences just mainly a place for baseball fans or are you hoping it leads to something else long-term?
It’s always going to be a place for baseball fans. We’re hoping it leads to big things long-term! Like I said before, we have some great things coming up and some interesting content waiting to be published. We’re excited and our writers are too. Don’t want to give away too much, too early. We have some work with Charities and MLB sponsored companies coming up on the horizon.
The New York Yankees spilt games with the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend, but these exhibition game outcomes don’t forecast anything in terms of regular season success.
What it does allow is for managers and coaches to hold auditions for unfilled positions and players to fight for a spot on the 25-roasters.
As everyone knows, the Yankees are looking for a fourth and fifth starter to fill out the back end of the rotation, while watching the progress of catcher Russell Martin’s health and figuring out who will be his back up between star prospect Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli.
The success of the Yankees is also looming on the continued maturity of Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano, much better pitching by AJ Burnett and the rebirth of shortstop Derek Jeter.
Here are some things to note from the first weekend out of Yankees camp:
Pitcher Bartolo Colon pitched a solid two innings in Saturday’s opener. He displayed a mid-90’s fastball, changeup and a cutter. Colon threw 23 of 36 for strikes, giving up one walk, two hits and a run, which sets the bar for the Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre and Freddie Garcia to match. Colon pitched this winter in the Dominican Republic, where he went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA over seven starts. He did come to camp 25 pounds overweight, but past elbow problems didn’t bother the 38-year-old at all.
All the fuss about how much bigger Joba Chamberlain looked when he arrived to Tampa was put to rest on Saturday. Chamberlain came out attacking in the third inning, clocking a 94 mph fastball and posting one strikeout. Chamberlain tweaked his starting motion in the off-season, dropping his hands from chest to belt level, and it seems to have paid off.
Ivan Nova started the second game and was dynamite. Throwing 14 strikes out of 21 pitches, Nova baffled the heart of the Phillies order with a three-pitch strikeout of Ryan Howard. Nova looked good.
Sergio Mitre followed Nova by pitching a scoreless inning, as he has a chance to be a starter but is almost more useful as used as a Longman out of the bullpen. Mitre will make one more emergence out of the bullpen before he makes his first start.
Touted pitching prospect Dellin Betances made his Spring Training debut on Sunday and struck-out the side, allowing one walk in a scoreless fifth inning. Betances will start the season in Double A, but if the 22-year-old keeps developing at this rate he has future ace written all over him.
After finishing the 2008 season without making the playoffs, the Yankees went on an offseason spending spree. The team’s biggest purchase was ace Sabathia, who inked a monster contract worth $152 million to keep him in pinstripes for seven seasons.
Sabathia, being from the West Coast, was reluctant to call the Bronx home. So, along with the cash came an opt-out clause that allowed for Sabathia to say adios at his discretion after three seasons.
The added reassurance might have been the reason Sabathia finally signed but now could cost the Yankees their ace or dollars, and Yankee fans are concerned.
From the moment Sabathia stepped on the mound at Yankee Stadium, he has been worth every penny.
To say he is the Yankees’ ace is an understatement, as Sabathia has been a CY Young-caliber pitcher, posting a 40-15 record, a 3.27 ERA, with 394 strikeouts. He is an absolute workhorse and innings-eater, throwing for 468 total.
The Yankees won the 2009 World Series and made it to the 2010 ALCS on Sabathia’s shoulders. He was named the 2009 ALCS MVP, made the 2010 All-Star team and came in fourth and second in the CY Young voting respectively.
Not only is this 6’7″ athlete a giant player but an absolutely delightful teammate, who was embraced by Yankee fans like he had been here his whole career.
So, when Sabathia answered the question of why he wouldn’t opt out during a TV interview at a Knicks game on December 8, 2010, fans thought the ace said he was here to stay.
Sabathia’s exact words were:
“I signed up for seven years, and this is a good organization. You get a chance to win a championship every year, so it was an easy decision.”
Another tough break before Spring Training games even start. The team failed to lock in Albert Puljos who will hit the free agent market at the end of 2011; and just yesterday utility infielder Nick Punto will have surgery for a sports hernia with an expected two to three months.
Cardinal’s fans appear to be in for a ruff ride in 2011.
Pitching is one half of what makes St. Louis successful, specifically the pitching dominance of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, who 2-3 respectively in 2009 National League CY Young voting. In 2010, Wainwright again missed the CY Young again coming in second to winner Roy Halladay.
Last season, Wainwright posted a 20-11 record, with a 2.42 ERA, striking out 213, with five complete games and two shutouts in just over 230 innings pitched.
This leaves the Cardinals with two options, either go get another pitcher or trade the healthier half of the duo Chris Carpenter.
Here is the problem, even with Carpenter posting a 16-9 record, a 3.22 ERA over 235 innings in 2010, his will be 36-years-old come April and that is not ideal trade for another team in the long-term. Plus it also leaves the Cardinals without a true ace, and Carpenter is also an experienced leader.
The other and more likely outcome will be to depend on pitching coach Dave Duncan to do what he does best and transform some older promising prospects, like Lance Lynn and Ian Snell into formidable starters. If anyone can accomplish this feat it is Duncan, as he is deemed as a connoisseur in terms of pitching coaches.
Wainwright is 29 years old, and clearly has been effective and dominant as the team’s ace.
It is bad news, no doubt about it the Cardinals and their fans are singing the St. Louis Blues.
If the team thought last season was tough, get ready for life to get harder repeating it all over again.
Unlike being crowned champs, keeping that title again successfully is when a team becomes a dynasty.
For the Giants it would cement them in sports history; as no National League team since the 75’-76’ Cincinnati Reds, also known as ‘The Big Red Machine” has been able to accomplish the feat of repeat.
Well, the Giants do have their own ‘Machine’ whose ass is whiter than Powder. Still, whether San Fran’s version can keep his thong for 162 games is a whole different story.
Let’s take a look at the self-proclaimed ‘Castoffs and misfits’:
The young staff is lead by 26-year-old Tim Lincecum, who in his first four seasons has been an All-Star three times and won back-to-back CY Young Awards in 08’ and 09’. This guy is called ‘the freak’ because he is that good; posting career stats that read 907 strikeouts, a 3.04 ERA over a total of 811 innings pitched.
Look for Lincecum to only get better with the added experience and a newly added slider that debut in September to be thrown for a full season. As the saying goes, “where there’s dope, there’s hope.”
Three more youngsters in Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner follow Lincecum and if they can all maintain 2010 performances that would be welcomed. It would be ideal and more likely that they all take steps forward this rotation is not one any team will want to face.
The bullpen is pretty solid. Closer Brian Wilson racked up a major league-leading 48 saves last season and my dreams say he remains one of the best in baseball again.
Catcher Buster Posey is a player that doesn’t come around often, as haven’t heard “the Giants version of Derek Jeter” said about anyone. Posey is just 23 and only became the full time Giants catcher on July 1, 2010, but that was all the time needed.
In 108 games, Posey posted a .305 batting average; hit 18 homeruns, 23 doubles, 67 RBIs and 124 hits. He also guided the pitching staff and the team to a record of 63-37, with 11 being postseason wins. Posey’s stats without question go from great to superior, but that is not why he is already a household name.
Posey displays a personality well beyond his years. He is a leader, humble, not attention seeking but holds guys accountable, as well as himself. Posey has baseball fans everywhere watching him for all the right reasons; he is what every team dreams to find. Well, the Giants certainly have found theirs in Posey.
The City of San Francisco hadn’t seen a playoff game since 2003 and since the team’s arrival in 1969 the city had never won a World Series Championship until last season.
Now that fact is just ancient history, and the City by the Bay has caught baseball fever. Nothing inspires a team more than the fans.
A lot has been written that it is the Giants team chemistry that is the glue, but who doesn’t get along when you’re winning? Fact, the fans are the oil when chemistry causes rust.
Look for Giants top prospect 1B Brandon Belt to debut mid-season, as he is major league ready.
Following a dreadful 2010, Pablo Sandoval got to work in the off-season. Sandoval dropped 38 pounds and if he can get back to 2009 form of hitting 25 homeruns, that is good news.
NO MOVES IS BAD NEWS
There was no comfort provided by the Giants only off-season moves of adding Miguel Tejada to be their shorting shortstop, resigning Pat the Bat and handing Audrey Huff $22 million bucks for two more seasons for what he did in 2010.
Pat Burrell might lose his regular outfield spot to Huff and we have all witnessed how unproductive Pat is with the bat as a DH. Huff’s deal prolongs seeing 1B prospect Brandon Belt promotion, and Tejada playing the most athletic position on the field for $6.5 million bucks….need I say more? Actually yes, it was a big waste of money, except Burrell inking a 1 for $1 million.
Wouldn’t getting an extra starting pitcher in case of injury have been a smarter move?
THE PHILLIES AND ROCKIES
Fact is the Phillies got much better and I don’t think they meant to lose to the Giants in the 2010 NLCS. Actually, the Phillies should have won because they were better last season. If the Giants want to look at an NL team as models for success, look to all aspects of what goes on in Philadelphia.
The Rockies off-season was even better than Philadelphia’s by inking stars SS Troy Tulowitzki and OF Carlos Gonzalez to long-term deals. Also, the Rockies were injury riddled last season and seemed more determined than ever. The Rockies bullpen is awesome, pitching is good enough and the bats can hit which makes for a very competitive team.
TOO MUCH ATTENTION
Champions draw media attention, but when players are acting more Hollywood than athlete it doesn’t fare well. Look I am all for having a personality, growing a beard and even a ‘Machine’ for a mascot, but having Showtime cameras documenting a team’s every move for a reality show will not fare well. Especially, in addition to the added media interest that comes with every championship team. Continue reading ‘2011 MLB Team Preview: The Champion San Francisco Giants’ »