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New York Yankees: Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild And The AJ Burnett Test

Immediately following the World Series, the New York Yankees announced the termination of pitching coach Dave Eliand, which came as no surprise.

There were many guessing games of who might be Eiland’s replacement. The front-runners looked to be current bullpen coach Mike Harkey; Rick Kranitz, who has worked with Yankees skipper Joe Girardi before; and Scott Aldred, who currently serves the role in Triple-A Scranton for the last two seasons.

Fans were suggesting that David Cone, Al Leiter or Mike Mussina might bring their experience on the mound to the other side. Since none of the three have ever coached, the likelihood was slim.

Then the decision was announced that Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild was now bringing his talents to the Yankees.

It was a tad confusing because minimal interest had been expressed about Rothschild coming to the Bronx, as the Cubs had him signed through 2011.

The Cubs let Rothschild out of his contract stating that Rothschild wanted to spend more time near his Tampa, FL home. Since the Yankees train in Tampa, this move for Rothschild was exactly what he was looking to make.

No doubt Yankee fans should be elated to get Rothschild, who comes with 36-years of professional baseball experience and also coached Girardi as a player in Chicago back in 2002.

Rothschild has a reputation of being a noteworthy communicator, who does his homework but continually does the extra-credit. A lot of the qualities that Girardi brings as a manager, so Rothschild should fit perfectly on the staff.

As part of the interview process, Rothschild had to analyze video on AJ Burnett and give in detail how he would fix the Yankees pitching staff’s black sheep.

Considering Rothschild had just finished his eighth year helping the Cubs, last season’s correlation of hotheaded and unpredictable Carlos Zambrano might have helped in his answers.

Rothschild also made it clear that his motto is “repeat deliveries,” as it leads to better location and control. Well, lucky for Rothschild that Burnett is the poster child for disaster on the mound and his theories will be tested from every situation.

This move is a positive one for the Yankees, as obviously Eiland was having off-the-field issues that were more important and distracted him from doing his job.

Rothschild has coached twice on World Series Championship teams in 1990 for the Cincinnati Reds and in 1997 for the Florida Marlins. This definitely played a factor for the Yankees, who like guys who have been to the big stage and had success on it.

In his first day in pinstripes, Rothschild called each pitcher to schedule training dates prior to the start of 2011 Spring Training.

Hey, nothing feels better than hiring a real go-getter. It would seem that Rothschild wasn’t going to waste a minute.

Trust me, Rothschild has his work cut out for him with Burnett alone.

Without a doubt, all we know is that Rothschild knows how to win, and that is what Yankee Universe likes to hear.

New York Yankees: Trying To Digest This Derek Jeter Mess

New York Yankee pinstripes are the only uniform Derek Jeter has worn in his professional baseball career.

Over his 16 seasons in those pinstripes, Jeter maintained the shortstop position and for the last 11 years has been the team’s Captain.

Jeter all-around made it easy to forget that he is actually human, but reality kicked in this past season—not surprising, considering he is 36 plus years old.

Coming to Jeter’s defense, it was just one bad season and it followed a career best in 2009.

In most situations, a person would inevitably get the benefit of the doubt, except in professional sports, due to the high demands it entails physically.

Contracts and salaries are impacted by age, which makes sense in view of the physical demands of the job.

Jeter is special to the Yankees organization, without question. He is a natural leader whose presence alone demands respect. Jeter’s humble demeanor is unique for a man with his status and successes.

His legacy is not and never will be in question.

So, the timing of Jeter’s Yankee contract expiring is not ideal. Where do you draw the line between what Jeter has done and what his future beholds on the baseball field?

The answer is you acknowledge both: Jeter’s significance in the past is grand enough that it should be reflected with his new contract, but so does his wear and tear.

The Yankees know this, and the organization acted accordingly.

GM Brian Cashman, along with Owner Hal Steinbrenner and President Randy Levine offered Jeter a three-year contract with a base salary of $21 million dollars per season.

To say that offer is fair would be an understatement.

Three more years are all the risk the Yankees should take, unless Jeter shows them otherwise at age 40.

The $21 million a season is above and beyond Jeter’s current value, but it exhibits the organizations gratitude and respect for Jeter the person.

It is not my place to guess what Jeter is thinking or what is behind his reasoning of not accepting this contract.

Yankee fans want the Captain back, as clearly does the organization.

For the first time, I am questioning whether Jeter wants to continue wearing his pinstripes and at what cost.

Let me make it clear, this is something I never thought or wanted to doubt.

NFL: Brett Favre’s Privates Are Part of the Commissioner’s Conduct Policy

The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy gives Commissioner Roger Goodell the right to suspend players for making bad decisions that reflect on the game.

The policy defines this behavior as, “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League.”

Commissioner Goodell’s line between acceptable or non-punishable to suspension seems very gray. What off-the-field manners does Goodell consider tolerable enough too not embarrass the NFL’s character?

The reason for my confusion is the hush-hush approach Goodell is taking regarding the Brett Favre situation. Enough time has certainly passed now; in view of all parties have been interviewed and it has been weeks now.

ESPN has been abnormally silent; instead of broaching the subject with there normal over-dramatizing, invasive and annoyingly repeating the same subject tactics. Everyone knows how obsessed the network is with Brett Favre.

Favre is having the worst season of his career, the Vikings look awful overall but the QB still manages to get the abundant of Sports Center’s attention. This juicy subject has been kept to a dull roar, so viewers are subjected to Favre’s weekly injury and post-loss press conference hourly.

Goodell was a bat out of hell when it came to Ben Roethlisberger’s touchy behavior that the authorities couldn’t rally enough evidence to prosecute, but Goodell suspended him for six games. Than at the season’s start dropped Big Ben’s grounding-time down to four games.

Why is Brett Favre’s behavior less detrimental than Roethlisberger’s antics?

Favre is married, harassed fellow employees, as two other New York Jets staffers have come forward about Favre’s sexual advances and one of the two is married.

Incessant inappropriate voice-mails, texts messages and pictures of his penis are pretty inappropriate if you ask me. Don’t you dare think this is all Favre is guilty of because what about the women who responded. It is inevitable that some did, especially in heavily populates and celebrity obsessed NYC.

Favre is a husband, a father, and a grandfather and is much older than Roethlisberger. Big Ben seems to have changed himself around, but he never craved the spotlight like Favre. Not many athletes do, as Favre acts like he is the teacher’s only student in the classroom.

For a player I once highly respected and admired, Favre is now damaged goods that walk around like he is a god-like, when all he gives a crap about is his consecutive games started record.

Favre is not a team player; actually he is everything wrong with sports today.

In essence it’s better for fans to see his true colors, instead of being blinded by the bullshit of Brett Favre.

The NFL, Wrangler and ESPN all seem to support Brett’s behavior, as nothing has been done of the contrary.

What’s ironic is that Favre has done more harm than Vick, Roethlisberger and Plexico combined by not taking full responsibility for his actions and being still allowed to play without question is a major contributor, so the NFL should at least acknowledge this situation.

Commissioner Goodell watched MLB fall hard for being wishy-washy; the NFL is heading right down the same path.

The window for the NFL to make Favre accountable is still cracked. Goodell should suspend him for a game or two so Favre loses his precious record.

I have still not encountered one football fan that respects Favre anymore. The common theme of the responses I have heard is they just want Brett Favre to go away.

New York Giants: Get Back To Being Best Team in NFL Again for Week 11 or Else

The 2010 New York Giants have been pretty on-target with the rest of the NFL’s motto, which is completely unpredictable.

There is no leader of the pack as we enter the second half of the season. Never have more teams been named the best team in the NFL this season on ESPN after 10 games.

This is not due to an influx of sheer talent, but more due too penalties and sloppy play.

It seems like each team has a major flaw somewhere, and too many players just don’t seem to understand the definition of team anymore.

Now that my ulcer has subsided after watching the Giants host the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday, I can admit that the outcome came as no surprise.

The Giants went into Sunday on a five-game winning streak, but the G-men started the season 1-2 and the one win was one of the sloppiest games I had seen.

The Cowboys record was an NFL worst at 1-7 before week 10. Add that to another Tony Romo injury, and a team of players who actually admitted they didn’t try.

Just thinking about how bad in it was Dallas made me sweat thinking of how pissed-off stanch owner Jerry Jones had to be, while having flashes if it were my New York Yankees not trying and the heads that would be rolling.

Jones finally fired coach Wade Phillips, promoting offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who, it has been said, could run for president and win if he wanted to.

Then days before Sunday I look at the point spreads, which was obviously in favor of the Giants but by 15 points.

That spread seemed ridiculous if you consider the talented slackers on the Cowboys, a new motivated leader in Garrett and a team with nothing to lose.

The spread of the 2007 Super Bowl only gave the Giants 12 points against the undefeated, super-power New England Patriots.

This shocked my confidence, along with hearing the next day: “We’re now the best team in the National Football League,” out of Brandon Jacobs’ mouth.

The formula didn’t look to be in the Giants favor, as a cocky attitude and with a spread backing that notion up has never worked for the G-men.

The Giants are the best underdogs in football. Hopefully the embarrassing 33-20 thrashing they got from the Cowboys will put the Giants back to feeling that reality again.

The Giants are a darn good football team, and Sunday’s loss also was due to Eli having one of his seasonal off-games.

Manning has one to three of these games a season, where he can’t hit the slot and the receivers start to run the routes differently to compensate as the game gets deeper. But the defense sucked too.

Even with the Cowboys being hyped up, the Giants are a better team.

When a team consistently wins for five games in a row, the way the G-men did, one stomach-churning loss can be hailed as a bad day.

The Giants will surely be tested in Week 11 visiting the Philadelphia Eagles.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBnfUpQB4Lo

If you missed Monday Night Football this week, get on NFL.com and watch the replays or the whole first half of the Eagles playing Washington Redskins.

It is one of the best performances by a quarterback ever, thanks to the Eagles’ Michael Vick. Scoring 45 points in the first half was all due to Vick, and if this guy keeps getting better, I do not know anyone who can stop him.

Considering Vick outplayed the entire Redskins team himself, it will take the best team in the NFL to beat him.

What perfect timing for the Giants to prove themselves worthy of that title again.

MLB Hot Stove: Carl Pavano to the New York Yankees Only If He Pays

This player’s name is the last one any New York Yankee player or fan wants to hear: Carl Pavano, also known in the Bronx as the “American Idle.”

Let me put it this way, for those of you who thought Javier Vazquez was disliked in the Bronx, Pavano makes Vazquez the Yankees prom-king.

Truth remains that Pavano is the next free agent considered to be worthwhile behind Cliff Lee, for at least 29 MLB teams.

Here is my warning…PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Most Yankees fans never saw Pavano on the mound. That is because he only pitched 26 games, with injuries all the way from his shoulder to his buttocks. Pavano had record of 9-8 while in pinstripes, so his option for a fourth year was never going to happen.

Pavano’s three years in the Yankees rotation turned into more like $39.95 million vacation.

Pavano left New York with the impression of a slacker, as ironically the minute he was out of Yankees uniform he preformed well again and injury-free.

In 2009, Pavano made 33 starts, 21 games as a Cleveland Indiana and 12 as a Minnesota Twin. Pavano threw 200 innings in total, 50 more innings than his three-year total in the Bronx. Pavano threw one shutout and one complete game in 2009, to go along with his 147 strikeouts.

To go from zero to hero in one offseason is all the proof that was needed.

This past season Pavano was the Twins ace, finishing with a 17-11 record, over 221 innings, striking out 117 batters and an ERA of 3.75. He spent a total of zero days on the DL for the second season in a row. Pavano also was named the Twins pitcher of the year for 2010.

Nothing is more cowardly than not trying, taking the easy way out. Pavano might be a rich man, but one who can’t walk around publicly in New York City. At least I would not advise it, nor would he want to run into me.

Whether or not Pavano says his elbow, shoulder, knee, ribs and ass injuries were all real became irrelevant by his actions. They told another story, of a pitcher Yankee fans never knew, and it happened in too short a time considering the extent of this man’s injuries.

Hopefully, Pavano is a changed athlete because of the weak market sans Lee he is sure to go for a much higher price in this offseason market.

At least I know one fact, Carl Pavano won’t be an overpaid Yankee and that is a sentence  rarely said about any player and the Bronx Bombers.

More of a reason—Yankees better offer Cliff Lee the moon, sun and Pavano’s ass to get him in pinstripes.

GM Brain Cashman says the Yankees don’t need Lee. I agree, it’s much more desperate than that, the Yankees will bleed Lee if necessary.

  • Playoff Pavano nothing like NY bust (nypost.com)
  • Twins’ Pavano in position to send Yankees to early exit (nypost.com)
  • New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins ALDS Series Breakdown, Part 2 (ladylovespinstripes.com)
  • MLB Hot Stove: Separating New York Yankees Fact from Fiction (ladylovespinstripes.com)
  • New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins: ALDS Series Breakdown, Part Three (ladylovespinstripes.com)

MLB Hot Stove: New York Yankees Cheapest Cliff Lee Back-Up Plan

The New York Yankees are not shying away about who they want to be in pinstripes in 2011.

Ace Cliff Lee has already been paid a visit by GM Brian Cashman. Lately questions have been raised about Lee, a country bumpkin coming to the Big Apple and if more money means as much in his decision.One thing is for sure, Mrs. Lee better not step foot into Yankee Stadium if her husband is not in pinstripes.

Regardless, Lee’s Yankee future is not guaranteed. The remaining free agent options for starting pitchers are bleak in comparison, as none hold a candle to Lee’s kind-of talent.

So, a back-up plan is inevitable. Last week, I talked about three possible alternatives in New York Yankees: Three Possible Cliff Lee Back-Up Plans. Now, I am going to add another viable option, while its likelihood is a long shot.

The Yankees do have the alternative to look internally.

It’s a risk they took with Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, which turned into a circus. Hughes is luckily legit now, but the Yankees lost Joba in order to figure out what they were doing and Kennedy is gone but he never was there to begin with as a Yankee.

This talent lies in the arm of Manny Banuelos. Banuelos is a 19 year-old lefty, who is only 5’10 and hails from Mexico.

Banuelos has displayed the maturity of a Major League pitcher, which is clear by the way he controls his emotions on the mound. Banuelos attitude follows, as it is right-on both on and off the field.

Banuelos throws a mid-nineties+ fastball with remarkable movement; a fantastic change-up and a curve-ball that he is improving on.

Banuelos can keep developing his pitching techniques because he already displays a consistent delivery off the mound. Translation is the youngster is comfortable out there already, at least in the minor leagues.

This kid is turning into the real deal, but the Yankees have to have a game plan and stick to it this time.

Rules are supposed to be followed, not broke to be used as excuses for reckless decisions by the managerial staff.

Regardless, this can’t even happen without a confirmation that Andy Pettitte is coming back and even if he does this is an option that should be a last resort. It provides zero depth in the rotation, which could end the season real fast.

Still, Pettitte better hurry it up, instead of becoming the baseball version of Brett Favre.

Acting bigger than the game is not a trait Pettitte shares with Favre that we know of, so let’s presume Pettitte lets the Yankees know by Thanksgiving at the latest.