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Jay Z is pitching Robinson Cano to the Mets because… I dunno

According to numerous reports, Jay Z met with New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco to discuss current unrestricted free-agent Robinson Cano, because… uhm… actually, I have no idea why this meeting occurred.

I get that the Mets are not exactly tight at second base, but their financial issues have been well documented – as well documented at the $300 million/10 year deal Jay Z is seeking for Cano. When you couple these two things together, it’s hard to understand why Jay Z would initiate a dinner meeting with the Mets and then pitch Cano to them. Here is an example of the Mets current frugal-ness:

The Mets have been on austerity for years. The largest contract Alderson has handed out to a free agent in four offseasons as the Mets’ general manager was to Frank Francisco, who received a two-year, $12 million contract during the 2011-12 offseason.

Now, you may counter that since this meeting was promptly leaked to the press – and not leaked by the Mets, mind you – it’s easy to start putting two and two together and calculate that Jay Z is trying to create urgency in the marketplace for his client. This seems like a fine strategy… if Jay Z was meeting with the deep pocketed Dodgers, not the bargain basement retreads, we’re seeking a partner to sell part of the team to, thank god our rookie pitching is working out Mets. This gives off the appearance that Jay Z is not aware of the realities around the league. Oh, and speaking of realities around the league, the Dodgers have publicly stated that they have no interest in signing Cano.

It’s not unusual for the free agent market to take this long to take shape – things don’t usually start happening until during or after MLB’s winter meetings, but so far, I’m not sure I understand Jay Z’s strategy… or his new single, for that matter.

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ALCS 2012: Can I get a replay?

I know I’ve been giving Robinson Cano a hard time since the playoffs began, but the umpires seem to really hate him this post season.

cano-safe-at-first

Cano safe at first

out-at-second-2012-alcs

How in the hell did Jeff Nelson miss this call?

Whew – those are some terrible calls, and Cano was involved in both them.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  More to the point, I love that MLB moved aggressively to add the second wild card team but just can’t seem to adapt instant replay, which is even funnier because they moved fast on something they should have moved slowly on and they can’t seem to move fast enough on something with the word ‘instant’ in it’s name.  It boggles the mind.  They have the tools, they have the technology… but they’ll be fucked if they’re going to use it.

Yankees offensive slumber continues, NY Giants rock 49ers

Both games started at 4 PM – that’s just genius. I’m sure you know how things went down by now (even though watching all of both games was impossible) – The NY Giants obliterated the 49ers and the Yankees offensive slump continued as the Tigers went up two games to none in the ALCS.

I was surprised that the Giants were able to run all over the 49ers and had two interceptions, but I guess that’s the reality of the situation – I just didn’t think the 49ers were the sort of team that made those kind of mistakes.

Oh the Yankees and their awful, awful offense – what can you say? Here’s some facts that will make you ill: Robinson Cano is hitless since the first inning of Game Two of the ALDS (his last 26 at-bats) and is 2 for 32, and if that doesn’t sound bad enough, please consider:

- it’s the longest hitless streak in Yankees post season history
– 2 for 32 works out to a .063 batting average; small sample size, I know, but still, that’s the number

I know I’m bashing Cano a lot, but I think he deserves it. Well, at least more than A-Rod does. I know A-Rod stinks (3-23 in 2012 post season), but I don’t expect much from him – Cano is in the prime of his career. On the other hand, the umpires took away one hit from Cano and an out he made at second via the tag, so Cano is just having a lot of bad luck in general besides my bashing.

Hiroki Kuroda was brilliant yesterday – let’s not forget about that. Win or loose, I’ll always remember his excellent start in this series. The Yankees need to make bringing him back for 2013 a top priority as this guy was clearly built for the big stage.

Where’s the crowd?
Yankee Stadium looked a little empty – for a playoff game, that is. Just keep jacking up those parking and ticket prices, guys. Oh, and the $12 George Washington Bridge toll is also great for business!

Well, let’s hope Phil Hugues has some magic in him and Joe Girardi continues to yell at the hitters for not making in game adjustments.

Enough with the A-Rod bashing already!

Look, Yankee fans, I know A-Rod is, for a certain portion of you, the guy you love to hate, but the Alex Rodriguez bashing is getting old.  I know this is the playoffs and the stakes are high, but jeez.  Let’s take a look at the Yankees 2012 post season numbers so far:

yankees-2012-alds-stats-3-games

stats from USA Today

Sure, Ibanez was the big hero last night with two homers, but he only has 5 at bats in this series, so he’s not a regular. As for the every day players,  Jeter, Teixeira and Martin are hitting, but the rest of the starting position players?  Not so much.  If A-Rod didn’t have one more at bat than Granderson, their stats would be identical.  Granderson hit 41 homers this season, and he’s basically turned into an all or nothing guy, and so far, nothing is what has shown up from him… and I haven’t heard one person say shit about that.  Not on the radio, not on the web and not via text.  Everyone just maintains that A-Rod sucks, which isn’t wrong right now, but he’s not the only lifeless bat on this team.  If Cano hadn’t picked up that last minute RBI double in Game 1, he’d be about where A-Rod is in terms of production, and those were just tack on runs…  so why doesn’t anyone complain about Cano?  He’s supposed to be one of the great hitters in the game right now, and he’s not doing much of anything in this series.  And frankly, A-Rod is a broken down old man, but Cano and Granderson are supposed to be in their primes.  What gives?  Where’s the complaints?

I guess the problem is that these other guys are “True Yankees” and A-Rod is just some hired gun… except when he carried the offense on his back to a World Series title in 2009.  But then, that doesn’t count because A-Rod did steroids, right?  Something like that.  Jeter is 6-13 in this series, so who cares if he’s made 2 errors in 3 games and grounded out to 3rd with the bases loaded in a pivotal spot in game 2?  Nobody, that’s who.

I know, I’m just wasting my time trying to convince A-Rod haters that he’s not the reason they lost game 2 and not the reason they offense has been lifeless this series, but I had to try.   I figure A-Rod deserves and advocate because… you know… 2 MVPs with the Yankees.  One World Series title that he had a lot to do with .

Just sayin’.

Does the Yankees slide even matter?

After watching the Yankees for five months, I’m not sure I believe they have what it takes to win a World Series, so even if they don’t make the playoffs, they’re probably just putting us out of our misery early rather than later.  Here are just a few players I’m looking at that would need to drastically improve for the Yankees to make the playoffs and potentially win a world series title.

C.C. Sabathia
Sabathis has been on the DL twice this year – both were precautionary moves, but he just hasn’t looked especially dominate this season, and I think the Yankees need him to be to go all the way.

Robinson Cano
Cano has a lot of talent, but I feel he has regressed this year and I just don’t think he’s every going to become a true super star.  It doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I sure wish he’d run out those ground balls to first like Derek Jeter does… I don’t buy into the theory that “Cano is a loafer” that many have proposed, but… yeah.  It’d be nice if he’d dive for the ball every once and while.

Alex Rodriguez
It wasn’t his fault he got hit with the ball, but then, he’ wasn’t exactly killing it before he got hurt.  The Yankees need A-Rod to be A-Rod, and before the hand injury, he was a shell of his former self, and I’m not sure that is enough.

Andy Pettitte
Pettitte hasn’t gotten back into a game situation yet, so I don’t think the Yankees can count on him – Hideki Kuroda has been AMAZING in Pettitte’s absence, but it sure would be nice to see Pettitte come back and be who he was pre injry.  What a boost that would be!

Middle Relief
Let’s face it – everyone who is not Rafael Soriano, David Robertson or Boone Logan is just not reliable.  As scary as it sounds, I hope Ivan Nova comes back so the Yankees can put David Phelps back in the pen.

Phil Hughes
Too.  Many.  Homers.  I don’t look forward to this guy starting a playoff game – I prefer he’d be in the bullpen and the Yankees go with a three man rotation… or, if the stars align:  Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte and Freddy Garcia.

Mark Teixeira
He’s supposed to play again later this week, but like A-Rod, he wasn’t exactly killing the ball pre injury, so I don’t know if the Yankees can expect anything from this guy at this point.

It’s too late now for the Yankees to go get someone – this team is what it is.  If everyone can get healthy and perform like they’re capably of, the Yankees should be in good shape, but at this point, I don’t have much faith in that happening.

Home Run Derby Embarrassment

Three things about last night’s home run derby really stuck out, and they were all embarrassing for baseball.

ESPN’s HORRENDOUS Coverage
It’s like ESPN went out of their way to make the home run derby as unwatchable as possible. They could barely be bothered to keep the camera on the action, nor could any of their cadre of announcers bother to pay much attention or comment on what was happening at the plate. They were blatantly eating ribs, for Christ sakes! (Or at least that one guy was.) And the endless stories about things that happened 30 years ago… just painful. There were too many people talking about who the hell knows what to even understand exactly who was saying what… You ever see that episode of 30 Rock during which Tracey Jordan goes on the fake ESPN show Sports Shouting? That’s all I could think about. Last night’s telecast was abysmal, even for ESPN’s low standards. It made Sunday Night Baseball look like… I don’t know… something you’d like to watch.

The Cano Thing
I understand that Robinson Cano didn’t handle the whole Captain of the AL Home Run Derby Team thing that great. I guess he said he would pick someone from the Kansas City Royals, and then he didn’t, and Royals fans didn’t take kindly to that – nor did a local radio station. Anyway, stay classy, Kansas City. Cano definitely screwed himself, but as a host city for a nationally televised event, you embarrassed yourself. Sure, the fans paid their money and they’re entitled to boo all they want for whatever reason they want to, but that was blatantly over the line. Of course, I’m sure the fans were bored silly by the time Cano finally took to the plate, so I’m not too surprised they took it out on him. (Because obviously. the edition of Billy Butler would have made the evening so much more exciting.) But seriously, you needed to boo someone out of the Home Run Derby, the most meaningless of all MLB events? And I’d love to know who came up with the bright idea that last year’s winner should pick the squad – that is the DUMBEST shit ever. If you are going to let the fans vote for something, let them vote for the Home Run Derby teams – NOT THE ALL STAR TEAMS. Now that the All Star game actually determines home field advantage in the World Series, the fans have less business then ever voting for who goes, but then you can’t let them choose who they want to see hit dingers? That’s just plain crazy. MLB needs to switch that up.

The Format

The Home Run Derby clocked in at under 3 hours, and I guess we should all be grateful. Maybe ESPN could have wedged a few more commercials in there to get it to a nice even 3 hours, but they can try for that next time. But the real problem is that although the first round is the longest, it’s the most fun, but after the first hour or so, the show completely runs out of gas. I’d say that it’s time to go to some sort of time limit or number of outs for each player (whichever comes first) so we can be sure this nonsense doesn’t take any more than 2 hours. And one other thing: I hate watching all those little kids running around the outfield, trying to kill each other to get the balls that don’t make it over the wall. Why not just tell each kid to stand 10 feet apart and stay in their area? They look like a pack of wild animals and they’ve just begging for someone to get hurt, and ESPN can’t keep the camera off what looks like a disorganized day at summer camp – which is basically what the Home Run Derby is in a nutshell.

Offense, Thy Name Is CANO

(Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson are both having tremendous years – I feel that everyone, including me, has hammered that nail in as deep as it’s going in, so let’s talk about Cano Today.)

Robinson Cano looks as though his early season struggles are behind him. Just in time, too.

Cano has hit safely in each game since May 2, giving him an 8 hitting streak, including:

12 hits (2 doubles)
7 RBI
2 home runs
Triple Slash: .333/.351/.556
1 BB
8 Ks

The dude can use more walks and less strike outs with an eye towards nudging that OBP closers to .400, but that’s Cano. He’s a swinger, and when he’s locked in, one of the sweetest swings you’ll ever see will do plenty of damage. I’ve always thought of him as something of a left handed Manny Ramirez, but Cano hasn’t quite shown that level of power yet – but I think it’s only a matter of time.

Cano is coming off last night’s monster 3 hit effort (including a homer) going into tonight’s first game of the series against former Yankee Jesus Montero and King Felix. Last year, Cano hit him pretty hard over three games:

5/28/2011 2 Home Run
5/28/2011 3 Strikeout
5/28/2011 6 Single
7/27/2011 1 Groundout
7/27/2011 4 Single
7/27/2011 6 Groundout
9/12/2011 2 Flyout
9/12/2011 4 Double
9/12/2011 5 Single


data via Texas Leaguers:

Yeah, 5 for 9 is pretty good! Let’s hope he can keep it up tonight.

Yankees Take First Half of Double Header & More

Phil Hughes missed yet another start due to injury – this time, it’s the back spasms again. The Yankees bullpen put together a superior effort after Hector Noesi’s start – well, I guess Howell didn’t get anyone out but the combination of Valdes, Kontos, Laffey, Wade, Logan, Ayala and Mariano Rivera blanks the Rays completely. Joe Madden probably left Big Game James Shields in the game too long and the 8th inning proved to be his undoing as Eduardo Nunez homered and he lost a hard fought battle with Brett Gardner and then walked Derek Jeter. Robinson Cano made Madden pay for going with JP Howell for a lefty on lefty match up by doubling in the rest of the damage – before that inning, the Yankees only other scoring that the could eek out was a double by A-Rod that plated Derek Jeter. The Yankees are so close to clinching the AL East I can taste it! (It tastes like… victory.)

And since I’m already being weird: Red Sox starter Erik Bedard was served legal papers by a Yankee fan attorney regarding a child support dispute – the mom wants a cost of living increase because Bedard’s salary has gone up since their original agreement. Anyway, the Yankee fan, Tom Cabral, posted about it on Facebook and Yahoo.com didn’t have any problem taking screen grabs of what he wrote – or, what anyone of his Facebook friends wrote. They didn’t even bother to obscure his friends’ names. You can view the torrid tale here. Other stupid crap that’s currently posted on the MLB page at Yahoo includes a video discussion regarding whether or not Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. Was that ever a question, even before he broke the record? And if no Mo, then who? Trevor Hoffman? Don’t make me laugh.

Home Run Derby, All Star Game

Over the last 15 or so seasons, I’ve done by best to give the All Star Break festivities as much attention as I could. I did not make the slightest effort to acquire tickets when the game was here at Yankee Stadium and probably won’t when it comes to Citi Field in a year or two, but still, I watched a fair amount of coverage on TV.

NOTE: If you found a way to watch workout day coverage, Bud Selig should kiss you full on the lips – tongue/no tongue, you’re choice.

I should mention that in the recent past, I have not felt any excitement leading up to the All Star festivities and watched them out of some strange sense of obligation. I think I hit a low point last year while I watched the Home Run Derby while replacing tiles on the basement floor.

This year, I decided, "The hell with it. I’ll watch movies on these nights. I’ll play with the dogs. I’ll cook dinner. I’ll change the oil in my car. I’ll get a head start on my 2011 tax returns. I’ll go to the dentist! But I am not, NOT, NOT going to bother with the All Star festivities.

So I skipped the derby and watched the first inning of the game. Hey, I can’t go baseball cold turkey, just like that – I’m hooked, I needed my fix!

The Home Run Derby
Anyway, Robinson Cano, as I’m sure you’ve already heard, won the home run derby. This immediately brought to mind articles I’ve read about the Home Run Derby effect. The home run derby effect (which I have heard championed by one Dr Alex Rodriguez a reason for not participating in said contest) states that if you participate in the home run derby, it’ll ruin your swing for the rest of the year, the primary example (and only that I remember) being Bobby Abreu. This article explains that because analysis that says the home run derby ruins a hitter’s swings is invalid because the experiment lacked a control group. Uhm… yeah, I guess so! That’s a little over my head; but this all started because of Abreu. Check it:

The idea grew in part from Bobby Abreu‘s performance in 2005, when he hit 18 home runs before the break, then 41 home runs in the actual Derby, but wasn’t the same player afterward. From July 14-to-October 2 of that year, Abreu belted only six big flies.

However, a lot of people don’t believe that argument. This article explains that many winners of the derby have seen an INCREASE IN POWER.

In fact, since 2000, the only year during which Derby participants experienced an increase in power after the contest was 2001, when the likes of Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were competing.

I wonder why.


Six of the past 10 Derby winners have seen their rates improve in the second half. For example, Prince Fielder went from hitting long balls once every 14 at-bats before the All-Star break last year to once every 11.8 afterwards.

Anyway, let’s hope that Cano sees an increase in power down the stretch and doesn’t fall off the map like Abreu did.

All Star Game – Who didn’t show up:
I feel as though almost all of the talk I’ve heard leading up to the All Star game was regarding who was going to be there. After all, who wouldn’t want to go to Arizona in July? Finally, after much gyrations and snubbing, CC Sabathia was selected to the All Star team. I have no idea what took so long, but I also don’t care. Anyway, he couldn’t pitch as he just pitched on Sunday, and I believe he didn’t go to the game. (Tampa Bay’s David Price was in the exact same situation and I believe he also did not attend. Haven’t heard a word about that from anyone… shocking.) As we all know, Alex Rodriguez had knee surgery and didn’t go to the game – obviously, he wouldn’t be available to play in it. Mariano Rivera did not play and I believe he also didn’t attend – I believe his arm is still sore. Derek Jeter bowed out, citing mental fatigue from his 3000 hits chase and that his calf is still not 100% – people seemed to have the biggest problem with Jeter’s absence. Apparently, MLB (or FOX) planned a video montage of his career and wanted to honor him, so even if he wasn’t going to play, they still wanted him to show up and wave his hat to the crowd – I guess he wasn’t into that idea. I’ve also heard a lot of people/sports media saying that as Jeter was voted into the game by the fans, so he had an obligation to go. I head Boomer & Carton (which is like a really pathetic version of Mike and the Mad Dog – which is way better with just Mike, by the way) saying that if George Steinbrenner was still alive, Jeter would have went and played in the game; uhm, presume much, guys? How on earth could you speculate what someone would do if they were still alive? And which George Steinbrenner do you mean: the one who spoke his mind loudly and often, or the one that was content to spend time with his family in Tampa and let other people run the team? Maybe they meant to say, "If this was 1997, Steinbrenner would have made Jeter play in the game." (Anyway, that show sucks.) The point is, the thought is that if you’re a player and your selected to the All Star team, you have an obligation to play, or, at the very least, go to the game. I don’t agree with this idea at all. The All Star game is a farce, and the idea that it determines home field advantage for the World Series is ludicrous. As long as the best pitcher doesn’t start the game and stay in for as long as possible, it’s not a real game. As soon as you make substitutions just to give everyone who showed playing time, it’s not a real game. And any time you interrupt a game (even in between innings) to give Roger Clemens a set of commemorative candle sticks, its not a real game! Hence, at this point, it’s probably best if they just shut the whole thing down all together – have the home run derby, and that’s it – although I don’t think even that is necessary. If the players need 3 days off in a row in July, I’m fine with that – they work every weekend for 6 months straight. I know that’s why they get paid the big bucks (amongst other reasons), but it still sucks, and a little break in the middle is a nice respite for the fans, too – even if you watch the festivities. But for me, I don’t want a single Yankee going to the All Star game, because if anyone gets hurt in that travesty (anyone see that sliding catch Jose Bautista made near the right field wall?), I will lose my mind! Can you imagine what Phillies fans would say if Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay got hurt during this game? They would curve the All Star Game until they were blue in the face, and they’d be right.

Anyway, the NL won – two years in a row after a long drought! There goes home field advantage. I bet the AL team would have scored more than 1 run if Jeter was there – don’t you?

TODAY’S MARKETING MAIL FROM THE YANKEES: Rent with Mini U Storage and get 2 tickets to a Yankees game.
You can’t make this stuff up. This is cross marketing at its finest. Kudos to everybody on this gem. Yankee fans everywhere could be heard to remark, "Damn it, if only I had something to put in storage – then I could get free Yankee tickets!"

Somebody wake up Joe Girardi!

AJ Burnett is not necessarily the best pitcher to ever grace a mound with his presence. Sure, you’ll hear tales of his filthy stuff, and it’s true, to an extent: Burnett has some good pitches in his arsenal, including a hard fastball and a snapping curve ball. In yesterday’s fourth of July game, he struggled but overcame in the 1st inning but overall, pitched 6 solid innings. Sure, at the end of the 6th, he looked a little tired, but I couldn’t begrudge Joe Girardi for sending him out there for the 7th, especially after how much the bullpen worked in the Mets series. But at some point, you have to go to your bullpen.

AJ Burnett is not the sort of guy who saves your bullpen; he’s just not. Sure, he’ll go 8 innings every once and a while, but it’s just not who he is. So after that Shelly Duncan at bat, during which Burnett was clearly tired and didn’t have anything left and couldn’t snap off a curve ball to save his life, Girardi left him in there. He didn’t go to his bullpen, he didn’t send Larry Rothschild or even Russell Martin out there to give him a breather.

After the Duncan single, I thought it was obvious that it was time for a call to the bullpen to get somebody up before the ball got back to the infield, followed by a lengthy mound visit. Then, the next batter should have been given the unintentional intentional walk. By then, your bullpen guy ought to be ready to go, and you make the change. It’s that simple.

Instead, BOOM – home run, and the Yankees go on to loose a game they should have found a way to win. Nice job, Girardi!

YANKEESNEWS VIA TEXT:
Today’s text reads: “HBO & MLB Productions to produce a 1 hour special chronicling Jeter’s 3K chase.”
My guess is that working titles include, “Boring as Hell: Jeter’s 3000 Chase” or “Jeter Documentary: The Best Editing You’ll Ever See,” because this must be one boring film. How much drama could the end possibly have in store? Jeter did not have a good offensive year last year (.270 average, 179 hits), nor has he this year (.256 average, 68 hits), and he’s been hurt for the last several weeks with 6 hits to go. Maybe I’ll get more excited about this as we get to the end, but right now, I’m not interested in Jeter’s personal achievements – but I’m happy to have his glove back, because Edwardo Nunez can not field.

YANKEES VIA EMAIL:
subject – MLB best Six Yankees are headed to the All-Star Game

In case you didn’t already hear, the Yankees heading to the All Star game are

Can we PLEASE climb out of Jeter’s ass? A-Rod has been to the All Star Game a few times, why can’t we count how many times he’s been? And really, Jeter is one of the six best Yankees on the team? Really? Derek Jeter is having a better year and/or is more valuable to the team that Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia or Brett Gardner? Or how about David Robinson, for that matter? I feel like I spend a lot of time writing negative things about Jeter in this space, but I don’t hate the guy – I just don’t think he’s the golden god everyone else makes him out to be – at least he’s not anymore.

Whatever, I don’t care about the all star game and I wish no Yankees were going, because if anyone gets so much as a cramp from appearing in the farce, I’m going to be PISSED!

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