Baseball Jeremiad


A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

American League Survivor: An Occasional Series

A few days ago, I indicated that I’m in the market for an American League team.  Starting today, I’ll eliminate teams from the American League one-by-one until I find my new team. 

Team Eliminated: New York Yankees

Seriously, was this any shock at all?  There are few things I find as beautiful in the sports world as the pureness of irrational hatred for a particular sports team.  In all honesty, what have the Yankees ever done to me?  Sure, many Yankees fans can be ignorant louts and the owner of the Yankees is a convicted felon.*  However, the Yankees have set the standard for greatness in all professional sports.  They’ve won 27 world championships and may just make it 28 this year.  And yet, I could never bring myself to root for the Yankees.  As the “Yankee-Haters Handbook” I had as a child remarked, “Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Standard Oil.  Or a yacht.”

*He’s a convicted felon for donating to Richard Nixon’s campaign for crying out loud!

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that there was a short time in my life that I rooted for the Yankees.  A certain Yankee-fan in my family baby-sat me when I was young child when my parents went out some place.  When they returned, he had turned me into a Yankee fan.  I was six years old.  How do I know I was six years old, you might ask.  How can I place something so surely in time?  That’s easy.  Returning from a family vacation, I listened to Andy Hawkins’ no-hitter on the radio.  I can recall rooting for Hawkins to complete the no-hitter and my dad rooting for the Sox.  Incidentally, my dad is a huge White Sox fan.  He idolized Nellie Fox and wouldn’t step foot in Cooperstown until he was inducted (If Rizzuto was in, then Fox should be in, dammit!).  I can recall coming down the stairs from my room each day that summer and asking my father who won the Mets and Yankees games.  I’d subsequently break his heart by responding “good” to Yankee wins and Mets losses and “darn” to Yankee losses and Mets wins.  At some point, thankfully, I woke up and the universe returned to its natural order.

Now, one might question me: You’re a New Yorker, shouldn’t you root for both teams?  This is just plain nonsense.  You’re American do you root for both the Democrats and the Republicans each election?  Did you pull for two different wrestlers?  Go Sting!  And Andre the Giant!  Of course not.

I should also note that it left a bad taste in my mouth when Yankee fans accused me of being un-American when I rooted for the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series. 

Then again, much of this is about Yankee fans isn’t it?  Why should I hate the message because of the messengers?

Perhaps jealousy factors in too.  It’s easy being a Yankee.  It’s easy being a Yankee fan.  It’s easy being a Yankee.  They have the coolest new toys all the time.  Then again, there are some disadvantages to being a Yankees fan: you need to listen to Susan Waldman and John Sterling on a consistent basis — that’d be enough to make anyone go batty. 

The bottom line, however, is this.  I’ll never root for the Yankees.  Never. Never. Never.  There are two particularly wonderful sensory/rooting experiences one can have as a fan: rooting for your team irrationally and despising another with the same wanton and carefree feeling.

Good-bye, Yankees.


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Better to Be Lucky Than Good

Marlon Byrd: look what I found.

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From THT, BAIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) leaders and trailers.

The day job is kicking DC Matt’s rear, so I’ll swallow my pride and link to a Yankees article.  Seems like Joe Girardi is misusing David Robertson. 

Looking for your Stephen Strasburg fix?  The WaPo “Baseball Insider” has the video and report.  This kid, by the way, says all the correct things all the time.

Richard Sandomir writes a business of sports column for the Times’ print edition.  Today, however, he’s on the “Bats” blog making note of the number of appearances the Mets have made (and will continue to make) on ESPN.

So, if Dave Duncan fought Mike Ditka, who would win?  Jamie Garcia keeps rolling up ground balls and DD is gettin’ more love.

TUCK! skewers Big Papi.  Hoffman next?

There are already “seller” whispers circulating about Atlanta.  Somehow, this wasn’t the farewell that Bobby Cox had planned.

Meanwhile, Barry Zito is tossing up 0’s again this year.  The answer, blogs Rob Neyer via Ann Killon, may be mental.  Oh, and he’s throwing harder this year: that might help too.

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Chass: Mets, Sox Switcheroo; But, It’s Early

Murray Chass, formerly of the Grey Lady, has an interesting piece up regarding the starting pitchers of the Red Sox and Mets.  Granted, there’s no big revelations within his column.  Yet, he notes the sensible reality — all too infequent these days — and reminds his readers that it is still mighty early in the season:

Before we pronounce the Red Sox as the odd-team-out, though, remember that we are talking about 20 games of the 162-game season. There’s plenty of time for the Boston starters to correct themselves, just as there is plenty of time for the Mets’ starters to reclaim their question-mark status.


The Red Sox starting corps could yet perform as advertised. It’s more likely to happen than not happen. Whether the pitchers will make the Red Sox good enough to overcome the Rays and/or the Yankees is another question. As Epstein said, the Red Sox can’t afford to fall too far behind no matter how much time is left in the season.

There’s far too much of the season, on the other hand, left for the Mets. They won’t surpass or match the streak that put them into the N.L. East lead. That reality prompted the e-mail general manager Omar Minaya received from a friend after the Mets had completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers that gave them a seven-game winning streak.

“My advice for you: resign immediately,” the friend wrote. “It’s not going to get better than this. If they should go on to win the division, make the playoffs or even win the World Series, it will always be said that it was the team that Omar Minaya put together.”

Rob Neyer is attempting to find the Orioles’ silver-lining.

I don’t know what is worse: expanding the All-Star rosters further, or instituting the designated hitter from year to year in the game.  This might be a trifling argument (and the subject of a later post), but the term All-Star doesn’t mean that everyone in baseball is considered a star.  I know that the terminology might be confusing here, but said term means that the game in question can only contain stars.  68-plus players are stars?  I don’t think so.

Fantasy tip: pick up John JasoRyan Hanigan is hitting pretty solidly too.

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Waste Hours, Lose Your Friends and Job (Cleaning up the Reader)

Late night or early morning time wasters:

  1. Fan Graphs has pitch type splits available now.  They’re introduced here.  An example of one is here.
  2. Think about why Ned Colletti is throwing bombs.  At Matt Kemp.
  3. What’s wrong with Josh Beckett?  Bobby V thinks he’s throwing his cutter too often.  Beyond the Box Score thinks it might be an overuse of his mediocre change-up.
  4. Ponder the difference between BaseRuns and Pythagorean Won-Loss expectancy.
  5. Kris Benson.  Yes, the Kris Benson left his start tonight with a shoulder injury.  Ask yourself if you’re surprised.  Meanwhile, be thankful you didn’t watch the 12-11 D’Backs win over the Rockies.
  6. Could John Harper have changed his tune about the Mets any more quickly?
  7. The Nats are heavily relying upon … Livan, among other cast-offs.
  8. Bloggers hate Thomas Boswell.  OK.  Fine.  But he wrote a book a while back, Why Life Imitates the World Series, that I have to admit, was a pretty darn good read.  I missed the column Boswell penned a few days ago in theWashington Post.  Sure, it’s a bit glib.  But he got the quotes he needed to make the story work.  It’s worth your time. 

Well, that should be enough to ruin any attempts at productivity tomorrow morning.

You’re welcome.

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