Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Time is Here (Bronx Edition)

C.C. Sabathia, gone. A.J. Burnett, gone. Where have they gone to? Easy answer, to the Bronx. The Yankees are coming off of a bad year they didnt even reach the first round of the playoffs. So whats the best thing to do? Re-alter your club of course. Since the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, they finally put the old "Generation Tre" or "Youth Movement" aside for the backburnner and hired some top guns.

By the Yankees landing CC and AJ, they have filled the top three spots in their rotation. With the big three of CC, Wang, and AJ, the Yankees have a killer 1-2-3 punch and it doesnt even include Joba just yet. He will most likely take the 5 spot in order to keep his innings limit low. So who goes into the number 4 hole? Thats a spot that the Yankees cold fill either with an old, dear friend or another guy outta Milwaukee. Its a choice that isnt the make or break of the Yankees rotation but it has to be adressed.

So, whats on the ageneda from here on out (meaning until spring training)?

Well, the Yankees need to aquire a bat. They already have a glove in Nick Swisher, who for now is the everyday first baseman, but in my eyes, he doesn't fit the bill. The Yankees must sign Mark Teixeria. He has a phenominal glove at first base, and there would be no platoons there, and his bat can easily protect Alex Rodriguez by putting Tex in the 3 spot. If it means giving up one of our hundreds of outfielders, go do it. Nady perhaps has the higest value amongst the ones they can afford to give up. As of right now, on this day, the opening day lineup and rotation are set to be

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Nady RF
Arod 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher 1B
Gardner CF


Yea, it looks good, especially the rotation, but the Yankees lineup could easily fall apart after Arod. Matsui and Posada are both coming off of surgery, Cano and Swisher are coming off of a terrible season and if Gardner cant get on base, he's basically just there to run down fly balls. That is why Tex is the answer. The Yankees last year lost way too many games on account of not scoring enough runs. Mussina should have had atleast 20 wins in early september instead of it coming down to the second to last game of the season. With the loss of Abreu and Giambi, big offensive supporters to the Yankees line up last year, the Yankees seem possibly weaker.

Teixeria can be had, if the Yankees stay patient and are willing to pony up enough money. Perhaps including an opt out offer. Maybe then someone in the Yankees farm will be ready to take over the spot held by Donnie Baseball and Tino. Right now, Swisher is the option, but Tex is the need.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Let the Hot Stove Begin

The 2008 Major League Baseball season has come to a close and the Phillies are the raining champs Yours truley predicted correctly that they would take the series in five games. But with the series over, that means the season has ended and you wont hear about baseball for another 4 months or so. Right? Wrong.

The hot stove portion of the year long MLB season is perhaps just as exciting as the regular season itself. Where will this free agent land? When will so and so get traded? Who, on paper has a good lineup? Who has a stellar rotation? Every franchise wants to say that they have the best and they will be where the Phillies were in October, not my beloved Yankees. So since this is the the Big Apple Sports Blog, Ill be discussing the Yankees.

The Yankees this year were filled with underachivers and a hurting roster. They will be healthier this year with Jorge, Wang and Matsui all coming back form season ending surgery. This team should without a doubt be stronger, as long as they can stay healthy. But, is what they have right now strong enough to not just make the World Series but the post season alone? The Yankees are now in a very tough divison with 2 of the 4 AL playoff contenders coming from there. With the Red Sox and Rays, the Yankees possibly have some ground to make up and it starts nows.

The Yankees will obviously pick up C.C. Sabathia. No matter what anybody says, money talks. Money is always prefered than location. No matter how much either Milwaukee or the Red Sox throw at him, the Yankees will top it. They might as well give Scott Boras, CC's agent, a blank check and write how much it will take. CC is priority number. You may be asking, who's number 2?

Easy, Mark Teixeira. You may be curious as to why I took a 1B rather than another starting pitcher. The Yankees will not be bringing back Giambi or Abreu nest year. Tex is young and has a great bat and a phenominal glove. However, it will take a lot of money and a hefty 6-7 year contract. I think coming off of a terrible offensive year, the Yankees need to get a bat back in the lineup. The Yankees have never had a problem throwing cash at people, but since throwing a lot of cash at a former first basemen who has been in NY for far too long, I think they may be hesitant to do it again.

But, just think about it. A lineup of

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Teixeira 1B
ARod 3B
Nady RF
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Gardner CF

That on paper alone looks amazing if Posada and Matsui return to form and if Gardner keeps improving on his bat. Then, see what starters are left on the market and decide how much you want to spend. As is right now, the probably rotation is

CC Sabathia

Another great looking rotation, but if Moose decides to come back, plug him in the 3 or 4 spot and move everyone down. And so now, the rumors will start. Who will be playing 1B for the Yankees next year and what is the final roation for the Yankees are the biggest question the organization must be faceing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phillies Take Important Game 1

In what was perhaps the most important game for the Phillies in this series, besids a clincher of course, the Phillies with a stellar pitching performance from Ace Cole Hammels took game 1 od the 2008 World Series, 3-2. The Phillies had many chances to break the game open with base runner after base runner stranded and Cole Hammels being put in tight spots, they proved their strength by not giving in.

The game even started off in the Phillies favor when Chase Utley put a fastball pitch into the right field stands even before the Rays could pick up a bat. However, that was just about all the offense the Phils would pick up as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell all went 0-12 with Howard and Burrell picking up a walk each.

Cole Hammels however was dominant going 7 innings and just giving up 2 runs on 5 hits. That led to Madison and Lidge retiring every batter they faced an allowin Lidge to pickup his 50th consecutive save. Hammels was in a couple jams but got out of it by enducing double plays to help out his cause.

The Rays on the other hand just didnt seem like the 2008 Rays. Perhaps they looked they the 2007 or 2006 Devil Rays. With the only bright spot of Scott Kazmir giving them a quality start, as opposed to a Scott Kazmir start, 20 Home Runs a Game, he gave the Rays a chance to win. This time, however, it was the Rays bats that have gone cold. I'm still very much so liking the Phillies in 5 as taking this game in the trop was crucial. I think the Phillies offense will show up and perhaps this is where the Ray magical season ends. It will for one of these two.

Oh and to all the Mets fans out there, last night had to be the most difficult game to watch, besides the final game at Shea Stadium, because you have your division rival Phillies and a former pitcher from your organization almost shut them down. Must've left you guys in an almost "What If" thinking mood.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Rays Just Doing What They've Done All Year

And there you have it folks, the 2008 World Series will be the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays. Maybe back in April you possibly couldve thought the Phillies, but there is no way anybody saw this one. I for one and quite happy that its not the Red Sox or Angels. This is going to be a fresh World Series. One team you havent seen here since 1980 and the other you've never seen in this situation. Honestly though, what else is new with this Ray team.

After starting out April and May hot, many dobuted them (including myself) but every time they lost one or two, everyone said "This is it. This is where they break down and go back to the basement." But no, not this. Even after beating the ChiSox in the first round of the ALDS, they took a 3-1 lead over the Red Sox. Then, needing only 7 outs, the Rays blew a 7-0 lead and lost the game. They then lost again to even the series to 3-3. Momentum was not on their side, neither was almost everyone else. The Red Sox have been here before and theyve dont it before.

Then, Matt Garza comes out and gives up 1 run to the Sox and this kid, who throws fast David Price comes in the eighth inning to get the final out, while the bases were loaded mind you. Finally, he picks up the final three outs of the 9th and picks up his first save. Yea, in a game 7, American League Clinching Series. Everyone doubted the Rays and thought the Red Sox would simply do this again after the 7-0 blown lead.

But thats just the Rays going out and doing what they do best, prove everyone wrong.

Does a certain Superbowl XLII team come to mind?

Friday, October 17, 2008

The New Yankee Stadium Goes Green

Yesterday marked the 5th Anniversary of the Aaron Boone walk off home run, as mentioned in my previous post, but yesterday, the grass that the New York Yankees will be playing on for next year and many years to come was put down. The stadium is taking great shapes as it seems from the pictures, all the seats have been installed besides the championship and box seats. They are still probably chopping down the trees for the teak arm rest, hence the delay.

Any who, for anybody who is still not ready to let the current stadium go, just look at the picture posted above and tell me that it wont be beautiful. The split upper deck will make it so much easier for the guy carrying 2 beers and 2 hot dogs. He wont have to pass through the long lines in the upper deck concession stand or wont have to walk on the upper deck isle, which should not fit more than 2 people. If anyone in the stands caught myself for the past couple years, anytime I had to walk in that isle, I would scream "I cant wait till the new stadium". Its true, and you know it.

The only thing I will miss about the Old Yankee Stadium is the memories. All the memories and stories and events that have taken place there, they will be missed, but not forgotten. This new stadium will be amazing. Dont worry though, cause when you first enter next season or anytime after that, you'll realize how lucky were are that we arent getting a renovation of the current stadium. You can only put so many band aids on the same wound before it never heals. 2009 will be the start of something great and something grand.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Last Greatest In Game Moment at Yankee Stadium, 5 Years Ago

Today, October 16th 2008, marks the 5th year anniversary of the Aaron Boone walk off home run against the Boston Red Sox in game 7 of the ALCS. Its truley amazing how fast these past 5 years have gone. This has been the closest the Yankees have come to the World Series since 2003. It was truley an amazing feat as Aaron Boone was just the pinch hitter in the bottem of the 11th inning and hits a Walk Off Homerun to send the Yankees to the World Series. Unfortunately, the Yankees could not beat Josh Beckett, Pudge and the 2003 Florida Marlins.

It is amazing however to think that this was possibly the last great in game moment at Yankee Stadium. Game 7 between the greatest rivalry, or was the greatest rivalry in sports, the Red Sox and Yankees. For it to end in such dramatic fashion, there was also an amazing comeback in the bottom of the 8th when the Yankees scored 3 runs against Pedro. But who wouldve guessed, that the guy who hits one of the most famous homeruns for the Yankees, is the guy that actually changed this organization so much. What am I talking about? Follow me.

Aaron Boone's 2003 season was nothing to write home about and batted low in the Yankees order. However, he hit the home run that got the Yankees to their last World Series. Then, in that offseason, he broke his leg in a pick up basketball game. This left the Yankees with a large whole at third. Well, the Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano to the Texas for you know who, Alex Rodriguez. And the rest is history. Arod will be with us until hes 42 and its all because of Aaron Boone. So the next time you bash Alex, remember the guy that brought him here.

If only it werent for the damn pickup game of basketball.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2008 Tampa Bay Rays, A Fluke

So this is it eh? The Tampa Bay Dev...excuse me, Tampa Bay Rays. Theyre going to be representing the American League in the World Series? Theyre going to be the team that will most likely take on the Phillies of Philadelphia? Tell me back in March that you could've predicted this. If anyone had said this back in March, heck, back in April, they would have locked you up in a coocoo house. Maybe the Phillies werent so much of a stretch, the Rays? Really? The same team that in order to fill The Trop had to hold concerts featuring M.C. Hammer, LL Cool J and Trace Attkins, just to name a few. Now, they will be hosting their first ever World Series game? Good luck with that.

This is the same team that nobody would have ever thought of to make it to October, let alone the World Series. A team that never had a winning season or a big name free agent pick up. These were always the little guy that you could pick on. Have the times really changed? Are these new kids on the block really the next generation of great baseball? I guess they only have one more task left and thats to beat the Phillies. As a Yankee fan, you can say that I'm jealous of the Rays of this success while my dearly beloved Yankees are teeing off and going out partying, but does anybody else out there think this is a fluke?

Yes, I'm calling it. The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are a fluke and Ill stick to it. Its just one of those magical seasons where everything clicks. Everyone comes through in the clutch. Those magical walk off wins. Sure, every team is bound to have one of those years. Why not the Rays? Remember the 2006 Tigers? That magical team that was coming off of a terrible year and had one 96 wins? Yea, what did they do the following year? They fell to 88 wins. Oh but wait, thats still a good year. Then how bout that 2008 season after some big name free agents enter D-Town? A last place victory oing 74-88.

All I want is proof that the Rays are for real. The only way possible you may ask? Give me a winning record by the All-Star break next year. Then we can talk. For now, Rays and Phillies dont bother me what so ever. As a matter of a fact, this is exacty what I wanted. I want pain in the Red Sox hearts and pain in the Mets fans hearts. Lets see the Phillies take it back to the city of brotherly love and end this wild 2008 season of Major League Baseball.