Do You Hear It?

Listen close.  Do you hear that?  Still don’t hear it?  It’s the sound of thousands upon thousands jumping off the Mets Bandwagon and hitching a ride with the Detroit Tigers.  Can’t wait ’till after the series is over and the Tigers or Cardinals suddenly become the most popular team on mlblogs.

Advertisements

The Struggle of a Fan

I can’t figure out why I’m still so upset about the death of Cory Lidle.  I didn’t know him, I never met him.  He was a Yankee for only 2 1/2 months.  I saw him in Seattle in August during batting practice, walking around, talking with teamates, playing catch, etc.  He was a solid 4 or 5 starter, not a superstar.  He didn’t have spectacular stuff, and wasn’t lights out.  Yet, I’m still upset about this ordeal.  Is it because he left behind a wife and 6 year old son, who probably didn’t spend that much time with his dad because of his schedule?  I guess that’s part of it. 

I work at a bank, and all we have on our tv in the lobby are news stations.  When I got back from lunch yesterday, Lidle’s plane had just crashed, and news coverage was going crazy over the story wondering if it was an accident or attempted terrorism.  I said to myself, "I wonder if someone had enough with life and decided to end it" or "was it really cloudy and the pilot became confused about his/her location."  Coverage continued on tv, our customers would stop to watch the tv for a moment, then leave.  Then I looked up and saw Tom Verducci, a baseball writer for SI, and he began talking about the Yankees.  I began to panic a little bit, then they mentioned it was Cory Lidle’s plane and said he had previously told reporters he was leaving that day to go home.  They also mentioned he had received his pilot’s license 7 months ago, and I hoped for the best, but fears became reality.  I was shocked, and spent the rest of the day just staring at our tv and my computer.

I continued to watch the coverage of Lidle’s accident after work, and watched as ESPN ran a story about Munson’s accident that occured, which was before I was alive.  The whole time I watched the coverage, I just kept wondering why I was so drawn to it and why I was so upset.  I live in Idaho, have only been to NY one time and that was 10 years ago.  It’s not like I am close to where the accident happened nor was I during 9/11.

I am a huge fan of baseball and the Yankees, just like thousands upon thousands across the nation.  So, again the question comes into my mind, why am I so upset over this? 

I suppose the answer is a combination of things.  First of all, he was a husband and father, a brother, a son, a part of a family that he spent time with the previous day.  I am a husband, a son, and a brother as well, and it makes so sad to think about his family, who probably watched the coverage and wondered what was going on, only to find they were watching their son/brother/husband etc. last moments on national tv.  I also love baseball.  I played in HS and 1 year in college, and still dream of playing in the MLB, but in reality I know that won’t happen, so I dream and live through these players.  I follow them, keep track of their stats, buy shirts, jerseys, hats, drinking glasses, etc.  I go to games 2 hours early to take pictures and hopefully get a signature.  I read about them on a daily basis.  I don’t know them, but I feel like I do.  They are heros to us, as we watch in wonder and amazement what they can do.  Our day can be great or terrible depending on how they play.  When October rolls around, each pitch, swing, groundball, makes our heart race and hands sweat.  They bring us an array of emotion, from joy and triumph to despair and disappointment.  Because they give us so much and seem so heroic and invincible, it seems impossible to think of them as human like the rest of us who work in banks, schools, restaurants, etc.  Any one of us could go at any time for any reason because we are just a face in the crowd, the guy you walked by on the corner, the guy in front of you in a grocery line.  But when an athlete dies, particularly while his or her career is still going, it gives us a face, a person that we can all relate to.  And because of their extraordinary ability to play a game, to give us all those emotions, to see play in person, it’s that much more difficult to grasp.  When an accident like this happens, it gives those we watch and follow in the sports world the human quality of mortality, something most of us struggle to comprehend because they seem so superhuman to us.  It’s a terrible and sad tragedy, and yesterday while I was watching the coverage of the accident before I found out it was Lidle, I wondered about the Yankees and what they might all be thinking, considering what they dealt with on 9/11/01.  Now I know that because of 10/11/06, they will be grieving and wondering just as the rest of us are.  We don’t know Lidle or his family, but because we are fans, because we follow with passion and pride, we feel like we do.  It’s because of that passion and pride, because we care so much for our teams and our athletes that we become so upset.  Do we put too much emphasis on sports in our society?  Probably.  The reasons that make us so upset when something like this happens are also the same reasons why we need sports to help us through something like this.  As the playoffs progress, our attention will be redirected from this tragedy to the games played and the World Series, and once again after October greatness, we will again live through these athletes and their greatness.  Once again, they will become heros, and once again, they will become immortal.

Rest in Peace Cory Lidle, and bless your family and friends as they try to cope with the loss of a husband, father, brother, son, and friend.

Cory Lidle

Don’t know if you guys have seen this, but that plane that crashed into the building in NYC today is registered to Cory Lidle who got his pilot’s license seven months ago.  Apparently he was scheduled to fly home today.  Here’s hoping it’s not like it sounds, but it doesn’t sound good.

Trading A-Rod, fixing the Yanks, etc….

I’m hearing alot of rumblings and grumblings that the Yanks should keep A-Rod because he’s a great player and it would be foolish to trade a HOF player in his early 30’s and so on.  I agree, A-Rod is a great player,  in fact, he’s a once-in-a-lifetime player.  When A-Rod’s career is complete, he will go down as one of the best to ever play the game, and will probably be ahead of Aaron and Bonds for career HR.  We all will be the one’s telling our kids and grandkids about when we saw A-Rod play and his 3 HR/10 RBI game against Anahiem.  With that said, the Yankees don’t need A-Rod, and while is value is still high, should listen to offers for him.  They need to do that now.  Why?  I’ll give you the case for trading him.

1) His value is still very high.  GM’s around the league will look at his defensive play and post-season waffling and say he had an off-year, like any other player.  However, let’s say A-Rod does stay in the Bronx next year and has another terrible year defensively and puts up some subpar offensive numbers to his standards.  His value will have decreased, and he’s become another year older.   Face it, if he stays and plays through next season, it’s not going to be easier for him.  The boos aren’t suddenly going to become cheers.  October is when he will get the fans on his side, and to make it to October he as to make it April-September.

2) Torre has no confidence in him, nor does his team.  Why did Arod bat 6th, then 8th in the playoffs?  It wasn’t to put less pressure on him, it was because Joe has no confidence in his ability to deliver.  Well, Joe’s back, so now A-Rod is going to have to earn the confidence of his manager, and we have all seen how A-Rod responds to pressue.  Furthermore, his teamates have no confidence in him.  He’s not the most liked guy in that clubhouse, and he’s not making any new friends with his play.  Remember the Dyansty years?  Those guys were a team.  They went to war for each other and trusted each other.  These guys don’t trust A-Rod.

3) The Yankees don’t need him.  Is this team really lacking offensive firepower?  No.  Let’s take A-Rod out of the lineup, and put in me.  So now I’m playing 3rd for the Yankees.  Is the offense going to take a major hit because A-Rod is gone?  Nope, because the other 8 guys can still mash.  People will recount his numbers, but look where the guys hits in the lineup, and who’s in front of him.  Damon, Jeter, Abreu?  Of course he’s going to get RBI’s. 

4) Pitching wins championships.  Lets revisit the Dyansty years of the Yanks.  Who was playing 3rd base?  Scott Brosius.  Career Stats-.257Avg/141HR/531 RBI.  Those are CAREER stats for 11 seasons in the bigs.  IN ’96, it was Boggs, who’s a great player and HOF’er, but he’s no A-Rod offensively.  Why did that team win?  Pitching.  Clemens, Petitte, Wells, Cone, Rivera, Nelson, Stanton, El Duque, Mendoza.  The Yanks had guys like Paul O’Neil, Tino, Chad Curtis, Jim Leyritz, Chili Davis, Knoblauch.  Could an order made up of those guys compare to 2006 lineup?  Nope.  But a team made up of that staff and that lineup would be the 2006 version everytime.  Guess what trading A-Rod could bring in?  Pitching.  The Cubs I think are going to sign Lou Pinella to be their new manager, and when that happens I think you’ll see that’s where A-Rod goes for Zambrano. 

5) It’s best for both parties.  Since the Yanks lost, I’ll I’ve seen on BBTN and Sportscenter is A-rod, A-rod, A-rod.  He doesn’t need the constant questions and speculation, and neither do the Yankees.  You think his teamates like the questions and the coverage of him?  **** no they don’t.  Neither does A-Rod.  The organization doesn’t enjoy it either.  What would happen if A-Rod was on the Twins and they lost?  Would it be this constant coverage?  No, there wouldn’t. 

6) The free agent market.  Soriano and Carlos Lee are expected to get some mega deals this offseason, for 13-15 mil a year.  A-Rod is being paid 16 mil by the Yanks, because Texas is paying the other 9.  Basically a steal for a player of his caliber and talent.  Plus, he’s got 4 years left on his contract, where Lee and Soriano are going to be looking for longer deals. 

These are a few reasons why the Yankees should trade A-Rod this offseason.  I think they will, and I think it will work out great for both parties.  Everyone seems to realize that the Yanks need starting pitching and bullpen help, but they don’t realize A-Rod could be a very valuable piece to bring that in.  They can’t just sign everyone as a FA. 

The other thing that I really, really hope the Yanks do next year is make Melky a full-time player.  I think he was very important to the Yanks success this year, and it would be very costly to sit him most of the year as a back-up and slow his development. 

Torre’s still standing

Well Joe Torre endured a weekend of stomach aches and pains so that he can continue to manage for the Yanks.  I’m very happy that Torre will be back, and because it is his final year of his contract, I expect it to be his last.  Now that the managerial situation has been addressed, it’s time to move onto the roster moves.

I’ve been thinking of ways to improve the roster, and a name no one has really brought up is Matsui.  I think the Yanks should consider moving Matsui, because they have a left-fielder in waiting in Cabrera, and I know there are a bunch of teams that would be interested in Matsui’s bat.  Giambi is probably not able to be moved unless the Yanks pay a big portion of his contract, and really he’s a DH.  If Matsui was traded, he could bring in a top-quality starter, plus make room for Melky.  They could move Damon to LF, and put Melky in CF because he has a better arm.  They would still have a potent offense, allow Melky to continue to develop, and gain a very good pitcher.  I love Matsui, but Giambi’s hefty pricetag and potential health issues prevent the Yankees from doing much with him.  Maybe they could even swap him for a quality 1b who can play "D".  I’m still a fan of trading A-Rod, and I think A-Rod is interested in it too.  I think his "I’m not going anywhere, I want to succeed in NY" is more show than anything.  I think he wants to save face and not let everyone know he couldn’t hack it.  The other thing it looks like the Yanks are going to do is pick up Sheff’s option and offer him as trade bait for pitching as well.  Seems like a smart idea, that way the Yanks get to choose where he goes, keeping him out of Boston.  I’m anxious, I need hotstove action.  Here’s to #27 in ’07!

Overhaulin’

I’m ashamed.  I’m embarrased.  I’ve never seen a team look so ready to call it a day and roll over to die.  I’m mad.  I’m angry.  With that said, I’m still wearing my Yankees tshirt with my "NY" logo tattoo underneath still on my right shoulder.  The Tigers kicked our *** and deserve alot of credit.  They looked like they really wanted to win, the Yanks looked like they really wanted to go home.  Here comes winter, here comes NBA basketball, woo f**king hoo. 

It’s time to overhaul this team.  I hear the rumors of Torre leaving.  I really hope that’s not where they start.  If it is, however, I hope they don’t bring in Sweet Lou.  Give me a manager who’s been there and knows how the Yankees win championships, give me Joe Girardi if they are going to cut loose Torre.

As far as the team, they need a great core with accenting pieces.  That’s what we had during the 90’s.  A great core of guys, with a few interchangable parts here and there.  Core guys for next years roster would be Jeter, Posada, Cano, Damon, Abreu, Matsui.  If I was Brian Cashman, this is what I would do.

1) Trade A-Rod, Jaret Wright and cash/prospect to the Angels for Ervin Santana, John Lackey and Scott Shields.  The Angels want another bat, we need pitching.  Instantly the Yanks rotation would have 3 very good starters all under the age of 30 with Wang, Lackey, and Santana.  Shields would help mend a weakend bullpen.  Would the Angels go for it, I don’t know.  Offer them any starting pitcher except Wang. 

2) Trade Giambi and cash to the Twins for Dennys Reyes and Carlos Silva.  Twins need another big bat, how bout a greasy DH?  Twins already have an outstanding 1b, no need to worry about Giambi playing there.  Yanks get two guys who can further strengthen the pen.

3) Send Farnsworth and Carlos Silva to the Braves for Adam LaRoche.  Braves have a worse bullpen than the Yanks, and Farnsworth has already been there.  Adam LaRoche, who is that you say?  He’s a 26 year-old first baseman that hit .285/32/90.  He k’s alot, but Giambi does too, plus he can actually play 1b. 

4) Don’t pick up Sheff’s option.  I love Sheff.  I think he gives team a bit of attitude and swagger, but he looked lost in the series against the Tigers, and really there is no room for him.  Sorry Sheff, you’re still my boy. 

5) Let Mussina walk.  This rotation is old, needs to get younger. 

5) DH Johnny Damon/Matsui, put Melky in CF.  Damon’s arm is awful.  Teams run on him no matter what.  The Yanks need to improve their defense.  Plus, I liked the way the team played when Melky was in there.  He brought a youthful excitement to the team, which was not there in the playoffs.  You could platoon Damon/Matsui in LF, since Damon’s range is better, but Matsui’s arm is better. 

6) Sign Aramis Ramirez.  Ramirez has an option right now with the Cubs to either continue to play for them or become a free agent.  Get on the phone with him today and tell him if he becomes a F/A, the Yanks will sign him.  You’re basically getting the same production as Arod this year, with fewer SO and E.  Ramirez hit .291/38/119.

7) Hope Pavano can rehab himself and make good on his contract.  If he ever got his act together, he’d be ok in the rotation.  We’re stuck with Johnson unless he retires, so your potential starting 5 would look like.

  1. 1) Wang
  2. 2) Santana
  3. 3) Lackey
  4. 4) Johnson
  5. 5) Pavano/Lidle

2007 projected lineup:

  1. 1) Damon D/H
  2. 2) Jeter SS
  3. 3) Abreu RF
  4. 4) Ramirez 3B
  5. 5) Matsui LF
  6. 6) Cano 2B
  7. 7) LaRoche 1B
  8. 8) Posada C
  9. 9) Cabrera CF

Still a pretty formidable lineup, only cheaper and younger than 2006.  You’ve got some speed with Damon, Jeter, and Cabrera.  Power with Ramirez and Matsui.  Cano and Abreu can hit the gaps.  LaRoche and Posada can pop a few out as well.  I know that those proposed trades probably wouldn’t work out just like that, but you get the idea.  If anyone can get a hold of Brian Cashman, send this to him so he has a roadmap of where to begin.  I need a drink, here’s hoping 2007 is #27!