"It was a big letdown. We came out all fired up, and you see that, it's really depressing."
This is what Carl Crawford had to say about returning from a late-August roadtrip with the best record in baseball to a hometown crowd of……..11,968.
The Rays have to be commended for the success they've had as a young franchise in what is by far the most competitive and challenging division in which to play. And yet, if the hometown fans couldn't care less, why would anyone want to play for them?
A lot gets made about the money and how hard it is for small-market teams to hold onto talent when the deep pockets from NY, Boston, and LA come knocking. But there are also places that are widely considered great places to play in large part because of their fan-bases. St. Louis. Chicago. Minnesota. Even Kansas City. By comparison, Tampa Bay is an embarassment. They have arguably the most exciting team in baseball playing for them – lots of young talent, some good personality, fair amount of late-inning drama, and the whole David and Goliath thing going vs. the Yankees and Red Sox, and you know how they show it? By shrugging their shoulders. What is taking their attention - the impending Buccaneers season?
It's not often that athletes will pass up the biggest dollars. When they do, it seems to either be in pursuit of a better chance to win a championship (countless examples) or because they simply love playing where they do (Joe Mauer). The Rays management is giving their players (and by extension, their fans) a strong chance to win a championship, and the fans – to the extent there are any – are doing absolutely nothing to make Tampa Bay a great place to call home for players.
As great players like Pena and Crawford near free agency, one has to ask – why would any player ever consider giving a hometown discount to a place like Tampa Bay? The answer is that as long as vying for a championship in Tampa Bay feels the same as playing meaningless games in August for the Baltimore Orioles, no player ever will.
by General Baseball · 23 comments
at 10:23 am in
Derek Jeter is about as untouchable in the pantheon of Yankee greats as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mariano Rivera. Notwithstanding the persistent criticism of defenseively-focused sabermetricians – and Jeter helped tamp even that down a bit last year – his skill with the bat has been pretty much beyond reproach. And yet, as we near the end of Jeter's current contract with Yankees, it is impossible to ignore that he is having his worst season ever at the plate. With just over a month to go in the season, Jeter is on pace to compile career lows in batting average (.272 compared to his worst full-season in 1997 of .291), on-base percentage (.336 vs. 2004's .352), and slugging (.384 vs. 1997's .405), while quickly approaching his career high in grounding into double plays (19 so far vs. 21 in '07 and 24 in '08).
Jeter has always focused on winning above all and so the fact that the Yanks maintain the best record in baseball, perhaps that is all that matters. But being in the leadoff position as he is, Jeter cues this offense as demonstrated by how he performs in games where the Yankees win vs. in losses: In wins: .292/.357/.438 – yielding an OPS of .794. In losses: .234/.299/.288 for a paltry .587 OPS. And so, while it seems clear that the Yankees can't go far without a healthy Pettitte, it also stands to reason that they aren't likely to win a whole lot if Jeter doesn't start hitting the way he has for pretty uch his entire career.
Looking a little deeper into the numbers for 2010, a few things strike me:
by General Yankees · 15 comments
at 9:23 am in
John Lackey faces the Rays, who send James Shields with Boston looking to keep pace with the Yankees and take the series from Tampa. Comment away.
by Sox Gamers/Postmortems · 3 comments
at 6:47 pm in
That’s really all I know about Nova, who gets the second start of his major-league career at the White Sox with the Bombers looking to win the series while facing Gavin Floyd. Teixeira’s hitchin’ digit is hurting, so he’s out of what is now a rather curious new lineup, which follows. Comment away. Just thinking that Ivan Nova might just be the best video game name ever.
by Yanks Gamers/Postmortems · 5 comments
at 1:53 pm in
Dear summer, why do you depart so quickly?
And dear A.J., why do your pitches depart so quickly? Chicago roughed up Burnett last night, hanging nine on the beleaguered Bomber to sending him packing early in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Jon Lester was fantastic and though Papelbon walked two in the ninth to make things “interesting”, he struck out three for the save as VMart homered twice as Boston picked up a game on the Yankees and Rays by winning 3-1.
Things are tightening in the Beast.
Today’s showdowns feature C.C. against John Danks in Chicago, while Clay Buccholz brings his league-leading ERA to the Rays in St. Pete, who send Matt Garza. On paper, it’s a pitching fan’s paradise for both baseball games.
Manny to Chicago? Boston hosts the Pale Sox next weekend.
Comment away on your summertime fun.
by Sox Gamers/Postmortems,Yanks Gamers/Postmortems · 5 comments
at 12:33 pm in
As you probably have already heard, brilliant young Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is going under the knife. Take a step back and a deep breath before you blowtorch me. Then, tell me why steroids under the direction of a "medical professional" are a bad idea.
Boston's in St. Pete while the Yanks visit the south side of Chicago.
by Sox Gamers/Postmortems,Yanks Gamers/Postmortems · 9 comments
at 8:33 pm in
On the surface, Johnny Damon chose the Detroit Tigers over the Boston Red Sox. But underneath it all, he actually made a different choice. Lee Jenkins gets it. He understands that all things Boston lead back to New York, and, in a way, this site.
He could not feign forgiveness. For the Red Sox front office, these negotiations may never have been personal, but for Damon they were. Despite his carefree persona, he held tight to a grudge, and while Red Sox fans were preparing to let go, he was not. Now, those fans will scorn him all over again, as if he were an outfielder in his prime headed to the Yankees, instead of a designated hitter in his twilight sticking with the Tigers.
Damon claimed that the decision to stay away from Boston was as difficult as the one to leave. In both instances, the Yankees were involved, though this time in a more tangential way. When the Tigers traveled to Yankee Stadium just last week, Damon was given a standing ovation, and he wondered how he would be treated if he were in a Red Sox uniform instead. Although Damon is beloved by his peers, who could not care less that he once left the Red Sox for a richer contract with the Yankees, he still seems concerned with how he is viewed by fans. He could not bear to jeopardize his relationship with a second major following.
By picking Tigers over Red Sox, Damon chose Yankees over Red Sox. If his allegiance were not clear five years ago, it is today.
Ergo, Johnny is ours. Does everyone agree?
by About YFSF · 34 comments
at 9:41 am in
So the Yanks are in Canadia, what is left of the Boston Red Sox are hosting the pathetic Seattle Mariners, and Damon likes Motown or at least likes it more than he likes Beantown. Comment away on yer Tuesday eight-twenty-four action. Oh yeah, since everyone is talking about it, should Lou go to the hall? Hell yes.
by General Baseball · 2 comments
at 6:04 pm in
Sox claim Damon off waivers? I really like Damon. Now I have to hate him again I suppose.
by General Red Sox · 14 comments
at 5:33 pm in
Had a chance to look at the M's-Yanks game, bottom of six. Jeter lines out on a decent rope. Then Felix Hernandez takes Mark Teixeira and turns him in to a Washington General.
oof indeed. Happy weekend all.
by Yanks Gamers/Postmortems · 6 comments
at 9:07 pm in
Sean Forman writes in The New York Times about the forthcoming logjam of Hall of Fame candidates.
by Awards/HOF,Steroids · 3 comments
at 12:26 pm in
So the G-Men don’t like it when they think he be lying. No one could be surprised, I suppose.
What else isn’t surprising? Mike Cameron’s done for the year, and my favorite Red Sock, Jacoby Ellsbury, is likely done for the season as well. Star-crossed, these 2010 Sox. At least Pedroia is back. For now.
It’s Ervin Santana and Josh Beckett on the bump at Fenway. Ready, Steady, GO!
by Sox Gamers/Postmortems · 1 comment
at 5:35 pm in
Clemens indicted. Did Martha Stewart not teach him anything?!
by Uncategorized · 7 comments
at 3:21 pm in
In his last four at-bats Cabrera has hit three home runs, including the 2-run dinger that put the Yanks down 2-0 in the first inning of today's game. Hughes is facing Porcello at the Stadium and the Yankees are facing a division race against two teams that seem to be clicking on all cylinders. Comment away.
by Yanks Gamers/Postmortems · 5 comments
at 1:59 pm in
Jim Leyland is f*cking cool. I don't know how or why, but that's how and why I will never be. Max Scherzer and Javier Vazquez are pitching tonight. Comment away.
by Yanks Gamers/Postmortems · 13 comments
at 7:42 pm in