Slip Sliding Away

It’s a rare day when I agree with Peter Abraham, but I think he just about nails it when discussing Shelley Duncan’s dangerous, ill-intentioned slide into Akinori Iwamura yesterday.

The idea that this somehow represents the “new” Yankees under Joe Girardi is laughable. Let’s review for a second:

A Class A catcher with a .261 career batting average and six home runs in 247 games got run over and broke his wrist. Most of the regular players were home when this happened. I would venture that most of them couldn’t pick Francisco Cervelli out of a lineup.

A non-roster left-hander who practically none of the regular players have ever spoken to grazed one of Tampa Bay’s players with a pitch.

Then Shelley Duncan, who has played in 34 big league games, decided to go all Rambo with his slide into second base. …

The idea that they “sent a message to all of baseball” is ridiculous. Having All-Star caliber players at nearly every position and the best young pitching in the game is sending a message. Shelley Duncan sliding spikes high into second base is not what the Yankees are about.

That Akinori Iwamura, they sure showed him. I’m sure A-Rod, Jeter and Mo are all psyched up now.

Girardi — who said yesterday he’d meet privately with Duncan if he saw something he didn’t like on the replay — met privately with Duncan this morning. Meanwhile, Duncan is likely to be suspended starting the regular season. Considering he’s fighting for a job, I’m guessing Duncan might wish he had been a little less vigilante and a little more vigilant.

117 comments… add one
  • And we’re off!!!! *grabs popcorn, soda and comfortable chair*

    LocklandSF March 13, 2008, 9:57 am
  • “Over the last 3 years, no American League team has had more hit batsmen than the Bombers (223).” I also beleive the yanks were hbp about 20 more times than the league average last year.
    It was a dirty play and iwamura deserved none of it, but it’s about time someone is stickin up for the yanks. It really did get old watching yankees get HBP and nothing happening in return.

    Julian March 13, 2008, 9:59 am
  • It’s no big deal, because as A YF pointed out in the previous thread, spiking somebody in the leg isn’t at all dangerous, never at all.

    LocklandSF March 13, 2008, 10:03 am
  • I hope this ends things. The Rays look like they’re going to be a real force over the next couple of years, so hopefully this is just the portent of what will be a good rivalry, and not more pointless rough stuff.

    YF March 13, 2008, 10:13 am
  • I still haven’t seen the play, but I just like the idea that someone’s enforcing. It’s not like Maddon tried to calm things down at all if anything..

    Lar March 13, 2008, 10:15 am
  • Clearly, a player should never do something to intentionally injure another and Duncan seems to be a bit of a dunderhead, but if my ESPN watching memory is correct, aren’t the Rays involved in about 5 brawls per year? Aren’t 3 of them with the Red Sox. There must be something that they do that irks opposing sides.

    DR March 13, 2008, 10:30 am
  • Yes, they have the Napoleon syndrome, except in baseball team form. That failed tackle by Gomes is still beyond hilarious.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 10:38 am
  • I think there are more then a few issues here.
    One, try and find somebody with some baseball knowledge that agrees with Girardi’s stance on the Cervelli play. You aren’t going to. The Cervelli play happened in a normal flow of the game play. Again for the 100th time, it’s a shame the kid got hurt but there was nothing dirty about that play. The minute that kid lay’s up and does something other then what he normally does he puts himself at risk of injury.
    Two, if retaliation is necessary turning a single into a double on a ball just past the 3rd baseman is not the way to go. Nothing about Duncan’s play was gritty or gutsy, it’s just plain goonish. They play each other 18 times during the season. There would have been plenty of chances to break up a double play hard or put one between someone’s number.
    Three, this notion of the Yankees all of a sudden taking no crap is ridiculous! Retaliation never ends and do you really want Jeter or Cano out there when Gomes decides he’s going to get some revenge? Or when Garza or Kazmir decide to buzz A-Rod and accidentaly hit him in the elbow and he’s out for 2 months? It’s stupid and unfortunately this is just the beginning.

    John - YF March 13, 2008, 10:43 am
  • “…I hope this ends things….”
    amen, yf
    but, i’m afraid it won’t…just look at some of the post game comments by maddon, gomes, and upton…[from’s account of the incident]…and frankly, the yankees seem to be sick and tired of the attitude within baseball and even the media that it’s always open season on them…chalk it up to petty jeolousy i guess [even for a team that hasn’t won in 7 years] …i didn’t like the high spikes, but the slide wasn’t even a hard one…certainly not like some of the rolling take-outs we’ve seen with guys breaking up double-plays, that could lead to a serious leg injury for the infielder…as for the take-out of the catcher, paul’s assessment of that player’s “value” is irrelevant to the discussion…it’s a play folks will view differently as some of the discussion shows…i have to admit that i only saw the home plate collision one time, but it appeared to me that the runner led with his helmet…we’ve had this discussion before, when posada got freight-trained, and i’m ok with bowling over the catcher, but leading with your helmet gets you a spearing penalty in the nfl…that may be why some folks thought it was a little overboard, especially in spring training…it was a little too football-ish…
    the hbp was probably inadvertant, or as posada [i think] said, he could have actually hit him and not just brushed his shirt…besides, with runners on base and 2 out, it hardly seemed like the kind of game situation where you’d hit someone…that aside, throwing inside is still part of the game right?…even in spring training games?…
    i’m all for a more hard-nosed approach [without the spikes], because i think the more graceful, reserved style the yankees have used in recent years has not worked well for them…

    dc March 13, 2008, 10:51 am
  • I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said, dc. Personally, I like when a pitcher drills a batter in the middle of the back. It sends the same message but without all the moaning and groaning. Even better if they hit the same player that “sinned”. That’s how the Jays handled the Ha! incident and A-Rod simply took his base (even as that was the funniest baseball play I’ve ever seen, especially one called “dirty” by some haters).

    A YF March 13, 2008, 10:58 am
  • You guys are missing the point.
    Duncan hit a single and forced it into a double and THEN went spikes up into Iwamura. He hit a SINGLE. A ball just past the 3rd baseman. If he does the same thing on a double play (like he did to John McDonald last summer) I have nothing to say about it. That middle infielder knows he’s coming hard and prepares for it. It’s the context it which it happened that is WRONG. Spikes up in the flow of the play = fine. Spikes up on a play that you forced and are out by 5-7 feet = wrong.

    John - YF March 13, 2008, 11:04 am
  • “i’m all for a more hard-nosed approach [without the spikes], because i think the more graceful, reserved style the yankees have used in recent years has not worked well for them…”
    why do so many yanksfans think that the yanks have been so abused over the years? and how has their style not worked? look at the average number of wins per season the last decade.

    Ric March 13, 2008, 11:04 am
  • It seems to me that if Duncan really wanted to hurt Aki, he would have. The slide was brutal, but he may have been trying to knock out the ball WHILE sending a message. Just because it’s a backup catcher, doesn’t mean he isn’t a Yankee. I have no problem with what Duncan did. Aki is not in the hospital today with a broken bone, Cervelli is…

    krueg March 13, 2008, 11:19 am
  • i don’t think i missed the point john…i said twice that i didn’t like the spikes aspect of the play…spikes can cause a serious injury…it was thugish, bit i don’t think duncan is really a thug, just a guy that got carried away trying to show he’s a good teammate…he did slide directly at the bag, a detail that seems to be lost in the outrage, and i stand by my assessment that it wasn’t a particulary hard slide, nor was it one of those equally dangerous out of the baseline body blocks, which we see frequently, but with less outrage…it’s clear that the infielder didn’t expect the slide because he had plenty of time to move away [5-7 feet] after making the play, otherwise, why did he stick around?…what’s also clear is that some hard plays [running over the catcher and breaking up double plays] are accepted, while spikes [we agree on this] and intentional head-hunting [and we probably agree on that] are never acceptable…

    dc March 13, 2008, 11:22 am
  • “One, try and find somebody with some baseball knowledge that agrees with Girardi’s stance on the Cervelli play.”
    Mike Gardenhire of the Twins agrees with Girardi’s stance. Bowling over catchers is technically legal, but in Spring Training, it is not acceptable baseball. Again, the real problem lies with Maddon’s irresponsible attitude. It’s telling that even though there have been several plays at the plate this spring training, only the Rays have been bowling over catchers.
    Coming in spikes up is never ‘acceptable’ baseball either, but in terms of unacceptable things, Duncan’s antics are hardly the most reprehensible thing in the world. In fact, Gomes attempting (and hilariously failing) to tackle Duncan while he was on the ground and his back was turned is far more reprehensible. That’s not even baseball in the least, it’s (well, a pathetic attempt at) wrestling.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 12:21 pm
  • I can’t disagree with anything there, Andrew.
    For the sake of argument, let’s say Duncan knocks the ball loose. What’s the call? What’s the reaction?

    A YF March 13, 2008, 12:29 pm
  • good point about gomes andrew…while i smiled too when i saw it as kind of a 3 stooges pratfall, it was a dirty play [or non-play], very sneaky and dangerous to blind-side another player like that, but it appears that’s the kind of team the rays have become under maddon…maybe gomes learned the move from zimmer’s dance with pedro from a few years ago…

    dc March 13, 2008, 12:30 pm
  • Look, we’re dealing with grey areas here. In my mind, here’s what’s going on:
    Issue #1: Cervelli gets hurt. There’s the “he shouldn’t be blocking the plate” response and the “it’s ST, for chrissakes, don’t go around hurting people” response. I think that, while there’s merit in the former, there is a very real sense in which people accept an unspoken set of rules (not just in ST, but also for other forms of friendly competition) that were violated on that play. As a result of that play, Cervelli is in the hospital.
    To oversimplify: nobody likes the asshole who comes to a friendly ball game and plays like it’s the World Series, especially when someone gets hurt as a result.
    Issue #2: Shelley decides to go a bit vigilante and slides in hard. I don’t think we can excuse that behavior, but I do think we can understand it. Don’t think of it as vengeance so much as signaling. Essentially, Duncan is saying that if the Rays aren’t going to play friendly, the Yankees shouldn’t have to either. Now, he certainly decided that he was going to deliver that message after he rounded first and went out of his way to do so.
    That decision isn’t okay and it’s not one Girardi should tolerate. On the other hand nobody got hurt as a result.
    Issue #3: Gomes is what makes the whole thing a bit hairy. His bullshit move is just an excuse to grandstand in a conflict that would’ve been resolved after the ejection of Duncan if he hadn’t stepped in. Instead we have a brawl and a lot of bad blood that didn’t need to be there. I think this is going to continue into the regular season.
    Finally, the Yankees get the big brother treatment in baseball. Other teams are allowed to cross lines our players aren’t, and I’m pretty much OK with that. It’s one of the burdens of being the most visible franchise in the sport: you have to set an example. Hell, one of the Royals could be arrested for multiple homicides and it wouldn’t be as big a story as Jeter’s taxes.

    Adrian-YF March 13, 2008, 12:53 pm
  • Meanwhile, in actually relevant news, the Sox released Mirabelli (Kevin Cash is now the BUC, and Dougies’ Goin Deep is now sadly obsolete), and EPSN retroactivly gives Schilling a Cy Young award.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 1:01 pm
  • If Duncan knocks the ball out I would go with he still gets called out (interference) and still gets tossed.

    Dan March 13, 2008, 1:03 pm
  • Dougie’s not going deep tonight!
    Gonna miss that guy, even though he was awful, but in reality, Cash is actually worse. This is slightly odd.

    LocklandSF March 13, 2008, 1:05 pm
  • “…EPSN retroactivly gives Schilling a Cy Young award….”

    dc March 13, 2008, 1:06 pm
  • Their headline now says “Schilling placed on 60-day DL” or something to that effect, but it used to say “Former Cy Young winner sidelined until All-Star break”.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • Billy Crystal didn’t look too bad. Worked the count until it was full, made contact with one pitch fouling down the 1st baseline, then struck out. I have to say, I was impressed, he didn’t look like a complete idiot up there.

    LocklandSF March 13, 2008, 1:32 pm
  • Just to clarify, the bad blood between the Sox and D-Rays was pre-Maddon. That was Lou Piniella being an ass, pure and simple. There has been little to no bad blood since Piniella left TB, so I don’t think it’s fair — particularly given the high rate of turnover among players in Tampa — to draw similarities between those brawls and this one and say it’s an organizational problem (unless you’re saying that a young team, as the Rays perennially are, is more prone to respond incorrectly to a situation and escalate it further than it should go).

    Paul SF March 13, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • Back to the brawl for a sec.
    Not having read Abraham … I have place a large amount of blame here on Girardi. He overreacted to begin with, setting a bad tone. Wonder how much of this is because he’s too eager, if not anxious, to prove that he’s not in over his head. I don’t want to make a habit of this, but I don’t see Torre reacting to the home plate collision with anything other than a cool head.
    P.S., I’m not trying to suggest that Girardi was a bad hire, just that if this happens in his second or third year on the job he reacts with a cooler head, thereby avoiding this whole thing.

    I'm Bill McNeal March 13, 2008, 2:37 pm
  • dc, nobody ever accused ESPN of getting it right.
    Speaking of ESPN, has anyone read Will Leitch’s book “God Save the Fan”?

    I'm Bill McNeal March 13, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • You gotta love the fact that ESPN Sportscenter had this Spring Training “fight” as one of their leads–right along with the NCAA tourney bids and the Rockets’ 20-game win streak.
    BSPN, The World’s Leader in Hype.

    SoxFan March 13, 2008, 2:53 pm
  • IBM: That seems to me to be a pretty ridiculous reading. Duncan is kind of hot/meat-headed, and was sounding off before Girardi commented. And it shouldnt exactly be a shocker when a former catcher becomes upset when one of his own is steamrolled in the 9th inning of a pointless exhibition game. I’m not saying it was a dirty play. It was rough. But why don’t we give Girardi just a weee bit of slack here. And it’s not like he’s a rookie manager. I seem to recall he does have a trophy from his previous stint, for what that’s worth.

    YF March 13, 2008, 3:02 pm
  • Holy crap, 5 perfect innings for Mussina.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 3:05 pm
  • attackgerbil March 13, 2008, 3:09 pm
  • if only moose could face pirate minor leaguers every start.
    [we kid!]

    YF March 13, 2008, 3:14 pm
  • when julian tavarez threw a punch at carl crawford during a ST game i was embarrassed. now a year a later i totally understand he was just sending a message, which makes it all good.
    i’m just glad the yanks never retaliated when matsui broke his wrist in a game against the sox.

    sf rod March 13, 2008, 4:04 pm
  • Do some Yankee fans really think that the Bombers are mistreated by MLB itself? Seriously? On what basis?
    Certainly there are decisions made, disciplinarily, that fans of every team think are too stringent. Some of that sense of victimization or unfairness may, in the moment or related to a specific incident, be justified. But the suggestion that MLB has a pattern of persecution vis a vis the Yankees is absurd.

    SF March 13, 2008, 7:57 pm
  • > Do some Yankee fans really think that the Bombers are mistreated by MLB itself? Seriously? On what basis?
    I don’t think the Yankees are “mistreated” by MLB at all. To even insinuate that the Yankees have any disadvantage of any type is ludicrous. Farcical. They have every advantage money can afford.
    However, for several years I have thought that opposing pitchers hit a lot of Yankees batsmen and knock many more down than what seems to be expected and what seems to be the norm in the many non-Yankee games I watch. My thanks to Julian, who put a number to that suspicion earlier in the thread. That’s just what one should expect when you consistently field a team of batsmen where there is threat all the way through the order.
    Intellectually, I am disappointed that Duncan made the choice he did, but the dark “id” side to my outlook on the how the game has evolved says, “good for him.” Hopefully he will abandon that sort of tactic as quickly as I hope to abandon the idle infatuation with the presence of a Yankee enforcer.
    I do not think it will really matter much once the real games with the real rosters begin. This is a footnote, news for news’ sake.

    attackgerbil March 13, 2008, 9:10 pm
  • SF, the ‘victimization’ atmosphere probably has more to do with the rest of the league, as in baseball teams, ‘having it out’ for the Yankees, which certainly makes sense. Jeter and A-Rod got hit an absurd number of times last season, and once this type of stuff happens, the umpires warn both benches before the team can respond. On the rare times when a pitcher took it into his own hands, they were ejected, and not the instigator.
    And anyway, this from Olney’s blog:
    Duncan answered, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi seemed on board with the action. Plus, from what I hear, some veteran Yankees were impressed that he was willing to go to the wall for a minor league player — and got a sense of how much he has their backs.
    Hmm, interesting. So Pete Abraham, the expert on all things Yankees, seems to be completely wrong once again on the entire situation. He’s a great beat writer when he’s just reporting facts or making little jokes, but when it comes to analysis of any kind he’s just dead-awful.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 9:12 pm
  • “…Do some Yankee fans really think that the Bombers are mistreated by MLB itself? Seriously? On what basis?…”
    uh, no sf and ag…you may be speaking to one of the other commenters, but if my comment from above: “…the yankees seem to be sick and tired of the attitude within baseball and even the media that it’s always open season on them…”, suggests that to you in any way, you’ve misunderstood…there has existed and still exists a massive chip on the shoulders of some players, teams, and fans regarding the excesses and successes of the yankees…the media just likes to pile on when it’s convenient, because it’s more interesting to talk about the yankee soap opera than do an actual baseball story about some boring team going through the motions during these “meaningless” spring training games…although i’d say the yanks and rays have found a way to make them meaningful after all…
    …i’d rather not get into whether or not one could cherry-pick some instances where it appears the yanks got screwed by an umpire or got the short end of the stick in a beanball incident, or any other yanks v. the mlb establishment for that matter…we’ve gotten our share of breaks too…it’s fashionable even outside of boston for some to hate the yanks, and revel in their failures and missteps, let’s leave it at that…

    dc March 13, 2008, 10:07 pm
  • I can’t wait to see the reactions from some of you when Upton or Gomes take out Jeter or Cano. I CAN’T WAIT! After all they are simply getting the back of Iwamura, LOL.
    It’s sad that there are Yankee fans that think what happened was good for this team. We finally fought back, yeah awesome now when A-Rod takes one off the elbow because we finally fought back…Sweet move!

    John - YF March 13, 2008, 10:11 pm
  • A-Rod takes pitches off the elbow all the time. That’s kind of the point.
    And Cano and Jeter have taken much, much worse than what Duncan did.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 10:14 pm
  • Yes Shelley Duncan has righted all the Yankees wrongs by stretching a single into a double and cleating a second baseman. There’s a New Sheriff In Town, just ask NoMaas. Let’s endanger any one of the key members of our 200 million dollar payroll simply because a young kid got run over at the plate on a normal every day baseball play. We will show them!

    John - YF March 13, 2008, 10:24 pm
  • Jesus christ, John. It’s not even that big a deal, but you’ve made it into some personal vendetta against all Yankee fans who appreciate what Duncan did, and realized that Girardi is significantly different manager from Torre.
    You have your opinion of the matter, and we have ours. It’s okay if we disagree. But you are really turning into a huge ass over the situation.
    Face it: Girardi supports Duncan. So do several veteran Yankees. If anything, what he did was good for team chemistry, which is essentially good for the Yankees, whether or not you think it was wrong.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 10:27 pm
  • I don’t have to face anything, what Duncan did was AWFUL baseball. There is nothing to appreciate, he didn’t do this team any favors. These two teams meet 18 times. The Rays have nothing to lose and will play as such. If they loss Gomes, they still finish 3rd. If we lose Jeter on a take out slide at second where do we finish? Baseball is baseball, long before you or I walked this planet it was decided what was good baseball and what wasn’t. What Shelley Duncan did was Bush, no doubt about that. What happened to Cervelli was unfortunate, but that play was not Bush. You can call me an ass all you’d like, that’s twice, but my opinion will not change. I respect the game too much to think what Duncan did was commendable. There were ways to handle this situation and this wasn’t one of them.
    Also, I will bet you diamonds to donuts the “Veterans” that Olney is referring to do not include the ones that matter. As for Girardi supporting that, you will never know the truth on that. There’s a fine line he has to walk as manager. Just because he hasn’t said it was Bush, doesn’t mean he doesn’t think it was.
    This is by no means an attack on you Andrew, so stop making it personal.

    John - YF March 13, 2008, 10:38 pm
  • Just for reference, the top fifteen in the Majors in HBP went like this:
    Chase Utley
    David DeJesus
    Jose Guillen
    Aaron Rowand
    Grady Sizemore
    Josh Willingham
    Kevin Youkilis
    Edwin Encarnacion
    Prince Fielder
    Derek Jeter
    Rickie Weeks (tied 10th)
    Aaron Boone
    Alex Gordon
    Corey Hart
    Dan Uggla (tied 14th)
    So two Indians, two Yanks, two Phillies, three Brewers, three Marlins, three Royals. The next Yankee on the list, Cano, tied for 51st in the league with 9 HBP.
    The four AL playoff teams were the Yanks, the Indians, Angels, and the Sox. The Sox, Indians, and Yanks were three of the four top HBP teams. Each of the three teams wears out pitchers, they were also three of the top four teams in free passes. Each of these teams had deep lineups that worked counts and saw pitches. The Angels were notoriously impatient at the plate, fifth worst in BB (only 7 ahead of the 3rd worst team), 130 behind the Yankees and 182 behind the Sox. I get why these teams get hit more, to some extent. On the other hand, I don’t understand the Royals, who were incredibly impatient, never walk, aren’t very good offensively. Maybe their fans are the ones who should be barking louder?

    SF March 13, 2008, 10:51 pm
  • You keep saying what Johnson did was not ‘bush’, but in fact it was. ‘Long before you and I walked the earth’, it was considered Bush to use excessive force, namely taking out a catcher, in Spring Training, where the games matter not at all. It is in fact, NOT an everyday play to lunge at the catcher during a spring training game. I would think that as a catcher who has actually experienced the game, Girardi knows this more than anyone, including you, me, and apparently Joe Maddon.
    I’m not saying what Duncan did was RIGHT, I kind of wish Phillips had actually beaned one of their guys, just so we wouldn’t have to have these arguments, but you’re talking about Duncan like he’s some scum-of-the-earth criminal. He’s not. He’s an overzealous baseball player who, in some people’s eyes, made an error of judgment. However, you have to realize that other people have eyes as well, specifically certain Yankees whose opinions and thoughts matter infinitely more to the Yankees than yours or mine, and in theirs, they appreciate it.
    And, come on, ‘ones that don’t matter’? It’s okay to be wrong. Abraham with his faux-air of actually thinking he knows what he’s talking about had you fooled. He fooled me as well, until I actually read actual quotes and didn’t rely on his ineptitude as an analyst.

    AndrewYF March 13, 2008, 10:56 pm
  • “…I can’t wait to see the reactions from some of you when Upton or Gomes take out Jeter or Cano. I CAN’T WAIT! …”
    geez john, i’ve read enough of your comments to know you’re too thoughtful to really mean that…i’ll tell you how i’ll react, i’ll be pissed…this should now be the end of it…if girardi and maddon are smart, they’ll meet and come to an understanding that this crap has to end…we disagree i realize, but i tend to side with andrew that while the play at home was perhaps fair, it was excessive and dangerous for both players…duncan’s play was simply foolish and uncalled for, so a retaliatory play equally as foolish by the rays will do nothing but make them appear like thugish perennial losers with a [yankee] chip on their shoulders [see gomes blindside cheap shot on duncan]…the yanks are always expected to take the high road…it’s someone else’s turn…i say let the managers manage and sort this out man to man…but i don’t have any hope that either of them have it in them…
    nice stats sf, but irrelevant…sort out the intentional hbp from the unintentional, then we can discuss…i know that’s not possible, but that’s the point…many times it’s subtle, but sometimes the intent [particularly at times in arod’s case] is obvious…

    dc March 13, 2008, 11:40 pm
  • One thing that hasn’t been said, and thank goodness for a good writer like Kepner for bringing it up: If anyone on the Yankees knows how to play the game the right way (c), it’s Shelly Duncan. The kid’s a lifer if there ever was one.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 5:03 am
  • Meanwhile, who here knew that Dave Duncan was a catcher? I didn’t. Suffice it to say, the kid knows something about plate collisions during Spring Training.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 5:06 am
  • i still don’t like the play ‘a yf’, or any play that unneccessarily puts another player at risk for an injury…slide hard, run over the catcher, pitch inside, but don’t put yourself in a situation where you might end a career because you went too far…in my opinion, both the collision at home plate and shelly’s retaliation crossed the line of excess…that’s where this should end, but like i said, i don’t see either of these managers budging…what i do like about the episode is that the yankees have finally showed that they are tired of having a bullseye on them because the torre yankees would have turned the other cheek and acted with dignity and class…maybe a better ending would have been for girardi to simply punch out the guy that ran over the catcher…or if duncan had stretched his single into an inside the parker and ran over their catcher, leading with his helmet of course in a spearing-like football move…

    dc March 14, 2008, 7:56 am
  • If you think Shelley Duncan plays the game right my arguing here is useless.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 8:11 am
  • yes, damn those useless, tell-nothing statistics!
    I am with John here. Shelly Duncan “plays the game right”, how, exactly? You mean, like they played way back in the 80s, when he was being reared? Or like in the 1930s? This is classic “David Eckstein is scrappy” journalism, something to write when there isn’t much else to write about.

    SF March 14, 2008, 8:49 am
  • I agree with most everything you say, dc, but “might end a career” takes it way too far. Spiking someone in the leg is inherently not taking out their knee. It’s a superficial wound that’s a bitch to heal, especially on the ankle, but nothing more than that. The kid knew exactly what he was doing, just not how it looked.
    John, you seem to be taking this extremely personally. My point was only that Shelley Duncan’s the definition of lifer. I’m glad Kepner pointed that out this morning. He operated in a grey zone, but so was running over a catcher in a Spring Training game. And, from his background, if he equated the two, who are we to judge?

    A YF March 14, 2008, 8:54 am
  • john, i know your comment is for ‘a yf’, but it’s definitely not useless for you to argue your point of view…i happen to respect what you have to say…i think you and i agree about duncan’s play, not so much on the home plate collision…but this isn’t a contest to see who’s “right” all the time…frankly, that’s why i take a break from this once in awhile…

    dc March 14, 2008, 8:54 am
  • “…yes, damn those useless, tell-nothing statistics!…”
    see what i mean john?… it’s this kind of response that wears me out…it’s ok to use stats to prove a point, but sometimes it requires some deeper digging analysis of those stats to understand what theory those stats are really supporting…i only said that it would be helpful if the hbp’s could be sorted by “intentional” v. “unintentionsl”…impossible task, but helpful in determining if hbp is any evidence of a team or player being picked on…

    dc March 14, 2008, 9:00 am
  • Please, dc, you are the one who first called my citation of stats “irrelevant”.

    SF March 14, 2008, 9:14 am
  • Sorry, but Kepner is a responsible writer. If you read the report it gives a different flavor to this very tired story.
    Raise your hand if you knew Dave Duncan was a catcher.
    The kid understood the intent of the Cervelli play much more than any one here could ever know. He responded accordingly. Good for him and the team.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 9:15 am
  • dc, point is that unless you can separate intentional from unintentional HBPs, then that stat is irrelevant.
    How do you know which teams have wild pitchers and which consistently send a message?

    A YF March 14, 2008, 9:17 am
  • should have read: dc’s point

    A YF March 14, 2008, 9:18 am
  • I don’t need to be right. I just feel very passionately that this is not the right way to play the game. I hope this is the end of it myself DC but I doubt it. On that note….

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 9:21 am
  • Kepner is a very responsible writer, one of my faves in NYC. But that’s neither here nor there. This theme, that someone plays the game the “right way” because they’re a “lifer” is claptrap, filler for these days of Spring Training where there just isn’t a lot to write about.
    Honestly, this whole thing is totally overblown. More likely than not John is right: Duncan has done something which will have no long-term positive effect on his team. Galvanizing? Please. It’s March. Duncan may be gone by May and nobody will remember this event but Maddon and the Rays. So more likely than not, it could come back to bite them, though that might never happen either.

    SF March 14, 2008, 9:29 am
  • Kepner never used the “right way” phrase. It was my wink at an abused cliche, thus the copyright claim (c). There is no “right way” – just a bunch of informal rules about the proper way to comport yourself on the field – and they differ across the different levels of the sport. But we cannot doubt that Duncan learned very earlier about how baseball is played among professionals. They policed their own long before the game got pussified and it worked. I’d argue there’s been more trouble in the time since the umpires and commissioner’s office have gotten involved. And now we have the incessant noise with the ESPN and now the blogosphere as an tiresome echo chamber. And every body wants to define the “right way”. Get over it. That’s for the professionals to decide for themselves.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 9:42 am
  • unless you can separate intentional from unintentional HBPs
    As I see it, there are two ways to treat the HBPs.
    1: Separating the two probably wouldn’t be useful because you’d more than likely find the ratio is about even across the board. The scenarios that call for an intentional HBP should even themselves out, given a large enough sample size (and I assume we’re talking about several years of at bats here).
    2: Separating them would prove that a significant number of teams “have it out” for the Yankees, to the point that they’d rather put their team in a better position to lose by chronically hitting the Yankees’ batters.
    One of these is rational. The other is Oliver Stone territory.

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 9:57 am
  • In an exhibition game between Detroit and the Giants in 1916, Ty Cobb took umbrage with an inside pitch and decided to slash his spikes into Giants’ infielder Buck Herzog later in the game. After he was once again brushed back by a pitch (from Jeff Tesreau), Cobb challenged Herzog, Tesreau and the rest of the New York team to fight. The story goes that Herzog and Cobb fought on the field, under the stands after the game, and in Cobb’s room at the hotel later that night. Eyewitness accounts differ on who won the fight, but with the reputations each of them had for fighting, it’s safe to assume both Cobb and Herzog got in some good licks.
    Duncan plays the game the right way, aligning himself with one of the most notorious pieces of scum to ever don a uniform, a guy universally loathed as a human being, who spiked a player other than the one who threw at him. Now that’s tough. Or idiotic.
    The game is “pussified”? I won’t get into your verbiage, which I dislike, but how so? In my opinion the weak ones in all of this are the ones who go out of their way to injure someone and chalk it up to being a “lifer”, as if that’s some sort of justification for doing something stupid and being a hothead. The actual tough guys are the ones who block the plate and get hurt in an exhibition game, who know their position and play it with conviction despite risk. The toughest, most old school guy in all of this is the Yankee backup catcher who did his job, even knowing that he could get hurt. The “pussies” are the Shelley Duncans of the world, frankly.

    SF March 14, 2008, 9:57 am
  • I also suppose Shelley learned that old-school technique of autograph signing from his Dad and all his baseball lifer buddies too, who no doubt taught the kid to always add “TEAM X SUCKS” to the end of his signature when interacting with young fans in cities other than his own.

    SF March 14, 2008, 10:02 am
  • How come no one talks about Gomes flying in from RF and blindsiding Duncan? How is that acceptable if what Shelley did was so evil and criminal???
    Personally, I think the Rays organization and fanbase are a joke. I lived there for the last seven years so I know what I’m talking about…if it weren’t for the Yankees and Sox, they wouldn’t even have a team anymore.

    krueg March 14, 2008, 10:23 am
  • Does anyone doubt that what Gomes did was over the line? Is anyone defending him? Did Gomes afterward say he didn’t see how what he did was wrong?

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 10:27 am
  • Maddon has defended Gomes, staunchly.

    SF March 14, 2008, 10:31 am
  • I posted this yesterday. Very few would say the revered Munson didn’t play the game the “right way” (c):
    Game 2 of the 1977 ALCS – and it’s the top of the 6th inning.
    Frank White whiffs to start the frame for the Royals and that’s followed by a Freddie Patek double. The next batter, Hal McRae walks – putting runners on first and second with one out.
    Next, George Brett grounds a ball to Graig Nettles who fields it and throws to second, forcing McRae- where Willie Randolph attempts to turn a double play. However, McRae knocks Randolph into what seems like short left field with a nasty take-out “slide” and Patek rounds third and scores. This tied the game at two runs apiece. Al Cowens later flies out to center to end the inning.
    In the bottom of the 6th, Graig Nettles goes down swinging as the lead-off batter for the Yankees. Thurman Munson then singles to center. After a Reggie Jackson pop-up to second, Lou Piniella singles to center. On the hit, Munson rounds second and slides late, and hard, with his spikes high, into third – where George Brett was covering the bag.
    Afterwards, Munson said “I slid late just to let him know I was there. If I’d have wanted to hit him, I would have hit him. My argument isn’t with George Brett. The guy I want to get is McRae. He better stay away from me. I told him so. He’s been trying to hurt people for eight years.”
    – from

    A YF March 14, 2008, 10:37 am
  • “And every body wants to define the “right way”. Get over it. That’s for the professionals to decide for themselves.”
    What a subtle jab.
    Professional or otherwise I am responsible for almost 60 kids in my program and I will never have them thinking that’s the way you play the game. You have your ideas on it, I have mine.
    As for Gomes, I am pretty sure immdiately after he said he knew what he did was wrong and had no place in the game. I think he said something like he could have done worse, but it’s baseball and he knew that the fans and children were watching.
    Krueg, get ready for that to change. The Rays have Price, but they also have a young kid named Jake McGee who isn’t far off. He is also a LHP and had 346 K’s over the past 2 seasons. That team has a very solid foundation. I would say if all things fall into place they will be in the mix with the Yankees and Sox, maybe sooner. Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Price, McGee, Longoria, Brignac, Iwamura, Pena, Crawford, Upton…That’s a pretty amazing foundation.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 10:38 am
  • “no doubt taught the kid to always add “TEAM X SUCKS” to the end of his signature”
    Sorry, that was funny. Almost as funny as Pedro tossing a old man to the turf. ;)

    A YF March 14, 2008, 10:40 am
  • We have gone over this 100 times…I am not oppossed to sending a message with a slide. Take out slides, spikes up, whatever the case may be, that’s the players policing the game themselves. (A La Shelley Duncan last season in Toronto on McDonald) My issue is that Duncan went to second on a SINGLE. Munson was on his way to second, he didn’t force the issue. I am pretty sure that if you ask Frank White he knew he was going to get knocked on his backside, that goes back to the players policing it themselves. Duncan went against the normal flow of the game to prove a point. Had he done the same thing on a groundball double play, I would have not said ONE word. My issue is with the play in which he chose to send the message. He or someone else had 18 more chances to send the PROPER message. He didn’t need to stretch a single into a double and force the issue. That’s what makes the play Goonish, not the actual act of sliding late or going in spikes up.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 10:46 am
  • Sorry I don’t know where I got Frank White, I meant Brett.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 10:47 am
  • John, you’re taking what I said out of context. I understand the rules are different at different levels. So do your kids. No where in the professional rule book is a rolling slide outlawed. But if you try it, you’re going to get a fastball in the ribs if not worse. The fact is all of these things operate in grey areas. And if one of your kids gets spiked turning a double play, I hope you would understand when he turns around and does the same. Or better, one of your kids gets plunked. To your team, it was on purpose. What do you tell your pitcher?
    We can all pretend that competition is some field of purity. But the fact is, it gets dirty. And that’s part of the fun, especially when no one gets hurt. Someone getting spiked is much less risky than a fastball being aimed at a hitter.
    And actually, Gomes said nothing of the sort. The only thing coming out of his mouth was forced machismo.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 10:50 am
  • I don’t disagree with the problem of Duncan’s timing. And that’s probably what Girardi told him. But now you’re on a slippery slope, and I thought you were arguing something else. If the retaliation is okay in your book, then the only thing Duncan did wrong is in trying to force the issue. That’s not a principled argument. It’s an argument about how to get away with playing with some dirt on your uniform.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 10:54 am
  • “He tried to inflict some pain on Aki,” Gomes said. “[Protecting a teammate] just comes second nature. I was taught in T-ball all the way up, to always protect a teammate’s back. I just acted how I act. I wasn’t really trying to get a shot in on him. I probably could have done a lot of things worse. But it is a baseball field and there’s fans and kids watching. I just had to let him know that’s not going to fly.” – – Gomes
    minus the he knew it was wrong. You are right there.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 10:54 am
  • Wrong, A. Gomes said exactly what John said he did, that he could have done something far worse than what he did, but that there were kids watching. That’s a pretty silly comment (thanks for thinking of the kids, Jonny!), but John is correct in his assertion about what he said.
    Here is Gomes’ quote:
    “I probably could have done a lot of things worse, but it is a baseball field and there’s fans and kids watching,” said Gomes. “I just had to let him know, that’s not going to fly with me on the field.”

    SF March 14, 2008, 10:56 am
  • Cross-posted with John. Gomes is a moron, I think we can all agree on this.
    He and Shelley should hang out together.

    SF March 14, 2008, 10:57 am
  • “Two, if retaliation is necessary turning a single into a double on a ball just past the 3rd baseman is not the way to go. Nothing about Duncan’s play was gritty or gutsy, it’s just plain goonish. They play each other 18 times during the season. There would have been plenty of chances to break up a double play hard or put one between someone’s number.”
    Posted by: John – YF | Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 10:43 AM
    My argument has been the same from start to end. It was purely a timing issue. Retaliation (if they felt it to be necessary) was never the issue. He just went about it the wrong way.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 10:59 am
  • I never heard Gomes say anything about his actions being wrong and cowardly…nor have I heard any Rays fans show any contempt for him. If two wrongs don’t make a right in the eyes of all 200 Rays fans in the greater Tampa Bay area, then three certainly wouldn’t either. They are a bunch of hypocrites. I’m in this fight as I know a few Rays fans and we have been going back and forth over it for the past few days…
    John: I’ve heard the Rays media, fans and organization sing the same tune for the last 7 years. “we’re almost there”, “We have a great core of young players”, etc. etc. etc. Well, they’ve had a decade of 31 overall picks and how has that worked out so far? IF their kids pan out, and most of them haven’t, they will be forced to actually pay them…this won’t happen. I’m not worried about the Rays.

    krueg March 14, 2008, 11:00 am
  • Uh, I read that same statement and it’s exactly showing what a tough guy he is.
    “I probably could have done a lot of things worse.”
    Really, tough guy? Like what?
    It’s all talk talk talk.
    “I am pretty sure immdiately after he said he knew what he did was wrong and had no place in the game.”
    There’s nothing even close to that in his “statement”.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 11:01 am
  • If retaliation isn’t the issue, then you’re on a very slippery slope, esp. with what to teach your 60 kids.
    Do you teach them spiking another player is okay if they get spiked?
    Do you teach them plunking another player is okay if they get plunked?
    Where does it end?
    That’s the problem with all this zero sum nonsense about the “right way” (c). The players do a fine job of policing themselves. Who are we to judge?
    Like I said: “every body wants to define the “right way”. Get over it. That’s for the professionals to decide for themselves.”

    A YF March 14, 2008, 11:04 am
  • A YF, do you constantly need to be the firestarter? I said here’s the quote MINUS the statement of apology. I said YOU ARE RIGHT. Good lord man.
    Krueg, I am big on prospects and I have learned that certain players pan out and others don’t, I understand. But this core group that they have is very talented. Sure they need some bullpen help, what team doesn’t, but overall this core group is very talented. Price is the real deal, provided he’s healthy he should be dominant in the near future. Longoria is a beast and from all accounts Brignac isn’t far off himself (his defense is ehhh) and the other young Rays are already established (Pena, Upton, Crawford) I really believe this team contends in 2010 if not sooner.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 11:06 am
  • As a Sox fan I am definitely paying attention to the Rays. They have some added pitching depth, and young talent. Why shouldn’t the Yankees and Sox worry about the Rays, if not as potential playoff contenders then at least as improved competition that could seriously dent a wild card opportunity? It’s supremely arrogant to dismiss this young, talented team. The Rays could cause major problems and have a big impact on the pennant race in the AL.

    SF March 14, 2008, 11:11 am
  • My reply wasn’t directed to you. It was directed at:
    “Wrong, A. Gomes said exactly what John said he did”
    “John is correct in his assertion about what he said.”
    I have every right to question that. Thanks.
    But seriously, I’m very interested in how you teach the grey areas. I have yet to to start coaching. I’d like to know how you handle it.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 11:11 am
  • Agreed John, I think the Devil Rays finish 3rd in the AL East this year, and do better a year or two after that. They’ve got a great young core, with some good veterans in the mix.

    Atheose March 14, 2008, 11:12 am
  • The right way as you call it was to wait until the proper situation presented itself. You can twist my words and make definitive statements all you’d like, my comments have been the same from beginning to end.
    As for what I teach my kids, we don’t ever talk about retaliation. That’s a quick way to lose your job. In High School baseball there you are only permitted to slide directly into the base, unlike MLB. We slide hard all the time, but we don’t retaliate. I also have never told a kid to hit another kid, nor would I support that.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 11:13 am
  • Also, I’m surprised we’re still talking about this. It happens a few days ago, it’s not very important anymore. Did anyone notice that Moose pitched 5 perfect innings yesterday, or that the Sox released Miriabelli today? These are important things to discuss! The Shelly Duncan thing is just stupid at this point, and we’re all arguing over minor details.

    Atheose March 14, 2008, 11:14 am
  • I think their biggest issue this season is the bullpen. They have the SP that’s for sure. Kazmir, Shield, Garza, that’s a pretty darn good start. Percival should be their best option in years closing out games. I think the key to success this season will be is Carlos Pena for real and is Longoria ready for the bigs. Bartlett will be solid at SS and Iwamura is a solid player at 2nd. I really think this team will upset the balance of the East this season. They are as good as the Rockies on paper, they just play in the NL West unfortunately for them.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 11:19 am
  • So let’s assume Duncan’s play is just a gritty, tough play that has its place in the game, spring training or otherwise.
    Then isn’t the play that injured Cervelli also a gritty, tough play that has its place in the game, spring training or otherwise?
    And if it is, doesn’t that make Duncan’s retaliation completely unnecessary, if not hypocritical? You can’t retaliate on a play that has its place in the game. Well, I guess you can

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 11:21 am
  • I’m not twisting your words. You said:
    “I just feel very passionately that this is not the right way to play the game.”
    “Professional or otherwise I am responsible for almost 60 kids in my program and I will never have them thinking that’s the way you play the game. You have your ideas on it, I have mine.”
    Then said:
    “My argument has been the same from start to end. It was purely a timing issue. Retaliation (if they felt it to be necessary) was never the issue. He just went about it the wrong way.”
    Now it’s:
    “As for what I teach my kids, we don’t ever talk about retaliation.”
    What’s the consistency there? Seriously, I’m saying it’s only and ever up to the players to decide. And from the sound of things, you don’t seem to agree. But if it’s not the players, then what?
    See, we’ll find out if this ends the next time the two teams play, even as Gomes ratcheted the nonsense to a whole new level. If anyone doesn’t understand how the game is played, it’s him.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 11:22 am
  • “Then isn’t the play that injured Cervelli also a gritty, tough play that has its place in the game, spring training or otherwise?”
    You’re putting the cart before the horse. The Cervelli play is borderline dirty in the context in which it happened. Duncan was trying to even the score in the very next game. That should have been the end of it. Instead, Maddon seems to like his guys playing that way so he keeps spouting nonsense. If it continues, it’s Maddon’s fault plain and simple.
    By contrast, I’ll use the Ha! play. Sure, it was borderline dirty on A-Rod’s part (even as it was hilarious). Next time against the Jays, he got plunked and simply took his base. End of story.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 11:28 am
  • The comment I made about my kids was in response to Duncan being a child of a former player and playing the game the “right” way. Being that my sons are 2 years and 4 months, I think it’s a little early to have the talk with them. So I said I don’t want my kids in my program thinking what Duncan did was the right way to go. Believe it or not I do more then just coach them between the lines. I also try to help them appreciate and understand this game from their level to the bigs. I don’t teach retaliation at the HS, that’s ridiculous. I do however understand that it has it’s place in MAJOR LEAGUE baseball. I don’t see where the confusion comes in, especially if you read my comments in their PROPER order and context.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 11:33 am
  • The HA! controversy didn’t end there…Mr. Duncan made his presence felt back then as well. Remember his slide that nearly took McDonald’s hand off?

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 11:36 am
  • Incidentally, I started that comment back when it was relevant, and then got distracted, so it reads a bit OT now. Feel free to ignore…

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 11:39 am
  • John, you brought up HS baseball, and your kids, as if there’s some equivalence there. If you’re saying there isn’t then really there wasn’t a good place to bring that into the discussion. I think any HS kids is smart enough to know that if he did what Duncan or Gomes did, he lose many games sitting on the bench. But I also bet if one of your kids did what Johnson did in a pre-season scrimmage, there would have likewise been trouble. i bet if that happened to your catcher, you wouldn’t explain it away as how the game is played when the game being played wasn’t meaningful.
    As for Duncan and the Ha! – who knows if they’re related. Did the Jays think so? I don’t remember them hitting Duncan after that. He says he plays all out. Again, who are we to judge? If the players thought it was out of line, they would retaliate. That’s been my point.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 11:46 am
  • “John, you brought up HS baseball, and your kids, as if there’s some equivalence there. If you’re saying there isn’t then really there wasn’t a good place to bring that into the discussion.”
    Again, I brought up MY KIDS because the issue of Duncan being taught by his Dad how to play the game the “Right Way” I did not bring up HS baseball for ANY OTHER REASON. That is where I was putting the two together. Like I said earlier since I can’t teach a 2 year old and a 4 month old what’s right or wrong I talk to my older kids. I don’t see why this is hard to understand.
    As for what I would do if my catcher was barrelled over, it would never happen. That too is against the rules in HS baseball. The runner must slide. If he does in fact purposely barrell he’s ejected and suspended.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 11:54 am
  • If the players thought it was out of line, they would retaliate.
    I feel safe in guessing, then, that the players will indeed retaliate. And Shelley Duncan won’t be the one being thrown at; heck, he might not even be on the team!
    And wouldn’t that be something — a basebrawl over a pair of incidents in which none of the three principal participants are actually with the team at that time.

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 11:56 am
  • Amen Paul. That was a point I brought up earlier. It will most likely be Jeter or Cano that pays the price and at that point do you think they will be thanking Duncan for his “gritty” play?
    “he might not even be on the team!”
    From your mouth to God’s ears.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 12:00 pm
  • Well, it wasn’t just his Dad. It was many, many other MLB players. That was the Kepner story today. Again, he learned how to play professional baseball from professional baseball players. You’re drawing an equivalence where you’ve just said there isn’t one, and that’s proven even more so by the different rules.
    We’ll see if Duncan gets retaliation. He’s playing in the Tampa game tomorrow. Still, Maddon is doing a pretty piss poor job of letting this die down – you know, “criminal” behavior and all.
    Gotta run. Thanks for a great discussion.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 12:01 pm
  • Last point: The Rays should know that if Jeter or Cano “pay the price” then so will Longoria.
    Have a great day.

    A YF March 14, 2008, 12:02 pm
  • “You’re drawing an equivalence”
    Yeah time to right another article. It’s amazing your site runs as well as it does with all the time you spend here.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 12:06 pm
  • I’m about as sick of him as you are, John. Jesus christ he just doesn’t quit.

    Atheose March 14, 2008, 12:14 pm
  • Yeah I apologize. The all caps comment is out of character. I took the bait and I shouldn’t have.
    Ath, how’s your brothers season going so far?

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 12:25 pm
  • It’s going well so far, he stayed very healthy in the offseason and should have a fantastic season. His stats should be up at soon. He pitched his first game last week and went 6 innings, 6 runs but only 1 earned (thanks to two errors), and he went 1 for 3 at the plate with a single and a stolen base. They ended up winning 8-6.

    Atheose March 14, 2008, 12:30 pm
  • Best of luck to him. That’s great.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 12:37 pm
  • Thanks John, appreciate it. Good luck with your kids when they start too.

    Atheose March 14, 2008, 12:39 pm
  • John and SF: Until the Rays win some games, I am not worried. Living in Tampa for most of the 2000’s, I heard/saw this before from St. Pete…show me, don’t tell me. Just my opinion. The Rays being “new and improved” is all speculation based on young players, some that have never really sniffed the Majors, panning out and becoming great players…I’ll believe it when I see it.

    krueg March 14, 2008, 12:41 pm
  • is all speculation based on young players
    It’s also based on better performance of late, a new general manager who seems to show signs that he knows what he’s doing, and a new manager who isn’t Lou Piniella and thus, by default, is a vast improvement.
    As a Red Sox fan, let me assure you that the tenor of an organization can change rapidly once the people at the top of the organization are replaced. Look at the Red Sox in 2001 (the final year of Yawkey/Duquette) versus 2003 (the first year of Henry/Epstein). Within two years of new ownership, and one of a new GM, the team won the World Series, and within five years the entire organization has been transformed from one players were dying to run away from to one players are dying to play for.
    It’s an extreme example, but I’m willing to give the Rays this shot. They look a lot better from the top down than they have at any point in their history.

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 12:49 pm
  • The Rays being “new and improved” is all speculation based on young players, some that have never really sniffed the Majors
    No, it’s not just that. It’s Kazmir, Shields, Garza as the front three. They have a chance to really screw things up in the AL, moreso than in any past year.

    SF March 14, 2008, 12:50 pm
  • Carlos Pena 2010
    Carl Crawford 2010 (Club Option)
    Aki Iwamura 2010 (Club Option)
    James Shields 2014 (Club Option)
    David Price 2012
    That’s a pretty good nucleus for the next 3 seasons. Add to that:
    The Rays have 7 prospects in BA’s Top 100. Including 3 pitchers in the top 20 and 1 position player. In addition they have Brignac and Niemann not far behind. It’s a crapshoot sometimes with how many of these kids actually pan out, but they sure do seem to have the necessary foundation in place.
    Also, I questioned the Rays bullpen but I forgot they added Wheeler and Balfour. Those 2 should really sure up that questionable middle relief. In addition they have Al Reyes who was solid for stretches last season.

    John - YF March 14, 2008, 1:03 pm
  • David Ortiz is glad for at least one stretch where Reyes wasn’t solid. Helped him reach his annual walk-off total.

    Paul SF March 14, 2008, 2:03 pm
  • Gomes suspended two games, Melky and Duncan suspended three. Melky apparently threw punches in the melee after coming off the bench, leading to his suspension. Girardi and Maddon fined.

    SF March 14, 2008, 2:16 pm
  • “Cabrera was also disciplined and fined for violent and aggressive actions. A videotape review of the incident showed Cabrera punching a Rays player during the incident at second base, according to a report on”

    SF March 14, 2008, 2:19 pm
  • What is your problem, man? Why are you taking this so personally? I was simply trying to get at what you meant. On the one hand it seemed like you were against all forms of retaliation. On the other, you said the timing was just off. And while you nail Duncan to the cross for what he does and does not know, you tell me you don’t ever teach the same things. So how do you expect your players to ever learn the “right way” if you’re not helping guide them through those grey areas? And we can disagree, like civilized people, without SHOUTING AT ONE ANOTHER.
    It it helps, take a hypothetical example: One of your players comes to you, and says he just got spiked on purpose. What do you tell him? Or one of your players hits a bomb in the first inning, watches it from the batter’s box, then gets plunked in third? Do you say anything to your pitcher? What if he “acts” on his own?
    Meanwhile, what does this:
    “Yeah time to right another article. It’s amazing your site runs as well as it does with all the time you spend here.”
    even mean? What are you talking about?

    A YF March 14, 2008, 2:32 pm
  • I understand what you guys are saying…on paper, they look much improved. Two things though, on paper means nothing, look at the Yankees. Second, improvement is to be expected when you are the doormat of the AL for your entire existance, not to mention how far they would have to improve to even make a dent in the Yankees and Sox. I’m sorry, I just don’t see it. Will they be better? Probably. Will they all of the sudden reach 3rd place in the AL East? I don’t think so.

    krueg66 March 14, 2008, 3:23 pm
  • on paper means nothing, look at the Yankees
    Not sure what this means. Are you saying that the Yankees look like champions on paper but haven’t won it all recently? If so, I think you underestimate how well the Yankees have performed, even during these last several years without a title.
    As for the Rays, I will say it again as I said in an earlier thread: I think they are improved enough, have (if healthy) a top three in their rotation that could cause a lot of confusion in the playoff picture this year. I don’t think they will finish near the top of the division, but fans better not just look at their own team’s schedule and assume a .650 or .700 winning percentage against these guys.

    SF March 14, 2008, 3:39 pm
  • SF: that’s exactly what I’m saying. The Yankees have had the best lineup in the league, maybe ever, the last few years and we haven’t won it all. I’ve never underestimated my own team, quite a stretch on your part. I’ve always been one to think that a great offense can cover for sub-par pitching. Obviously, I was wrong. So I am actually in the other camp.
    I’m sorry, I just don’t “fear” the Rays and the Yankees shouldn’t either. There is a big difference between “improved” and “good”. The Rays have taken their share of games from both the Yankees and the Rays…that’s to be expected. But they will not be a factor.

    aaron March 14, 2008, 4:06 pm
  • i know this is now being played out on another thread, but i have to respond to sf’s and paul’s rather flippant remarks about my challenging their use of stats to prove a point…it’s tiring, but i get toasted by you guys when you think i didn’t pay attention, or you believe i’ve taken you out of context…now it’s my turn to lecture you: please actually read what i say before you respond…nowhere did i say stats don’t matter, just that raw hbp stats without some analysis to prove or disprove a conspiracy theory is irrelevant to the discussion…i don’t think you can separate intent from accident in this case, and that was the only point i was trying to make…frankly you guys tend to overdose on the stats sometimes…case of too much of a good thing, you know?

    dc March 14, 2008, 8:49 pm

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