Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rain Delay Ponderings

So I’m sitting on my couch last night, waiting out the Yanks rain delay, mentally preparing for Phil Hughes to lay an egg against the Sox… when I got to thinking: Rain delays will not be a good thing for the Yanks this year. Gives fans like me too much time to think.

Couple of thoughts that went thru my head during this particular rain delay:

-I would much rather have the Red Sox team than the Yanks. This is completely blasphemous for a life long Yankee fan to say, quite frankly I feel a little queasy because of it, but I completely mean it 100%. Why wouldn’t I?

The Red Sox have a stable of young arms raised at home in their own farm system, an above average bullpen and defense, and a lineup that even Mr. Moneyball Billy Beane could be proud of. Other than David Ortiz and occasionally J.D. Drew, they have a lineup of guys with high on base-percentages who do not strike out.

This enables them to manufacture runs when they happen not to be hitting it out of the ballpark. Along those lines, are there two tougher outs in the entire major leagues than Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis? Pretty sure Pedroia had 73 extra base hits and only 52 strike outs last year. Amazing.

Also, and I think I would rather have hernia surgery without anesthesia than admit this, but I think you have to credit that obnoxious little punk Theo Epstein for putting this team together and for killing it in the draft since he arrived in 2002.

The thing that pains me the most about the Red Sox roster being so perfectly built, is the fact that this USED TO BE THE YANKEES. It has been a total role reversal from the late 90’s and early this century, when the Yankees were winning World Championships. The Yanks were the team with the homegrown young roster, made opposing pitchers work, got on base at a high percentage, and won games in October. And the Red Sox? They were a joke, and the Yanks ate them for lunch on a regular basis. And now? Just the opposite is true. Pains me to no end.

My question…when exactly did the Yankees decide that formula that won those World Series titles was broken? Why did they start paying a king’s ransom for every aging, past ripe, free agent on the market?

Along those same lines….

-The spending this off-season has totally made me sick. The Yankees have definitely spent more than a few off-season dollars in the last five or six years, but this year was a little bit different. With an economy in turmoil and unemployment raising, the Yankees went ahead and spent $161 Million on C.C Sabathia, $180 million on Mark Teixeira, and $82.5 on A.J. Burnett. Good players all (except Burnett…or as I like to call him Carl Pavano with nipple rings), but definitely not such sure things that I would have spent that sort of money on them. Hell, even if those names happened to be Whitey Ford, Joe DiMaggio, and Ron Guidry, that sort of overspending still probably would not be justified.

I understand there is no salary cap in baseball, and the Yankees earn at a far different level than other small market teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but this type of gluttonous spending in such a poor economy just doesn’t sit right with me.

-Joe Girardi needs to wake up. Other teams know Joba is on a fairly strict pitch count. Don’t you notice them taking a lot of pitches on him? They know if they do they will get into your crappy bullpen by like the 4th or 5th inning at the latest. I personally would like to see him groomed as Mariano’s heir apparent, but if you are going to start him, you have to take the reins off.

- Is it too late to go back to the old ballpark? I mean, the thing is still up right? Why don’t we just scrap this new guy and just start playing games in the old park again. You know the one the Yankees won 26 World Championships in, that used to have those great crowd roars, and used to never have any empty seats. Yeah that one.

I was against building the new Yankee Stadium from the beginning. The old stadium was more than alright. It was the one I grew up watching games in, and one of the most revered venues in all of sports. Also, that one wasn’t going to cost $1.3 Billion to put up, and cost NYC taxpayers a few hundred million dollars in the process (pretty sure George Steinbrenner is the reason my monthly subway pass is about to cost $110 bucks….nice).

I have heard the counterarguments, about how you need luxury boxes and first rate accommodations. I’ve also heard people rave about how nice the new stadium is (especially the bathrooms for some reason).

To me this is akin to someone talking about how their brand new $300K Mercedes “rides really smooth”. Guess what…for 300K a car BETTER ride like its floating on marshmallows…..and for $1.3 Billion I SHOULD have a comfy seat and not have to stand in urine.

One more point. Curses and superstition don’t exist in real life, but they do exist in baseball (ex. “Curse of the Bambino” and the Ron Santo black cat).

So what kind of negative karma do you think will be associated with tearing down “The House that Ruth Built” for the grand purpose of making a couple of extra bucks on seat licensing fees?

I shiver at the thought.

- Silver lining. This could very well end up being another lost season for the Yanks. One sliver of sunshine showing through the dark clouds? If the Yankees end up missing the playoffs and firing Joe Girardi, it could very well signal the return of one Donald Arthur Mattingly. Yup….Donnie Baseball.

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