Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Trevor Cahill didn't look much like a Cy Young candidate last night, as the Yanks beat him up for the 2nd time this year. The Yanks have hit him up for 14 runs in 10 innings this year.
Is there anyone in the league hotter than Marcus Markey Thames? Another blast last night against a fire-balling right-hander. The Yanks are still tied with Tampa Bay, after the Rays victory last night. 99% of the residents of Tampa found out when they read this morning's newspaper, because they sure weren't AT the game. Less than 12,000 people showed up to watch the team with the best record in baseball. Yankee Stadium, of course, was "sold out again," if you believe Michael Kay, which I don't (and they weren't).
***FROM JANICE HOUGH***
"Mizzou's football team has now had three DUI arrests in the past couple month. Looks like Missouri has now become the "Show me your license and registration" state."
***AND A COUPLE FROM DWIGHT PERRY***
"Some 10,276 people in China broke the world record for the biggest human domino chain, state media reported. The old mark: 9,237 at Seattle's old Kingdome, in line outside the women's restroom."
Not really Dwight's, but still funny:
" Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on the state of women's basketball at Oregon State: "A program with more inner turmoil than Kirstie Alley's digestive system."
***MANNY GOES TO CHICAGO***
Why, I don't know. The first problem has surfaced and Manny hasn't even put on a uniform yet. GM Kenny Williams has announced that Manny will have to lose his signature dreadlocks to comply with the White Sox' "appearance policy." Didn't Joe Torre make the same announcement a couple of years ago? How did that work out, Joe?
As far as this supposed 'appearance policy,' has anyone in the Sox front office noticed that ugly growth on the chin of Bobby Jenks? I didn't think so. I guess they didn't say what kind of 'appearance'.
***ANOTHER USELESS STAT***
They announced last night, that Marcus Thames' home run in his 5th straight start, ties him for 4th highest on the Yankees since 1920. 4th highest! Tied! And just on the Yankees! Wow, what a milestone. No word, though, as to the jock situation (thank god).
***WHO NEEDS HIM?***
The Yanks are 16-3 with out A-Rod. At least we can count on him to bring movie stars around.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Things don't look too good for the Yanks. Burnett can't find the strike zone, but he is finding the bats, Hughes looks like he's bat shy, Vasquez appears to be pitching batting practice and the last two spots belong to a journeyman and a rookie. Isn't it odd that both Mitre & Vasquez were extremely effective in mop-situations this week? Sabathia probably has 6 starts left and Mike Lupica says the Yanks need him to win every start. Oh. I never thought of that.
***STATS FOR STAT'S SAKE***
I just love hearing these worthless stats during a game: "He's in a bit of a slump; he's 1 for his last 8." Must be hari-kari time, huh? Or this: "He's straightened out. He's only given up 2 hits and a walk in the last two innings." Great! We're behind 9-2, but the pitcher has found his rhythm.
Then there are the ridiculous, unimportant records. I heard this on ESPN today: "He's the first pitcher in Major League history to save a 1-0 game in his first relief appearance with a new team." He's also the first one to wear a mauve jock strap backwards that was made by Wilson Sports. ...Just so you know.
And another: "Derek Jeter has at least 10 home runs and 15 steals in 15 consecutive seasons, topped only by Barry Bonds' 16 seasons." Wow! Someone call Guinness.
At least Phil Rizzuto talked about important things, like where to get the best cannolis.
***BOY, WOULD MY DAD BE IN TROUBLE***
My dad had the ability to know just how to get under the skin of a player with his heckling. He had most of the fans in the left field stands of the old Washington Senators wanting to buy him a beer for getting on White Sox left fielder Minnie Minoso (who responded by having a terrible game). Vod and I once almost put umpire Augie Guiellmo in an asylum with our razzing of him in Syracuse. Now, it seems, players are fighting back. Nyjer Morgan, of the Washington Nats, threw a baseball and hit a heckler in the head in Philadelphia. I would guess there was extreme provocation since it WAS Philadelphia, but that probably wasn't a good thing. The worst thing that ever happened to my Dad was when some kid hit him in the head with a peanut for blasting a home team player. ...and that was in Philadelphia, too. ...and the kid had a better arm than Morgan.
***WHAT MONEY? OH, THAT MONEY***
Yankee haters like to say the Yanks BUY their pennants, forgetting all the "luxury tax" that they pay the small market teams. Those teams use the money to get better players. Oh, wait. No, they don't. Perennial loser Pittsburgh Pirates has been selling off their highest paid (and best) players because they "couldn't afford them" for years, yet they showed a $30 million profit last year. The Florida Marlins are in the process of getting a new stadium, paid for by the taxpayers because they're not making any money. Now, it's been discovered that they HAVE been showing a profit and an investigation is imminent.
"Picasner At Large" is also operating at a loss (really), and any and all contributions of sweet cream cannolis will be appreciated. ...So help me, Cashman.
Friday, August 27, 2010
So, we tried to see the Batavia Muckdogs, but we were postponed due to "draining." It was supposed to be a doubleheader, too. With the postponement, the Muckdogs now had to play back-to-back doubleheaders. So what happened? The 'Dogs proceeded to win 4 games in two days, putting them in first place in their division, with the 2nd best record in the whole Eastern League. ...And I missed it. Bummer!
***STRASBURG TO HAVE TOMMY JOHN SURGERY?***
Guess it wasn't just a hangnail. This is another fine example of premature Hall Of Fame assumptions. The odds of a complete recovery and full scale resumption of his abilities are pretty good, but by no means, a sure thing.
This makes me wonder if a pitcher's pitching ability can sometimes supersede his body's physical ability to sustain it.
***BIG, BIG WEEKEND FOR THE RED SOX***
Three games against the Rays in Tampa. A sweep by Tampa means the Sox start looking at next year. A sweep by Boston probably makes it a three-way race for two playoff spots. I'm guessing that Tampa takes 2 out of 3.
Lets not forget that the Yanks have to do some damage in Chicago, too.
***SAMMY SOSA IS MAD***
He says he's upset at the Cubs because they haven't retired his number. He said it in English, too. I don't blame the Cubs; I wouldn't have retired his number, I'd have burned his jersey. Let's look at his legacy:
"Probably" took steroids
Got caught using a corked bat
Left the team with one game left in the season (and lied about it)
"Forgot" how to speak English in front of Congress
Who would want to wear that number?
***PUJOLS HITS #400***
Hard to say anything bad about "The Machine."
***CLIFF LEE NOT PERFORMING***
At least, not up to Cliff Lee standards. He's 2-5, with a 4.50 ERA for Texas. The NYC writers would have had a field day if the Yanks had gotten him and he did this. He'll get better, but the Rangers must feel snake-bit.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Annie-O and Picasner drove all the way to Pittsburgh for a game, but didn't stay for the game because of extreme weather conditions. Last night, we drove to Batavia (85 miles round-trip) to see a Muckdogs game with Vod and the very charming Laura. No dice! We suffered a sort of "rainout." In "Bull Durham," Crash Davis created a rainout by turning on the sprinkler system. At Dwyer Stadium, they had a 'drainage backup,' with an accompanying odor, which would have adversely affected concession sales, to say the least.
But, the trip wasn't a total loss, as we discovered the training center for Major League Umpires. Here's a picture of the facility:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
When the first three batters in the lineup go 7 – 11, that’s a good thing, unless your talking strikeouts. Gardner, Swisher, and Teixeira led an all-star cast of fan dancers to the plate last night combining for two hits and seven K’s. They were ably supported by a hapless group of swingers who contributed an additional eight K’s in a loss to Toronto – or, more specifically, Jose Bautista’s 39th and 40th homeruns.
Impressive start for Nova, who, FYI, has pitched more innings this year than anyone on the Yankee staff other than CC Sabathia.
Is Joe Girardi an immigrant from the planet Boring? The only item of interest in any Girardi interview is counting the number of times he snort-laughs.
Who really misses watching A-Rod?
Does Picasner really need the assistance of others in bashing umpires? ConnecticutYankee must be a relative.
Was Meals the cause of 12 Yankee K’s or was it Morrow’s wicked slider?
So Picasner thinks Damon will be disingenuous if he signs with Boston for a pile of money? Didn’t The P sell his soul to the guvmint this census season for just a bit less?
Johnny was claimed by the Red Sox yesterday. No big deal, it seems everybody gets put on waivers and sometimes players are claimed, but it's all a game: who's interested in this guy, who's not, who needs help, who's blocking another team, etc. General managers need to do something to fill up their day.
Damon's reaction was typical: "I'm a Detroit Tiger. I like being a Tiger. They want me here. I don't want to go anywhere. I hope to be here next year." etc. - etc. - etc. However, here's a scenario that could very well happen:
Theo Epstein (Red Sox GM), "Johnny, we'll give you a $5 million bonus if you'll..."
Damon: "I'M YOURS!"
Think it can't happen? Watch.
***AN EMOTION-FILLED GAME***
Here's a rant from the 'Connecticut Yankee':
I had to say something about this. The plate umpire last night, Jerry Meals, sucked with a suckitude that would have impressed a lamprey. Not only was his strike zone all over the place (instead of "Be inside or be outside, but be consistent!" running through his head, he had the theme of "The Andy Griffith Show"), he made up for his inconsistency by being contentious. Why did he chase Encarnacion off the field, then toss him? Did the Jays shortstop send him telepathic cuss words that Meals picked up with his ESP? Hello? Mr. Meals? This is actually a baseball game, not The Jerry Meals Show. Umps should be heard and not seen. They're there to reduce conflicts during the game, not create them.
By the way, what was the deal with the over-sensitive Bautista stalking toward Ivan Nova with a bat in his hand when the pitch got away from the Yankee rookie? Honestly, talk about a persecution complex. Here's the pitcher, just called up from AAA for his first start, facing the pressure of playing for the Yankees against a strong team like the Jays, trying his best to throw strikes and actually pitching pretty well. Despite his efforts, at least two pitches per inning got away from him. Now here's bad-ass, juiced-up (Did I just say that?) Mr. "I've never hit more than 16 HRs in a season, but now that I'm pushing 40, I'm all that and a bowl of sherbet" Bautista who's crowding the plate. Another ball gets away from Nova, sailing over Cervelli's head--NOT Bautista's--and the Jays batter gets ornery. Some advice: Get over yourself, grab some Xanax bubble gum, and step back into the box, Yosemite Sam.
Speaking of sucking, Jeter had the night off. Not to worry: Teixeira and Nunez picked up the GIDP slack.
That's all for me, folks. I am outta here."
Couldn't have said it better myself, CY.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Girardi finally seems to be losing confidence in Javier Vasquez, pulling him after 3 innings plus one batter and the score tied 4-4, yesterday. Javier has lost his fastball completely and he's probably going to end up competing with Gaudin & Mitre for the "Mop-Up" role.
On the bright side, the Yanks newest addition to the roster, Eduardo Nunez, came through with his first major league hit, a single to drive in the lead run. The Yankees' farm system doesn't seem as lean as some scouts say.
***SOME THINGS I READ***
From Buster Olney: "When Cliff Lee doesn't hit his spots, he gets lit up." Not exactly a revelation for any pitcher, Buster.
From the NY Post: "To say the Mets are dreadful, is insulting to the word dread." They're right. The Mets, as a team, appear to have bagged the season.
I need help understanding this one: "We all saw him sitting there in front of Congress, and it didn't go away, so you knew it was going somewhere at that point in time. ...I never really interrogated him about it because I didn't want to know. If it was something I didn't want to know, I certainly couldn't say I didn't know it."
It sounds like Casey Stengel, but it's really Joe Torre talking about Roger Clemens.
***GOOD NEWS AND SAD NEWS***
Vin Scully has announced that he will return next year. The consensus is that he is not only the best baseball announcer ever, but he's the best over-all sports announcer ever. I heartily agree.
Today is the last day for Sweet Lou Piniella, who has announced that he retiring after today's game. It has to do with his mother's health and it must have been bothering him for a while, because you could see he had lost his fire for the game and his fire was among the hottest in baseball.
***STRASBURG GETS HURT***
After throwing a pitch yesterday, Stephen Strasburg shook his right arm and winced in pain. Nationals manager, Jim Riggleman, was at the mound before Strasburg's pitch made it to the catcher. I think he brought with him a trainer, a doctor and a priest. He was taking no chances with that golden arm. You can be sure if Strasburg needs any kind of transplant, the Nationals will see to it that it comes out of Riggleman's body. Even if it's a heart. No truth to the rumor that he carried Strasburg all the way to the clubhouse on his back. Unless it's just a hangnail, they'll probably shut him down for the rest of the year.
It's raining, it's pouring (in New York), but Cano is not snoring, he's soaring. Another grand slam for the Yanks. Who do the Yanks opponents think is the most dangerous hitter in the Yankee lineup? It must be Mark Teixeira, because with all the damage the Yanks have done with the bases loaded this year, especially after walking Teixeira intentionally, they are still walking him. ...And still paying the price. It's 5-0 Yanks in a 6th inning rain delay.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
At least, this time it was to a quality pitcher. Nobody looked comfortable hitting against the King. Luckily, this was the last time the Yanks will face him this year.
Speaking of uncomfortable, A-Rod hit a bouncer to third and basically walked to first base, and from there, into the clubhouse. He may end up on the DL. His body has been breaking down a lot in the last year and a half. It doesn't look good.
Neither did Burnett. It's amazing that a guy with the most electric stuff on the staff, gets short-circuited so often. [Sorry about the pun but I've been reading Dwight Perry a lot]
***IS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS?***
Let's see, the A's squeezed across two runs in the 7th, to beat the Rays, 5-4. The Red Sox pushed two runs over in the last couple of innings, other wise, they would have been beaten 16-0. Toronto had 5 guys with 3 or more hits in that game. And Burnett wasn't in that game.
So, somehow the Yanks are still in first.
Hopefully, there will be more pleasant news the rest of the weekend.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I will spend the next couple of days researching a proper remedial reading course for my good friend Vod, or perhaps a new optometrist. Why would I give a nickname like "Wrong Way," to a columnist that I'd name as an asset to a sports page. If the Rochester paper is so bad, cancel your subscription and buy the Syracuse Post Standard. Do they still feature Jerry Izenberg, one of the best sports columnists ever?
***SPEAKING OF OUTBURSTS***
A fine 9-run outburst sealed the fate of the ever-falling Detroit Tigers yesterday, in spite of the efforts of one-time "genius" Jim Leland, who mixed and matched pitchers like he was arranging dates for the prom. There were some long blasts by the Yanks, but I couldn't help but notice the help given by the positioning of the Tiger outfielders. Our crack analysts did note, early in the game, that the Tiger outfielders play a very shallow outfield, but failed to point out how many balls that went over their heads might have been caught if they stationed themselves at a reasonable depth. It also made balls hit into the gap almost impossible to cut off and even when they did, they weren't in good position to hold the runners to a single.
Vod is right: Brett Gardner makes an excellent lead-off man, but what do you do with Jeter. His penchant for hitting ground balls make him a great candidate for double plays, so hitting 2nd seems dangerous. He should probably be hitting 9th, but as columnist Joel Sherman, points out, who's going to tell him? More to the point, who's going to tell Annie-O? or Maris? Vod, this looks like your line of country. Be a pal, I don't like sleeping in the garage.
***MICHAEL KAY IS GETTING MARRIED***
This probably explains his lack of concentration lately. He's gotten the count wrong, the number of outs wrong and even the score wrong. I'm assuming the Yankee front office is forcing him to say that there is a sell-out every game, when there obviously is not. He said it again yesterday when the actual attendance figures indicated they were 4000 fans short. Or as Red Barber used to say, "They came disguised as empty seats."
All I can say, Michael, is I've seen pictures of your fiance. You're excused!
***MATSUI IS STILL HELPING THE YANKS***
He hit a 3-run blast yesterday to help LA beat Boston. Go Hideki!
***THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN BASEBALL***
Any guesses? It's being put on the Boston Red Sox major league roster. New acquisition, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, lasted a week before he made it to the DL with a leg infection. Now Dustin Pedroia has been held out of a game because the foot he broke is very sore. Still, outside of New York & Tampa, only 4 other teams in baseball have a better record, and not by a lot. Francona is a better magician than David Copperfield.
***THE OVER-RATED STAT***
How often do you enter a game with your team ahead 11-2, and get credited with a save? How often can you give up 3 runs and still be credited with a save? When can you do both in the same game? The answer: when you're the NY Yankees "mop-up" man and your manager doesn't want to waste his "good" pitchers. That man is Sergio Mitre and as Michael Kay pointed out, "He's not doing his job." Well, not very well, anyway. So Segio got the kind of save Sparky Lyle described when he talked about cheap saves.
***CLEMENS IS INDICTED***
My only comment is a quote from Thomas Boswell: "Clemens is not stupid, so why is he so dumb." Exactly!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
As one newspaper describes it. the Yanks win a 'testy' battle. Of course, the umpires were right in the middle of it , and mishandling it, as usual. This "warning-to-both-benches" business has gotten out of hand. One batter gets hit and the warning is issued. Then the umpires either over-react and toss guys for some implied intent or ignore what is sometimes, obvious retaliation. Can you blame Leyland for being upset? The Yankee color-men to a man, advocate letting the players handle it in their own way. You have to give some credence to those opinions, since they are all former players. On the other hand, they're not down on the field and and it's pretty hard to get beaned sitting up in the booth...unless you happen to get between Paul O'Neil and his latest steak sandwich.
Girardi, taking a page out of the Joe Torre "How To Destroy A Bullpen" book, emptied his, last night, like it was game seven of the World Series. I hope Hughes is prepared to go nine today. Two games in a row, Girardi used Rivera in a non-save situation. I agree with Vod, Saves are the most manufactured and suspect stat there is, but with a four run lead, why waste Mo when it wasn't necessary? Do I detect a little panic here? Who do they use today?
He's got Nick Swisher becoming one of the most feared hitters in the Yankee lineup and he seems to have worked some similar magic with Curtis Granderson. Hey, Kevin Long, how about taking a look at Derek Jeter? I don't know if this is indicative of anything, but have you noticed that Jeter doesn't fly out at all? He's hitting nothing but ground balls. Sure seems strange to me.
Note to Vod & Maris: Let's try to get along. Don't make me separate you two.
To paraphrase Roseanne: "Who got drunk and cut Johnny Damon's hair?"
Another night without a change in the standings – the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees all win – and another night without a hit for, well, you know who I mean – and not Jorge Posada – although he didn’t get a hit either. He did almost throw out a runner at second sending Flash into a paroxysm of unrestrained glee and prompting the comment that he hadn’t seen Jorge throw so well in a very long time while the play was YES-Mo-ed to his twittering delight. If Posada had actually thrown out the runner, an increasingly unlikely occurrence, I’m sure Flash would have fainted dead away, fallen from the booth, and crushed an unsuspecting fan enjoying a YES-Dog and YES-Brew.
Kudos for Kerry Woods getting a strikeout to end a bases-loaded, two out threat and the only moment of any drama.
We are all aware that Picasner is ever alert to the vagaries of numbers that might suggest there is a facet of the universe that does not coincide with our favorite’s system of lore, misconceptions, misapprehensions, general confusion, and incorrectly defined self-interest. During the past months we have had several conversations about the relative merits of local newspapers including the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the Syracuse Post Standard. When we moved to Rochester last November I expected to find a vibrant, informative local daily. After all, Rochester boasts about its culture, its institutions of higher learning, and it is certainly larger and wealthier than Syracuse. Sadly, I found the D&C, an anemic rag more suited for wrapping fish than enjoying with morning coffee and mentioned my disappointment. Our boy jumped to the defensive of this noxious excuse for a newspaper with the same vigor as if I had offended his dear, sweet mother. “But the D&C has Bob Matthews”, he repeatedly mumbled while shaking his head in disbelief that someone had criticized “his” newspaper. In an effort to bring order out of chaos and further enlighten our already erudite oracle, I offer the BCD Index as an objective measure of the relative merits of daily newspapers. The BCD Index is a simple calculation of the number of Boston Cream Donuts I consume while reading a specific paper. What could be more objective than that?
The D&C is usually a 1.0, start to finish. Occasionally, it will score a 1.25 – 1.50 if Dear Abbey is particularly interesting. The Syracuse Post Standard rarely falls below 2.0 given larger op-ed, letters, national news, and sports sections (although they do not have Bob Matthews). Now my favorite mid-sized daily, The St. Petersburg Times is off the scale. This beefy, informative, and entertaining daily can’t be tamed with donuts. The Times requires, at a minimum, a MickeyD’s Big Breakfast and Cina-Melt chaser. Now that’s a newspaper and still 50 cents (but they don’t have Bob Matthews either).
I encourage our boy to give the BCD Index a chance. Even if it doesn’t provide some much needed openness to our cloistered favorite, it tastes damn good.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Dear Potential Assailant:
First of all, it is Mr. LoverBoy with a capital B.
Second, we call 'em as we see 'em.
If you really want to be helpful I suggest that you take up a fund to provide our aging team in general, and Mr. LoverBoy in particular, a large quantity of support hose in Yankee blue. They will most assuredly need them as the long season wears on.
Finally, as Jack Nicholson has so often been quoted, "You don't want the truth. You can't handle the truth."
All of us at Picasner At Large thank you for your comments regardless of how biased and misinformed. Please continue to write but please send them to someone who cares.
Your friend and admirer,
As regards the game Over Index... just another interesting way to look at saves. I refer Picasner to the Sparky Lyle Yankeeography. Sparky explicitly pans the ease in which saves are currently recorded. Enter the 9th with a 3 run lead, give up 2 runs, earn a save. Picasner reminds me of the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water... but sometimes you just want to shove his head under and hold it there".
However, it is true, I am critical of some statistics, especially those which try to make definitive, end-all results based on numbers, when, in fact, they are based on some arbitrary quality rating. Some even put odd numbers together to prove...well, you tell me:
"Let’s examine who has been the most dominant en route to recording saves. We’ve created an attempt to measure the dominance of a closer by creating what we call the “Game Over Index.” The "Game Over Index" measures the percentage of the time a closer records a save without allowing any runners to reach base. Divide the number of those saves by the pitcher’s amount of save opportunities, and you get Game Over Save Percentage, or their “Go Saves” number." [Justin Ray, ESPN Stats and Information]
Well, certainly this will show once and for all, who's the best closer, right? It will probably surprise the hell out of you to find who it is, based on this "fact." (answer later)
Yes, the urge to slap anyone in dark blue is uncontrollable, which explains why I've never seen Vod dressed in a dark blue suit, much to my dismay. So far, it's been limited to umpires, but...
I have been requested to pass along a comment from a loyal reader:
"Dear Chad, This is a warning.......... Don't ever belittle Mr. Loverboy again. Annie and I will be very angry. You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Jeter! Next time you'll pay dearly."
The comment was made by Vod, not me.
"Dear Vod, I have been informed of my error in blaming Picasner of a slight against the beloved Mr. Jeter. So I am passing along my initial warning. Don't spit into the wind and never mess around with Jeter."
PS to CP Sorry, I should have known you would never cross that line.
Of course not. I'm not dumb. And Annie-O says, "You have to sleep sometime."
Oh yeah, the best closer. It's Mariano Rivera. See, we never would have know if it wasn't for that informative and worthwhile statistic.
Just another day in paradise for the AL East. The Yankees ace, C.C. Laundry Bag, took over the lead in AL wins, the Rays proved wrong the talking heads that anointed Cliff Lee the best pitcher in the AL and the Triple A laden Red Sox lineup shut down an Angels team that plays .500 baseball only because they’re in the AL West.
It’s always interesting when circumstances force “Braces and a Buzz Cut” Girardi to pencil a lineup that most Little League managers would get right long before the sandpaper-domed genius. Brett Gardner looked like a real lead-off batter. Derek Jeter showed rare patience walking twice. With the aging ARod once again down for the count Robinson Canoe hit cleanup rather than providing “protection” for ARod – who hasn’t done anything with it anyway – and Nick Swisher was productive batting 5th. Sadly, Mark Teixeira took an 0-fer and Jorge Posada was typically ineffective. But Curtis Granderson provided some pop in the bottom of the order and Pena turned in some nice plays at 3rd and contributed an RBI.
On the down side, this race has forced me to pay far more attention than usual to baseball in August. And that, Ack!, means reading Picasner more than once every other year. Well, there’s no free lunch – and, speaking of lunch, if you’re looking to lose a few pounds I highly recommend The Picasner Diet. Simply read a bit of Picasner Pinstripe Propaganda 10 minutes before any meal and, voila, you won’t fell like eating for hours. Side effects may include sustained ranting, a distrust of mathematics as a descriptive or analytical tool capable of making modest sense out of a chaotic universe, and an uncontrollable urge to bash anyone dressed in dark blue up side the head.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
5 home runs yesterday, three of them by old #13. A-Rod hasn't looked like a power hitter all year, but Saturday, he was awesome. His last homer went almost 440 feet. It's a good thing, because the starting pitchers haven't been too dominant lately. The Yanks are still winning, but I can't seem to stop holding my breath. Aceves is due back some time next week, which means somebody has to go. Boone Logan still has an option left, so it will probably be him, but I think Gaudin should be dumped.
Posada has a sore shoulder which helps explain why his throws to second have been so far off. I should say 'in the vicinity' of second because he's not even close.
The KC outfielders have been making putouts on the warning track for two days. If it wasn't for the wind, the Yanks may have had 7 or 8 home runs yesterday. ...And two more today.
***THIS SURE SOUNDS FAMILIAR***
From Troy Renck, of the Denver Post: "The Dodgers' Jonathon Broxton officially lost his closer's job Friday after his meltdown against the Phillies. It's easy to blame Broxton, but this falls in Joe Torre's lap. The manager has run the tires bald. There have been too many outings with too many pitches — sometimes 50. There was going to be a price to pay. . . . "
No surprise here, since Torre will ride a horse into the ground every time. Joe says he's going to decide in September, if he's wants to manage next year. Gee, I hope the Dodgers don't "insult" him by offering him a job.
***SPEAKING OF THE DODGERS...***
This accounting procedure should be in the CPA Hall of Fame. Frank McCourt, owner of the Dodgers (at least until Jamie has her day in court), has devised an interesting scenario in La-la Land. The Dodgers, who OWN Dodger Stadium pays rent to The Blue Land Co., to the tune of $14 million a year. Is that a lot? Well, the Red Sox, who own Fenway, do not pay rent. The White Sox, the Brewers and Marlins play in publicly-owned stadiums and pay in the neighborhood of $1 million a year. Those Dodgers sure are tough landlords. McCourt's income from the Dodgers is limited by court order while the divorce case is pending. Any other income is not. Oh, by the way, The Blue Land Co. is owned by Frank McCourt. Of the approx $14 million, Frank gets 'only' $5 million. $4 1/2 million is set aside to pay off a $60 million debt (which hasn't been paid in two years), the rest goes to the John McCourt Construction Co. which hasn't done any construction work in 2 years and has only two employees, the Dodgers Chief Operating officer and his assistant. I can see why Jamie wants in.
***YOU'RE BEING TOO KIND***
Outside The Lines, a segment on ESPN, did a two week study on umpires decisions, reviewing EVERY call in EVERY game for EVERY team. They classified 230 decisions as "close calls." They studied each call from as many angles as possible and determined that the umps were correct on 66% of the calls. 20% were incorrect and 14% were "too close to tell." Right, 'too close to tell' is one of the options an umpire has. "Lets do that play over, boys, I can't really decide."
And only 20% were wrong? I think Joe West grades out at about 50% himself. And Tim McClelland couldn't even get a coin flip right.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Didn't it seem like it should have been easier? Were you like Picasner, who watched the whole game thinking, the final score will be 12-2, or something like that? Instead, we ended up with the tying run on third, the winning run on second and Mariano unavailable. It was a win, but it's supposed to be easier.
***FROM GORDON EDES, ESPN***
"You know it's a bad day when the best thing you can say about your closer is that he wasn't arrested." He's talking, of course, about Jonathan Paplebon, the beleaguered closer for the Boston Red Sox. A guy who has been lights out as a closer, almost as good as Mariano (that's still 'almost', Jonathan) has been a real enigma all season. Sure, he has 29 saves, but he also has 6 blown saves, 5 losses and an ERA of 3.26. Not the kind of stats you want out of your closer. This has got to be hard on Terry Francona and we all know how patient the Red Sox Nation is. I feel sorry for them (No I don't).
***ONE OF THE REASONS I DON'T LIKE THEM***
Surprise, it's not umpires this time. Defensive statistics irritate me. I should say 'Defensive Metrics,' those odd numbers statisticians come up with to quantify defensive abilities. Numbers are pure, the method you use to come up with them, are not always so pure. These people use made-up phrases like "park adjustment" and "zone ratings," that they claim can actually give a fielder a true numerical rating. When you study the formulas, however, somewhere in there, is a subjective rating that has no mathematical basis. That's always been my main objection. Tim Marchand, of Inside Baseball, brings out another excellent point:
"The other issue is this: As a rule of thumb, researchers figure that three years' worth of defensive data is equivalent to one year of offensive data. Practically, this means that a single years' rating in any advanced defensive metric is next to useless,...
It also means that we're trying to measure a moving target. By the time those three years' worth of data are in the books, the actual talent of the player in question will have changed."
Hard to argue with that.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Down 6-1, the Yanks staged a slow, professional come back, to beat the Rangers 7-6 and send new President, Nolan Ryan, home with acid reflux. This is probably not too far from the truth, if you saw Nolan's face after the final out. Marcus Thames, batting in Mark Teixeira's third spot, continued the hot hitting from #3 in the lineup, ultimately knocking home the winning run in the ninth. The bottom of the ninth presented it's own little drama: Mariano Rivera, as if to say, 'Okay, you caught me in an off night last night. Let me remind you who's the best!', promptly gave up a lead-off triple and then calmly stranded Elvis Andrus by retiring the #s 2, 3 and 4 hitters in the Ranger lineup. Remember that come October, Nolan.
***SPEAKING OF OCTOBER...***
The contenders and pretenders have been pretty much established in the AL. New York & Texas will be in the playoffs while Minnesota & Chicago fight it out for the AL Central, with the loser probably going home. Boston and Tampa will battle for the wild card as long as Terry Francona continues to win his fight with the Grim Reaper (backup catcher Kevin Cash is now on the DL). Boston is in third place in the AL East with a record better than the the other two division leaders.
In the National League East, Atlanta is preparing to go to war with the Phillies. In the West, San Diego is holding off San Fran while Colorado looms in the shadows, preparing for their patented late season run. In the Central, St Louis is relying on their experience to get them home and Cincinnati is proving that they can trash-talk a whole lot better than they can play.
***A MANAGER BITES THE DUST***
The Seattle front office fired manager Don Wakamatsu for...well, just being there, I guess. He was saddled with a roster full of players that were either over the hill, gambles that were never going to work out and those that are simply unproductive. 37 year-old Mike Sweeney was finished, Milton Bradley's history was well-known, and Ken Griffey should not have tried for one more year. Wakamatsu didn't pick these guys, but no matter, someone had to go, and I've never seen a General Manager stand out on the field with a microphone and proclaim, "Sorry, fans. I'm the one who put these bums out here." ...and I never will.
Speaking of front office mistakes, the New York knuckle...er, Knicks, tried to hire Isiah Thomas back as a consultant. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed (I can't believe I just said that) when Isiah refused the offer, stating that he couldn't take the job because, "It's against League Rules." Oh, really? I'm thinking: A team cannot hire totally incompetent, convicted sex-offenders for the front office.
***GOOD, BUT TWO MONTHS LATE***
It seems that Curtis Granderson has gone to Kevin Long and basically said, 'I'm lost. Help me.' Just in time for Curtis, too, since it was beginning to look like his role was pinch-running and late-inning defensive replacement. Kevin Long has been working with him for two days, changing his stance, his swing, his mental focus and, I think, his breakfast cereal. Long worked wonders with Nick Swisher, but that took all winter. We'll see tonight. Luckily, Granderson has two things going for him: 4 games against the lowly Kansas City pitching staff and no Zack Greinke. And, I understand, Captain Crunch cereal can work miracles.
A fun lunch yesterday with a couple of relatives: two really nice guys and three crazy women. Everybody got picked on and made fun of, or as Dave said, "Everyone spent time in the barrel."
Monday, August 09, 2010
***FIRST UP IS THE YANKEE-RED SOX SERIES***
I'm awaiting the announcement that Beckett pitched yesterday with a bad back. That's the excuse he used the last time the Yanks beat him up. He even went on the DL just to prove he was "hurt." In his career, Beckett has a 6.23 ERA against the Yankees. No Cy Young awards in that stat.
Lance Berkman is finally starting to hit, Mosley continues to impress and I really like this penchant for 2-out rallies the Yanks are staging.Chamberlain looked okay, but anytime someone gets a cheap hit off him, he seems to lose concentration. Girardi pulled him at just the right time.
Jeter passed Babe Ruth on the all-time hit list which seemed to irritate Jon Miller & Joe Morgan. They immediately launched into defense of Ruth (like he needs one, especially from these two clowns) citing how many walks Ruth had. Too many walks? Is THAT why he didn't get 3000 hits? Were they suggesting that Ruth should have tried to hit those pitches that were out of the strike zone? Ah, but Miller had the ultimate answer: "Ruth played all those years with Boston where he was a pitcher and didn't get a chance to bat." Right again, Jon. Ruth averaged 68 hits (and 10 home runs) a year for 5 years with Boston. That's 340 hits. Jeter and Ruth are completely different types of players and neither one needs their excuses.
***GEE, THAT'S A PRETTY HIGH STANDARD***
An ESPN headline says, "Halladay struggles as the Phillies edge the Mets." He pitched 7 innings, struck out 10 and picked up his 14th win. What's he supposed to do, pitch a no-hitter every time?
***IF ESPN CONTINUES TO PUT YOU ON THE AIR...***
...I'm going to continue to pick on you. Joe Morgan, that base-stealing champ, just had to say how wrong it was to slide head first. You can really get hurt that way, you should always slide feet first... on and on, he went. First thing this morning, ESPN showed two plays where runners got hurt sliding into bases...feet first. Joe, don't you get tired of being right all the time?
***I WAS TOLD THERE WOULD BE NO MATH***
Every game, Michael Kay announces that Yankee Stadium was sold out again, then reads the attendance. It's usually 48-49 thousand people. Every day, I read the box score, and the attendance is 94% of capacity. Seems like there might be room for a few more people, Michael. I think it's time to change accountants.
***BIG PAPI HAS THE ANSWERS***
In an interview discussing the reasons for all the no-hitters and near no-hitters this year, David Ortiz says the umpires may be the biggest factor. The strike zones are expanded and shifting, not only from umpire to umpire, but from the same umpire during a game. Ortiz says this forces him to swing at pitches he normally would take. I don't know if he's right or not, but you won't catch me defending umpires.
***EVEN A BLIND CHICKEN FINDS AN ACORN SOMETIMES***
Bob Matthews did come up with a good one: "Considering the way Lance Berkman has swung the bat so far for the Yankees, I'm surprised he hit the ball hard enought to hurt Alex Rodriquez in batting practice Saturday."
***ANOTHER ADDITION TO THE NAME GAME***
You can't make these things up. A returning member to the Premier Basketball League is the Vermont Frost Heaves. The Frost Heaves? C'mon, can it really be that tough to come up with a nickname?
Don't hold your breath regarding the outcome of the Pirogi Races in Pittsburgh. We didn't get to see them, but that's a story for another time.
Why does Josh Beckett smirk when the Yankees hit him all over the lot? Force of habit?
What really baffles me is why he thinks his stupid little beard-ettes look good.
Any major leaguer carrying a tin of chaw in his back pocket while on the field is an ass.
Speaking of same, Picasner’s favorite analyst, Joe Morgan, comes to mind. While Boston was getting pounded last night, Morgan commented that if they can win Monday’s game and split the series then that would be “a very good trip to the Stadium” for the Red Sox. Great thinking, Joe. When you’re playing the team your chasing head to head and finish the series without gaining any ground, that’s not good in any sane universe. There are only two worse outcomes and we’re hoping for on of those tonight.
Hey, Picasner. VacationBoy. I’m done. Your back. Get to work. And don’t bore us with any Pittsburg baloney, pirogis, or whatever processed meat they’re serving down there. Processed meat. Describes the Pirates pretty well. I hear they give you a menu instead of a scorecard. This is too easy.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Since Picasner has kidnapped Annie, forced her into the car and transported her across state lines to eat pirogis and sit through minor league baseball in Pittsburg, I guess its my responsibility to watch and report on the real games being played in New York this weekend.
Friday’s Score: Boston and Cervilli 6 – Yankees 3.
Highlights: Teixeira hits a 1st inning 2 run home run.
What the Yankees Learned: Don’t hit 1st inning 2 run dingers. They’ve lost 3 of 4 recent games when this calamity has occurred.
Saturday’s Game: Yankees 5 – Boston 2
Highlights: Tim McCarver and Joe “I Love You Tim” Buck announced they are going to take advantage of the recent federal court ruling suspending Proposition 8 in California.
For one moment during the game I thought I should lighten up on Buck. While discussing a called third strike on Big PapiRoid, Buck commented, “Our opinion doesn’t matter.” Finally one of these guys stumbled into a great truth. Fortunately, a short time later, Tim’s Heart Throb dropped this cogent analytical comment, “Granderson used his legs to steal 2nd.” Dear Joe, what other options did he have? Crawl? Call a cab? Hop on a Harley? And he gets paid for this?
Mark Texeira and Robinson Cano again demonstrated that they are the best right side defensive combo in baseball.
What the Yankees Learned: Curtis Granderson is clueless against left handed pitching. Right, we already knew that. Probably not worth mentioning then that B. Gardner’s BA continues to sink like a torpedoed submarine.
What We All Fear the Most: A. J. TatBoy starts tomorrow. I do hope all of the Yankee on-deck prayer people get an early start pleading for mercy from their supreme being of choice.
Have mercy on our souls.
Hurry back P. Not sure how much more of this I can take.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Yankees-Red Sox tonight. Between Beckett, Youkilis, Varitek and Pedroia, there is usually no love lost for the Yankees. However, Beckett just came off the DL and the other three are still there, so the question remains: How much fire is left? Both teams are playing below par. Ortiz can still hit but he's not the fearsome slugger he once was. Papelbon is a question mark every time he goes out there.
Even with the best record in baseball, the Yanks aren't scaring anybody, either. A-Rod's not the force he once was, Jeter's having an off-season, and Granderson is far from grand. Posada is still dangerous with a bat in his hand but he's even more dangerous with a glove.
Four games that Boston absolutely needs to climb back in it; four games for the Yanks to bury them. It'll still be interesting.
And the Yanks still have Rivera.
***THIS IS GETTING TIRESOME***
Another bad mistake by the umpires. Notice I said "bad mistake" not "bad call."
A sharp grounder in the ninth inning skipped over the third-base bag, an apparent game-winning hit for Gaby Sanchez and the Florida Marlins. But third base umpire Bob Davidson saw things differently. He ruled the ball foul, costing the Marlins a walk-off victory. Replays clearly showed the ball hitting in fair territory a couple of feet in front of 3rd base, bouncing over the bag and hitting in fair territory a few feet past the bag. Davidson argued that the ball was wide of the bag when it went over and it doesn't matter where it landed after that. Therefore, it was a foul ball. Correct according to the rules, however; How could a ball hit in fair territory in front of the bag AND in back of the bag and still go over the bag foul. Is this another version of the "magic bullet" theory. Granted, the ball was hit hard and we have the benefit of instant replay,so if Davidson said afterwards, "Yeah, I missed it," no problem, move on. Here's where it gets stupid (sorry about that word but unfortunately it fits). Davidson said afterwards, "I saw the replay. I was right." Bob, not only were you wrong, but you were also...(see the word in red).
***POOR KANSAS CITY FANS***
Maybe they can't afford to pay Jeter $18 million a year or A-Rod his $29 million a year, but we're not talking minimum wage here, either. The Royals just designated Jose Guillen for assignment, so he's gone in 10 days. He's a career .270 hitter with 16 homers and 62 RBI's so far. Why did this happen? Because the Royals owe him $4 million and they hope somebody will trade for him. If nobody asks for him, the Royals will get nothing for him...and they'll STILL have to pay him. Oh, this is really smart.
***YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?***
Pedro Martinez says he "hasn't closed the door" on pitching next year. Unfortunately for Pedro, MLB has already closed the lid.
We're off to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning. Pirogi's, here we come.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Ranger president Nolan Ryan won a big victory yesterday, outbidding Mark Cuban to claim ownership of the Texas Rangers. No, not the Rangers with guns, although the baseball team has a couple of big ones in Guerrero and Hamilton. In the first ever auction of a major league baseball team, Ryan's group was finally announced as the official winners of the auction, amidst all the claims, protests and profanity-laced arguments. ...and that was just the lawyers. Well, at least A-Rod is now assured of getting his back pay of $24 million. I'm sure we'll all sleep better tonight.
***SPEAKING OF A-ROD...***
He finally hit #600 yesterday, just before a new batch of specially marked baseballs had to be produced. The ball was retrieved by a Stadium security guard and returned to A-Rod. The ball hit for #500 was retrieved at a cost of over $100,000, so you can guess what this one was worth. The security guard got a bat. Autographed, but still a bat. Maybe the Yanks will give him a free pass to the rest of the games at the stadium. Oh, wait....
Typically, A-Rod got the glory (and deservedly so), but Derek Jeter had the better game: 4 for 4 and 3 runs scored. He also led the team in "A-Rod Hugs" with two.
Oh, and the Yanks did win the game.
***BRETT FAVRE RETIRES***
According to his teammates, anyway, who claim he texted a few of them and said he was done. But that was yesterday. Today, in an impromptu interview, Brett says he hasn't decided yet (I'm shocked! Shocked!!). His agent says if Brett is healthy, he'll play. Obviously, mental health does not figure into this scenario.
***SPEAKING OF MENTAL HEALTH...***
In a page right out of the "Brett Favre guide to Media Relations", Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson have broken off their engagement for the 2nd time. If this isn't a sport, it oughta be, since it appears that Levi has 2 hits in 3 at bats. Think about it.
***PICASNER TO PITTSBURGH***
Picasner and his lovely wife, Annie-O, will be going to Pittsburgh this weekend to see the Pirates play. Why, you say? Well the Stadium is beautiful, the food is good, the attendants are friendly and helpful and the whole cost of the weekend is cheaper than ONE seat at a Yankee game. As a bonus, the Pirates feature "Pirogi Races" every game. I'll be taking bets.
WELCOME BACK, VOD. It's comforting to know you're watching. (And no, I have no idea what the phrase in French means)
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
The baseball season is a long, difficult grind and a game of averages. No team is demonstrating that more than the Yankees. The core of the team is more than experienced. The core is old. And one fact both Picasner and I are sure of from personal experience, you can’t hide age. And averages are catching up with others.
Jorge Posada, over 35, has played in a total of 74 games and is increasingly becoming a defensive liability. The Roid, over 35, contributes an anemic .264 BA and compared to his career performance, miserable power numbers. Andy Pettitte’s, over 35, outstanding performance is currently on hold with a trip to the disabled list. And I hate to mention Derek Jeter, over 35, hitting 40 points below his career average. Annie-O gets really mean whenever I speak the truth about the heart-throb.
Indeed, baseball is a game of averages. After torrid starts, Fancisco Cervelli is hitting .195 since mid-May, Brett Gardner is batting .290 and sinking, Robinson Cano is “down” to .326 and fortunately, Mark Teixeira is “up” to .255.
No Surprise – Curtis Granderson in hitting .245 overall and about .214 facing lefties.
Mild Surprise – Nick Swisher is a steady .300 at the plate… although still a circus act in right.
Big Surprise – Who leads the team in OBP?
So what does it all mean? Le boa est tompe de l’arbre et il est mange le petit enfant? Nope, just a pennant race.
The best news is that the Yankees have eleven games in August against KC, Detroit, and Seattle. That should give Girardi an opportunity to rest his aging minions before the September stretch when it all hits the fan. And even better – that’s eleven summer evenings that LT and I can spend doing things far more interesting.
See you in September.