The first day you get your favorite teams schedule, you can plan ahead. All games are equal, but out of 81 homegames, some are better live attractions than others. I’d try to avoid the games against the bad teams. A game against Tampa Bay doesn’t excite me. Even if the Yankees win the feeling is, “So what..they only beat Tampa Bay.” And if they lose you’re like, “Damn, we just lost to Tampa-freakin-Bay.” I’d much rather see a game against Seattle that would prove a challenge to win. Of course if you live in Tampa Bay, you really don’t have a say in the matter, you have to see Tampa Bay.
As a kid in the 80's I always had a lot of fun picking out a game from the schedule to see live. I only got to see one or two games a year at the stadium so I had to make my picks count. My first pick would be “Bat Day.” You could have your keychain day, sun visor day, refrigerator magnet day, luggage tag day, and potato chip clip day. I’ll keep my bat day. I’d get to use my bat to play baseball, pinata, and chase my sister around the house. I wouldn’t get to use any of the others. I wasn’t even impressed by “Fireworks Day.” You can’t take anything home with you after that day. I also didn’t know what’s so good about opening day, the weather is cold and miserable and it seems the Yankees always open as an away game so it isn’t the Real opening day at all.
That year, Bat Day was already sold out in March as was Opening Day. The only other game that was sold out just happened to be my father’s top pick. I thought his choice was the lamest of all. He chose Old-Timer’s Day. Just the name made me want to hold my head down in shame. At least they could make it more appealing by calling it “Legends Day.” I wasn’t interested in watching a bunch of old farts.
The game we went to turned out to be my second choice. It was “Serf Detergent Yankee Yearbook Day.” This day they gave out a color book that had pictures of all the real Tops baseball cards of all the Yankees from the last 30 years. It was a great present. I still have that book in my room somewhere in near-mint condition. I’m sure it’s worth a lot of money as a collectible today. If only I could find it.
Today, now that I’ve gotten older, my favorite day is Old Timers Day. (A close second is Bobblehead Day which they didn’t have back in the day, but they did have a Starting Lineup day which was pretty cool. My main problem with bobblehead day is they only give to the first 15,000 fans and they have to be under 15. I can’t stand all these restrictions. It’s like bringing bubblegum to class, unless you have enough to give to everyone, don’t bring it at all.)
In 20 years time I’d like to see the Old-Timers Day in Texas. They can have Nolan Ryan, Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt, Pete Incaviglia, and Juan Gonzalez. They’ll still be stuck with Juan on the team because he’ll just spend the next 20 years using his no-trade clause every year. They can get the whole event sponsored by Viagra.
On July 19th, I was watching the Yankees Old-Timers Day and it was great. My all-time favorite player and the only player whose poster I even put on my wall, Don Mattingly got the biggest cheers. And these were some great players he was introduced with:
Jim Abbott, Stan Bahnsen, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, Johnny Blanchard, Ron Blomberg, Wade Boggs, Jim Bouton, Clete Boyer, Rick Cerone, Horace Clark, Ron Davis, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Ryen Duren, Ed Figueroa, Whitey Ford, Oscar Gamble, Jake Gibbs, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Mike Hegan, Reggie Jackson, Cliff Johnson, Jim Kaat, Don Larsen, Jim Leyritz, Phil Linz, Hector Lopez, Lee Mazzilli, Gene Michael, Rich Monteleone, Bobby Murcer, Graig Nettles, Mike Pagiarulo, Joe Pepitone, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Phil Rizzutto, Duke Sims, Luis Sojo, Mel Stottlemyre, Rusty Torres, Mike Torrez, Tom Tresh, Dave Winfield.
That’s some list. With Boggs, Mattingly, and Winfield, they had the best AL hitters of the eighties. The Yankees could’ve beaten the Cleveland Indians by fielding these guys instead. After the introductions, the game was very entertaining. Bucky Dent got the GWRBI against Mike Torrez. This made me think of what would be the best gimmick game ever. They should take a page from the movie The Best of Times and just Replay the Game. This would be the biggest attraction ever. To be realistic, it would be too difficult to get these entire old teams back together. So they could just replay the critical innings of the best games. Imagine replaying the Yankees/Braves 1996: Game 3 to see if Wohlers would still try to sneak a slider past Jim Leyritz. How about having a Subway Series 2000 Replay and seeing if Benitez can get out Paul O’Neil and Luis Sojo in the 9th inning. All of these guys are in the Yankees organization so it would be easy to get everyone together for it. I’m a sucker for giving these much maligned closers a shot at redemption.
Drafting the Yankees
I was thinking that since I’m a Yankee fan above all else, next year I should just draft a fantasy team full of Yankees. That way I wouldn’t have to pay attention to all the other games out there watching Baseball Tonight. I wouldn’t have to check out all the box scores. I could just root for my favorite team. So can this be done? Given their average draft position is it possible for me to draft a team of all-Yankees? Given a 20 team league let’s see if it’s possible.
The Yankees are just too good of a team to draft everyone. You would need 11 picks in the first 5 rounds of the draft. The best you can do is go for either hitting or pitching. I think you could draft all the pitchers if you took Mussina in Round 1, Rivera in round 2, Clemens in round 3, Wells in round 4 and Pettite in round 5. Going for hitting, you’d need the #1 overall pick in the draft to take Soriano. Then you’d have to have Giambi available next. It can be done in a 10 team league a lot easier than a 20 team league. I think at this point the value of Bernie Williams has declined so much that he is only worth about the same as Mondesi. All of the other Yankees can be had in much later rounds.
Who is better?
Shannon Stewart or Bobby Kietly
Many people thought the Blue Jays were just dumping salary when they traded Stewart to the Twins. Lets take a look at who is really better.
The main difference here is that Stewart has the better average. He has hit above .300 in each of the last four years. In fantasy I am more impressed by Kietly because he has more power and steals. Stewart’s Run production was more a result of his teams high scoring. Also Stewart has an extra 70 At-bats, so for even footing his numbers should be reduced by 25%. In fantasy baseball it looks about even.
In real baseball many people remember when Stewart had speed. A few years ago he was a better player, but now you have to judge the current player for what he is today. Regarding intangibles, Kietly is younger, cheaper, healthier, and better defensively. Stewart has one of the worst outfield arms in baseball. So this trade makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays.
Bottom of the Barrell Award:
Best Waiver Pick of the Week: Southern Panthers
The signing of new potential closers for the Pirates and Mets is risky business. I took Lincoln for the Pirates on a hunch and hit the jackpot. John Franco of the Mets could be a good pick, but I’m not sold. Franco is an old man with nothing left. They only made him the closer because he is a nice local guy from Brooklyn, not because he can still pitch.
My favorite pick was when the Panthers took Rich Harden. If it wasn’t for that damn waiver priority thing, I would’ve had him. Harden is a young phenom for Oakland. He is fearless. Others may back down from a challenge, but Harden Wouldn’t Run. The Panthers now have a pitching rotation of Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, Jason Schmidt, Damian Moss, Carlos Zambrano, and Rich Harden. Yet somehow I’m beating them in every pitching category, go figure.
The A’s are now the favorites in the Wild Card Race. This is bad news for myself as a Yankee fan. The Yankee fans should all be rooting for Boston instead of Oakland. If Boston gets in as the Wild Card, the Yankees play the KC Royals in the first round. They can sleepwalk their way past that matchup. On the other hand, if Oakland is the Wild Card, the Yankees have to face the A’s in a first round matchup. Looking at a rotation of Hudson, Zito, Mulder, and Harden is damn scary.
Mmm... how soon until someone tracks player performances on their Celebriduck games?
And being as baseball-deprived as I am (didn't go to my first big-league game until almost four years ago, and the only time I didn't pay my own way was the last game, when the tix were a graduation gift) I've only been to one gimmick game: Gym Bag Day. The aforementioned first game for me... 1999 season finale between the Bosox and Yankees. Still the only game I've been to where the Red Sox won. The bag's at my girlfriend's place. She's the Yankee fan, ya know.
Heh, thanks for the love, guys. You should be happy to know that the power's been zonked in my area for the past WEEK or so, so I haven't had a chance to rotate anyone until today; hence, the only starts I've had lately have been Zambrano and RJ.
Skorp, I do have you beaten in saves.... so far; I don't think that'll last. Everything else is relative. There's still 2 months left; enjoy the cushion in pitching while you have it. (Unless all my guys get injured again like what happened 1st half; if you were wondering what happened, that was it. Schilling down, Ayala down, Foppert pre-send down a decent part of my rotation, Andy frickin' Ashby. Point made?) In other words:
Schmidt: Drafted, not injured. Schill: Drafted, injured, back. Zambrano: Traded for mid-May(?). RJ: Traded for recently, just back. Moss: Drafted, good, then bad, then good. Probably the 6th starter. Harden: Just picked up (obviously).
Sorry for the horn-blowing, guys, but this has been the only shot I've had at a computer in a while - bear with me.
Originally posted by Guru ZimI'm pretty sure that Russian nesting dolls Tony Gwynn night this year is the best give-away ever.
That sounds cool. I saw one of these for the Yankees in the street sellers of New York City. It had Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Posada, and Torre was the little one. I wonder which other players are in the Tony Gwynn Babka doll?
He gave up the fan interference homer by Jeter in '96 too... While you could say the Mets atrocious D can explain some of his bad days, he's really only a great closer against bad teams. Looks like Hasegawa is the closer until Sasaki is ready.