Category Archives: Baseball

The Only Person Who Can Be Upset with the Yankees After 11 Games Is Clint Frazier

Fans have been upset that the Yankees are not a good baseball team right now. But like my co-host Stanzo says, there’s a lot of reasons to be positive. The big guys will hit, we should get some length out of our starters as time goes on, and the defense should get better when Voit comes back.

We shouldn’t be that upset (yet), I can settle for disappointed right now. But if there’s one person who absolutely SHOULD be upset, it’s a guy who actually plays for the Yankees…at times. Clint Frazier.

We were told this off-season, as was he by Aaron Boone, that he is the starting left fielder. He “earned” it. On top of his electric bat and his hustle on the bases, his defense has gotten better and he’s greatly matured as a person (although I never really saw that as an issue) into what people consider a “Yankee”.

And now, with the Yankees offense stalling he is getting pinch-hit opportunities and getting his spot taken by Brett Gardner. That makes no sense to me, and it should make no sense to him. He can make a difference offensively and when our guys are hitting noticeably bad, he’s on the bench?

We’re getting a platoon in left field between him and Gardner, and that’s not what we or he was promised. And it’s not like he’s even played bad enough to lose his spot. He’s not Jay Bruce or Tyler Wade. He had a tough stretch from April 6-9 where he went 0-13 with 6 Ks, granted. But if we’re giving everybody else the benefit of the doubt, why does he not get the same treatment?

I hope he sees consistent playing time soon because I like really like Frazier and his potential, but the Yankees haven’t shown they want to do that for him. If not, all the trade deadline rumors around Frazier will start swirling again. This time though, it wouldn’t be for the Yankees benefit…it would be for his.

Baseball Is the Perfect Sport for 2021’s Attention Spans

Does this article’s headline make you fall out of your seat?  After all, for how long have we heard complaints about baseball like: “It’s too slow.”  “The games are too long.”  “There’s not enough action.”  “Kids like football, basketball, hockey, and soccer now.  Baseball is too boring for them.”  And so on and so on.  In fact, I would say that these criticisms sprouted near the turn of the millennium, around the time when we shifted from “The NFL does not want to schedule games during the World Series” to “MLB wants to avoid having playoff games when NFL games are happening.”  Furthermore, in the 2000 playoffs, I was alarmed to learn that seemingly mundane Monday Night Football matchups were beating Mets playoff games and Yankees playoff games in the ratings department.  At that point, I knew that football had overtaken baseball as “America’s sport”, even if baseball will always be “America’s pastime”.  

Over much of the 20 years that have followed, I have accepted that, while I will always love baseball, an average Mets game is less exciting to me than an average Devils game or average New York Giants game (to use the three teams of whom I am a fan).  When the Devils were dominant from 1993 through 2012 (more or less), I was glued to my TV screen or to the rink itself (if I was at the game) for all 60 minutes of every game I could watch.  However, while I love the Mets, I accepted that it is tough to stay glued to all pitches of 162 3-4-hour Mets games every season.  I have known for 20 years that what makes baseball great is that there are games nearly every day for 6 months.  I long ago accepted that I have Mets games on TV “while I am doing other things”, because it is unrealistic for me to give full devotion of my time to all pitches of all Mets games.  That said, what makes baseball fandom great is watching all of those seemingly less exciting spring summer games and hoping for the payoff of thrilling September and October games later in the season.  What makes baseball great is the fact that the Mets’ players and announcers feel like a part of my family from March through October.  While some people love to watch their drama on Bravo in the forms of “Real Housewives”, Netflix shows, or political channels; the baseball season is the ultimate drama for me.

Of course, over the past 20 years, few people have successfully sold these great afore-mentioned aspects of baseball.  All we hear is that we need to change the rules to entice younger fans to love baseball.  (And the only new rule change of the past few years that I actually like is the “3-batter minimum” rule.)  However, I happen to think that rumors of baseball’s demise are greatly exaggerated.  Furthermore, I actually think that, after two decades of us hearing that baseball is too slow for most people’s attention spans, baseball has actually become the perfect sport for the 2021 attention span.  (Cue the headline again.)

Allow me to explain.  Before March of 2020 brought our lives many Covid-related restrictions, Americans by and large were already bouncing between real life and two or three forms of media at almost all times.  Gone are the days when most sports fans sit on the couch to watch a sporting event with 100% focus.  Now, sports fans watch games while toggling between Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, texts, emails, and pictures on their phones.  All the while, these same fans are eating and drinking and maybe even listening to music.  Heck, there are some crazy people out there who also talk to other people in the room while watching sports.  (Not virtually but actually in person.  Can you believe it?)  Throw in the idea that plenty of people are also parenting kids at the same time.  Oh, also throw in the fact that over the past year of Covid-related restrictions, people have greatly increased their time at home, and we can now add Zoom to that long list of toggling activities from earlier.

Years ago, I vowed that I would never be one to multitask between so many devices, but that vow sailed off to sea a few years ago.  Then, once we reached the lockdown stage, with a complete dearth of sports to boot, I became a complete multitasker.  I check Twitter way too often; I text way too often; and, most importantly, I am thinking about “what else I could be doing” over what I am currently doing way too often.  There are plenty of times when I am eating a Moe’s burrito while watching “Seinfeld” reruns, scrolling through Twitter, texting, and looking at my road atlas (that last one is quite “me-specific”).

Anyway, as I was watching a Devils game recently, I became very disappointed in myself.  Playoff games and games I personally attend notwithstanding, gone are the days when I would be glued to all 60 minutes of every Devils game.  Gone are the days when I would actually be upset when even a Devils’ win would end, because my joy of watching a given game would be ending.  Now, when I am watching a Devils game, I have to psych myself up not to multitask.  I still love watching hockey, but I get mad at myself when I realize that I have missed a minute or two because I have been looking at my phone.  I hate that I ever have the urge to look at my phone during Devils games.  Hockey games are 60 minutes of action-packed excitement, and my mind should not wander during these games…but it does.

That said, this personal tale actually shows why baseball is the perfect sport for the modern sports fan.  I mentioned earlier that I long ago accepted that I have the Mets on TV while I am “doing other things”.  Well, modern life is all about “doing other things”.  A baseball game has become the perfect viewing activity for the modern fan!  You can be sending work emails, texting, watching your daily Candace Owens or Stephen Colbert clips (depending upon your side of the political equation), scrolling through Twitter and listening to a baseball telecast all at the same time.  Then, when the pitcher is ready to throw a pitch, you can give the game your singular focus and look at the TV…..or maybe you will choose to look at the TV only when a batter puts the ball in play or maybe only when there’s a very important pitch or maybe only if there is a runner in scoring position or maybe if it is the 7th inning or later, and so on and so forth.  All of these possibilities are viable, but you the viewer call the shots.  

Over the past 20 years, I feel that there has been a huge decline in our collective demand for things to which we want to give 3-4 hours of our undivided attention. However, there seems to be an infinite amount of demand for additional things that we can do while doing other things.  That is why baseball is perfect now.  Look at all the “problems” baseball has allegedly had over the past 20 years, and look at the modern solutions:

1) Problem: There are too many pitching changes.Solution: Pitching changes are perfect times to read articles linked to your Twitter feed.

2) Problem: There is too much time between pitches.Solution: This extra time allows you to send more texts between pitches.

3) Problem: Games are too long.Solution: Who cares?  You are on your devices 12 or more hours per day.  4-hour baseball games fit right in!

4) Problem: There is not enough action in baseball.Solution: Actually, there is TOO much action in the other sports.  I actually have to focus on the action all the time in those “more exciting” sports.  Baseball actually has the perfect amount of action.

And there you have it.  To be clear, I love hockey and football, and the nonstop action of hockey will always keep hockey as my personal favorite sport.  However, I love baseball (and football) almost as much as I love hockey. This is why I am happy to say that baseball is the perfect sport for 2021.  After 20 years of MLB trying to make itself more enticing to Americans; I think that we the people have flipped the script and made ourselves more “enticeable” by baseball.

WHY LINDOR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT METS CONTRACT OF THE NEXT DECade

It’s no secret the New York Mets are under new ownership. Billionaire hedge fund guru Steve Cohen bought the team from the Wilpons this past offseason, who frustrated Mets fans for a very long time. Whether it was an unwillingness to spend, an incompetency in the money they did spend, or just a general disconnect between the front office and the product on the field, loyal Mets fans gladly moved on from them and finally got the owner they deserved.

There was a great excitement around Cohen’s first offseason, which all in all went well. One of the biggest moves Cohen, GM Sandy Alderson, and the Mets made was obviously trading a significant package for All Start shortstop Francisco Lindor (which also included a great pitcher in Carlos Carrasco). But, there was one caveat with this move, and that is Lindor is in the final year of his contract and is expecting big money in an extension.

Negotiations started over a week ago, but have stalled as Lindor’s Opening Day, first pitch deadline quickly approaches. The Mets offered 10 years, $325 million as a best and final offer, but Lindor wants 12 years, $385 million. Neither side has budged yet.

For some obvious and some not-so-obvious, this extension is the most important signing the Mets front office will be taking part in over the course of the next decade. Here’s why:

FRANSISCO LINDOR IS A STUD

Simple enough. He’s 26 years old right now, he has a .285 career batting average, .833 OPS, 27.9 WAR, has a ton of playoff experience, and, as intangible as it seems, has the personality of a New York superstar that will fit perfectly on a championship roster.

Lindor can be the face of the franchise for years to come, and locking him up through his prime ensures the Mets can be offensively and defensively sound while they look to compete in the 3-5 year championship window Cohen set.

But…with that window comes expectations. From the fans, and from the players. Which brings me to my next point.

ARE THE METS ACTUALLY BIG SPENDERS?

When Cohen became owner, many fans expected a huge offseason that entailed signing George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, or Trevor Bauer. Instead, they signed catcher James McCann and traded for Lindor/Carrasco as the biggest moves.

I think most fans, while still wanting a larger splash, settled happily for the McCann signing and trade. They didn’t get the big signing they wanted, but the Mets were in on a lot of the guys originally discussed and made no hesitation in actually offering big money. It just didn’t work out for a plethora of reasons (see Blue Jays overpaying Springer or Bauer being a troll).

But because those signings didn’t pan out, there is an expectation a Francisco Lindor extension gets done. They gave up two future shortstops for him in Rosario and Jimenez, and if they don’t get the extension then you have to deal with finding your future shortstop in free agency when Lindor, and a large amount of other top-notch shortstops, hit the market this offseason.

The problem with that is, if you were going to just sign a shortstop in free agency, why did you make the trade? Sure, you can argue the Mets are in a championship window now, but you have to compete for a title THIS season with Lindor in order for it to look like a good deal.

If it doesn’t, the first year of the Cohen ownership feels a lot like empty promises, and it makes you question if/when the Mets front office plans to spend the money they feel like they now have. It felt like the roster was going to be fun toy for Cohen to play with, but the more he sets price ceilings the more it starts to feel like a business.

That makes you question…if the Mets aren’t going to go all-in on the guy they clearly traded for and planned on extending, when will they do it?

THE PRECEDENT

Now is where it gets tricky though. What is the precedent the ownership wants to set with their money? That, while offering significant contracts to many players, they will put their foot down on an amount? Or that they will get players whatever it takes because they can afford it?

Agents, like fans, certainly thought the Mets might be desperate to reward Queens with a high-caliber, high-salaried roster. Instead, the Mets have strategically and smartly built a solid roster without overspending. And they’ve made it clear by walking on Springer and not considering Realmuto they won’t be taken advantage of just because of Cohen’s net worth.

By letting Lindor head into free agency, they are setting the precedent that they will absolutely put their foot down. Sure, they’ll spend, but they WILL NOT overpay.

And that is so important going into Cohen’s future because when all the amazing shortstops hit the market after this season, nobody is going to walk into a meeting with the Mets thinking they’ll be getting Mike Trout or Mookie Betts money. They’ll have realistic expectations, and the Mets won’t be crippled financially by the luxury tax.

So with all that said, the lingering effects of this Lindor extension starts on the field, trickles over to public perception, and finds itself all the way into the front office for at least the next decade. It’ll be very interesting to see which way Steve Cohen and the Mets organization decide to go.

MLB Rule changes: what stays & what goes?

The 2020 Major League Baseball season has been like no other – 60 games, no fans in the seats, 16 teams in the playoffs, and several other rule changes.  Though the bulk of these rule changes are temporary, the powers that be could ultimately decide to keep some of these rules for future seasons.  As a result, I would like to share my views of which rules I would like to keep and which I would like to toss.  I am going to list these in order from “most strongly want to keep” to “most strongly want to toss”.  Thus, without further ado, here are my thoughts.

MLB makes it official: The three-batter minimum rule is here
Picture via Yahoo! Sports
  1. If a reliever enters a game mid-inning, he must pitch to at least three batters or the end of the half-inning – DEFINITELY KEEP

OK, I know that MLB actually introduced this rule pre-Covid, but, since it officially debuted on the field in 2020, I am addressing it anyway.  Simply put, I love this rule.  I am a baseball purist, and most purists hate this rule.  However, the purist in me believes that starting pitchers should pitch until they are no longer effective, and relievers should do the same.  I do not love that the game has evolved to a point in which the standard is for teams to use six relievers per game.  Thus, I believe that anything that can trim that number is a good thing.  Plus, I think that relief pitchers are the biggest reason why games are longer than they were in previous generations.  Pitching changes lengthen games, and relievers tend to pitch at a slower pace than starters.  After all, starters want to find a rhythm, which is hard to accomplish at a slow pace (unless you are Steve Trachsel); whereas relievers pitch to so few batters that deliberation outweighs any need to find rhythm.  The 2020 “three-batter rule” does not address this second issue, but at least it does address the first in allowing for fewer pitching change.  I like this rule, even if it means an angry mob of situational lefties will be knocking down my door.  Sorry, Jerry Blevins.

Continue reading MLB Rule changes: what stays & what goes?

My Advice to Tatis, Jr.? Next Time, Swing Harder

If you’re wondering what every baseball fan on Twitter is talking about today, look no further than right here:

On Monday night, Fernando Tatis, Jr., hit a grand slam off Texas Rangers pitcher Ian Gibaut. The score was 10-3 in the top of the 8th. Doesn’t really seem like a big deal, right?

Continue reading My Advice to Tatis, Jr.? Next Time, Swing Harder

Taking a Deeper Look at the Yankees’ Grooming Policy

The Yankees’ long-standing hair policy was making waves on Twitter on Monday after some comments from former Yankee Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen was only here for the second half of 2018, but he’s an awesome dude and quickly became a fan favorite.

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Do I Have A Crush On Giancarlo Stanton?

Giancarlo Stanton has not reached expectations so far as a Yankee. Injuries really have set back Stanton and hindered his play throughout his tenure with the Yanks. I know many Yankees fans have become restless when it comes too Stanton, however, I still love the guy. Stanton can do no wrong to me, even after drilling Tanaka in the head with a piss missile off his bat this past weekend. I don’t know how Tanaka is alive let alone how he was smiling later that day in the hospital.Of course when Stanton is healthy, he takes it into his own hands to pass his injury bug on to his teammates.

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A Comprehensive Look at Brian Cashman’s Starting Pitching Moves

Brian Cashman is the longest-tenured GM in baseball. After starting as an intern in 1986 and being promoted to assistant GM in 1992, Cashman was named the General Manager prior to the 1998 season. He was reluctant to take the job, as he knew that George Steinbrenner had a history of firing people in power positions any given moment. Luckily for Cashman, the Yankees went on to win the World Series in his first three seasons at the helm.

In the twenty seasons since the Yanks’ 2000 World Series victory, Cashman’s teams have experienced multiple phases with varying levels of success. The 2001-07 seasons were littered with playoff disappointment. The free agency splurge ahead of the 2009 season produced a title immediately, but that core failed to win it all again. The 2013-16 teams were a pathetic group of aging veterans that appeared in only one playoff game. And finally, Aaron Judge helped usher in the “Baby Bombers” era with a team that came within one game of the World Series in 2017.

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60 Reasons to Get Excited for MLB’s 60 Game Season

  1. Every Game Matters

With the season being just 60 games instead of the usual 162, teams won’t get the chance to mail it in if they’re losing a game. This season isn’t a marathon, it’s a sprint.

2. Old Faces in New Places

Among other moves, World Series hero Anthony Rendon switched leagues and signed with the Angels, Gerrit Cole left the Astros for the rival Yankees, and the Red Sox traded former MVP Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.

3. Mike Trout Doing Mike Trout Things

4. The DH in the National League

Continue reading 60 Reasons to Get Excited for MLB’s 60 Game Season

Storylines For All Nine of the Yankees’ Opponents This Season

Boston Red Sox: Will the Rivalry Be Renewed in 2020?

After the Sox handled the Yankees in the 2018 ALDS, they were a completely different team in 2019. A combination of injuries and an ineffective pitching staff led to the Sox winning 24 less games than they did the year before, as the Yankees coasted to a 14-5 regular season record against them. After trading Mookie Betts and David Price and losing ace Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery, will this year’s group be able to bring back some firepower to the rivalry?

Continue reading Storylines For All Nine of the Yankees’ Opponents This Season