Friday, January 20, 2017

"WE'RE ALL IN!"


I'm just guessing, but something tells me the length of an eternity is different depending on whether you're a Yankee fan or you're a Yankee owner.

Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, perhaps better known to Yankee fans as the Boss's daughter or the new boss Hal's sister, said this past Wednesday that her family intends to keep the team in the family for eternity. 

“We’re all in,” Swindal told Dan Martin of the New York Post. “I hope we own the team for eternity. You never know what life will bring, but we’re in it for the long haul.”

Photo: New York Post
Swindal, one of the team's general partners whose primary responsibility is to oversee the team's many philanthropic endeavors, said that ever since her father became too ill to run the team, the four Steinbrenner siblings have pitched in to make things work and now the entire family is more involved than it ever was before. She credits Hal's leadership with pulling them all together, and added that with her son Steve Swindal Jr. coordinating baseball operations the third generation of Steinbrenners is now not only fully invested but involved full-time in running the team. 

Photo: SI.com
Now, I know there are some Yankee fans out there who feel like it's been an eternity since our last championship and are probably less than enthused by  Hal's tight grip on the free-agent purse strings these last two winters and a rotation filled with more fault lines than San Francisco Bay.


So maybe the revelation that the team's ownership isn't likely to be changing in their lifetime -- or even in their after lifetime--  isn't the kind of news they want to hear right now. 

But those fans should take some solace that further on in Martin's article, he referenced comments made by  Brian at the Hard Rock Cafe only the day before that shucking the salaries of Alex, Tex and CC at the end of this year should put the team in a position where "at the end of the day, we are going to be in a position to do a number of things and maybe we can turn the clock back to be big-game hunters that we have been accustomed to being.”

(Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
Brian Cashman's no fool and he understands exactly what "turn the clock back to be big-game hunters" is code for in Yankee Universe. 

(Aug. 16, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
And knowing how he likes to play it small when it comes to deal-making -- and even smaller still when it comes to managing expectations where it involves Checkbook Hal's budget fetish -- his Hard Rock remarks can only mean that with the savings realized from those expiring fossil contracts and a few others, if even one or two farm kids can stick with El Kraken in the Bronx this year then Hal will at long last bag his elusive unicorn of bringing payroll under the competitive balance tax threshold. 

Then it's lock and load time for B'wana Brian. 

Remember, the winter of 2008? There was no Hot Stove that year. There was just Brian on a search and destroy mission with Hal feeding him ammo while the rest of the league howled and ran for cover.



Most seem to forget Hal wasn't always a tightwad. He dropped nearly a half billion dollars the first time  his father's team missed the postseason. The problem then was dad had already been running payroll well beyond the tax threshold for years, so the business model was already strained. Large extended contracts to multiple players with big mileage on their odometers had win-now-pay-sooner-than-later stamped all over it. But it was a must-win situation and so they won. Man, did they ever. It was a sight to behold.  The aftermath, though, has been a slow rot drawn out far too long by an obsessive love affair with past glory and a blind eye to new romances that has allowed far too much young talent to languish or flee the system unrequited.

This time, with the tax rate reset, leveraged by a farm loaded top to bottom with recognized prospects and a checkbook that no longer automatically adds 50 cents to every dollar he writes, Brian would be in a unique position to loot the 2019 free agent zoo and beyond at the end of this year -- before the cages are even unlocked. The team could conceivably be stacked for a serious run at a ring exactly one year from this  Opening Day. And thanks to the new focus on player development, the model should be sustainable for quite some time.

(Oct. 1, 2016 - Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)
A big hairy Harper, a man-eating Machado, a killer Kershaw and a few other critters would make nice trophies for a big-game hunting GM trying to lead his team out of the jungle to championship contention. 

And for the owner who's tantalizingly close to bagging his personal unicorn, what better way to celebrate the end of his quest than to send his GM out on a new mission.

The team may not be making all the moves we'd like to see as quickly as we'd like to see them. But all the moves are  being made with winning, spending, family and eternity in mind.

Meet the new boss... same as the old boss.



 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore
  



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LUIS SEVERINO: BULK OR FLEXIBILITY?

Photo: Getty Images
There's been a lot of talk about the Yankees starting rotation.  Masahiro Tanaka is undoubtedly the staff ace. Sabathia is getting old and appears to have lost something. That being said, he's reinventing himself and learning to pitch differently.

(Sept. 29, 2016 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
Michael Pineda?  This guy's got "the stuff", but is way too inconsistent and frustrates fans. Behind those 3 though, is a mish-mosh of inexperienced youth and question marks.

(Sept. 25, 2016 - Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America)
One of those question marks is Luis Severino. Now, we like Sevy as a starter, but who knows what will happen in 2017. 

According to an article on the Yankees website, there are questions about if this kid, who's clearly trying to make the rotation again is putting on too much muscle... and will that muscle hurt him?  They'd like him to focus more on flexibility. The thinking is, that may be for effective for him in the long run.  

(May 7, 2016 - Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)
"There's a lot of theories," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He came in physically built stronger. He hit the weights pretty strongly. Did that affect him one way or the other? I know that through [pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] and our strength coach, we told him this winter that he needed to stay more flexible and stay off the bulk."

After reading that, I did alittle research of my own. During that research, I found this article on pitching.com. and it's interesting.  It states:

"We now have another valid reason why so many pitchers do not reach their velocity potential. They spend too much time on flexibility training. Specifically, pitchers spend wasted time on static stretching prior to throwing that studies have now proven actually reduces velocity."


Now pitching.com is just another theory, but the reality is, it goes against what Cashman said, and you have to wonder if the Yankees are doing the right thing with Sevy, or if Sevy has his own plan.  We at BYB found that nugget fascinating.

Look... hopefully Luis can bounce back this year.  The kid turns only 23 year old next month. If you ask me, it's way too early to give up on him and toss him into the pen.   

But do you think?  Comment.




--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer





Thursday, January 19, 2017

SCHILLING, REACTION TO THE HOF VOTE & TROLLS

(April 26, 2016 - Source: Cindy Ord/Getty Images North America)
I don't hate anyone.  Let's get that out there right now. I can't run a website about the Yankees and baseball and introduce life lessons into it... preach to 'be nice to each other' and then go out hating everyone. It's not me, it's not what we do.


Bleeding Yankee Blue DOES root for our team though, and sometimes when we do it, we poke the players that were and ARE Yankee killers. We don't swear at them, we don't wish ill on them... we state our piece, offer our opinion, sometimes not as flattering as some would expect, and we let them know it's happening.  It's the blog world.  But one thing we are not, and will never do is troll.  This world is way too complicated for that shit and the last thing anyone needs is someone threatening another on the Internet and making them feel uncomfortable.  That's how I feel... you may disagree and that's OK.


Curt Schilling is a sarcastic son of a gun and was responding to Bleeding Yankee Blue's piece today by Jeana Bellezza. It was titled NO HALL OF FAME FOR YOU.  I sent it to him. Hell, I'm not gonna be the boss of this operation and not let someone know were talking about them behind their back. I would rather not be a sneaky bitch and instead, start a dialog.

Curt didn't like it, and so, the dialog became.



Now truth be told, I have no problem with Curt Schilling other than he can be ultra abrasive on Twitter and has admitted that.  He's "that guy" and said on Dan Patrick today that him being so vocal about everything has probably kept him out of the Hall of Fame recently.  He mentioned the fact that if these writers are gonna gauge character after his playing days, that's not exactly when that character clause should be exercised.  While many don't agree with that... I do. 


The truth is, Schilling was a good pitcher, played well with some great teams and I think Curt Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame. I've always thought that because of the competitor he was.  He was damn good.  He was more than good, he was a Yankee killer and I will go as far as I think he probably should have even been considered last year.  Before you jump down my throat, that's just how I feel. I don't need to debate numbers with you and all of that...don't bother. I feel like he's done enough to even "squeak" in... if you don't think so... I do. Sorry. And for the record, I'm not a fan of Curt Schilling... I do however respect the grind.

The reaction to Bellezza's piece today was insanity over all. I wanted to share some of the comments today.  Enjoy portions of these, they are good comments and I appreciate you guys always commenting.


Section 36 (Of the BYB Hub) said:

"I have always said that Schilling didn't have the numbers to be a Hall of Famer. The only reason I could see for why he'd ever be elected is his good relationship with the media. So, I don't see his current bad relationship with them as "hurting" his chances. It's simply canceling out the overhype and slotting him where he should have been in the first place. A good, but not great, pitcher who gets around 50% of the vote. Like Mussina."

Whitehorse67 said:

"You site his Character, integrity and sportsmanship as negatives. Well, I happen to admire his character and integrity. He has the stones to stand up for what he believes and doesn't back down ..."

Steve B said:

"This is where the sports writers make a stand against Schilling's poor character and lack of integrity based on the HOF induction criteria... he's stubborn and seems to lack the empathy and compassion."


Look, in the end, being kind wins... it really does. And I'm not gonna lie, I want to interview Curt Schilling... asking about baseball only. 

I have a million questions for the guy because the guy has played with the best and seen so much in this game. And so, this is an open invitation Curt....


Consider it... like I tweeted you today.  You know where to find us.


NO HALL OF FAME FOR YOU!


There were 34 players on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, and 19 of them were newcomers but The Baseball Writers Association of America only voted three new ballplayers in last night. I applauded some, was shocked by some and as insensitive as this will sound I have to admit I laughed my ass off at some of them! To sum it up, this ballot just had some good, a little bad, and a whole lot of ugly!

Tom DiPace / The Associated Press file photo
The good part was finally getting Tim Raines into the Hall of Fame on his tenth and final year of eligibility. He was a staple and an icon of the dynasty Yankee teams from 1996-1998. It feels like a long time coming because back in 2009 he had a mere 26% of the vote....which usually means slim chances of getting into Cooperstown but he made it. The odds were stacked against him so this definitely feels like a victory so this belongs in the "good" column.


Mike Mussina also seems to be gaining momentum. He has steadily gained a higher voter percentage in his last four years on the ballot. He ended with 51.8% of the vote this year which is a lot better than his 20.3% back in 2014. Maybe he can pull a Tim Raines too and get to the needed 75% within the next six years. He at least has momentum on his side, so I will go with the good vibes and chalk that up to a spot in the "good" column also.


There are always some "bad" surprises in these ballots....and this one was surprising and close for destined future Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman. I know I was especially pulling for Hoffman this year, but he fell just 5 votes shy of getting in and Guerrero missed it by 15. If I were a betting woman I would've put money down on both. Good thing I didn't. I guess the good news here is that next year they should both get their spots. Mariano Rivera will always be my favorite closer but Hoffman is not only talented, but a class act.

Photo: SI.com
The real "bad" surprise here was the lack of support or "one and done" appearance for Jorge Posada on this year's ballot. Posada only received 3.8% of the vote and will not be eligible on future ballots. It's a shame. I always knew Posada was a long shot to get in. He played an important role for the Yankees during their championship years but the numbers just weren't there. I was at least hoping he would get enough votes to stay on the ballot for a couple of years. I wish he had fared better with the BBWAA but, he will always score high with the BYB staff.


The best part for me was the hilarity and the "ugly" meltdown for Curt Schilling that has been ongoing or months now. Many news sources have covered it, but THIS one gives a good timeline. Maybe karma is catching up to Schilling and he is having another meltdown. In 2016, Schilling appeared on the ballot for his sixth year and ended with 52.3% of the votes. His numbers had been increasing over the years so it seemed like 2017 was the year for him to get in.....

But it seems as though too many writers still remember the bridges he burned. Maybe tweeting about how "awesome" it would be to lynch journalists wasn't such a good idea when you want these same people to vote you into baseball mortality. Before anyone says "well you are a writer, you are just being sensitive" it's not just about that. Schilling also made controversial Anti-Transgender comments and made comments comparing Muslims to Nazis that ultimately caused ESPN to fire him from his analyst gig. He tried to defend himself later but the damage was done and myself like many other people just didn't care to hear it anymore. Open mouth....Schilling inserts foot. Not so bright.

Photo of the real Sidney Ponson
And of course, even as I sit and laugh others are too. In fact, it appears that Schilling has been "trolled" on Twitter by what may or may not be a fake Sidney Ponson account because it is not "verified" by Twitter. Someone saw an opportunity to have some fun and Schilling once again opened his mouth and inserted foot. He just doesn't know when to stop.



So clearly, he hasn't learned that words have consequences no matter how stupid or misguided he sounds and people aren't overlooking it.  Schilling has fallen victim to the dreaded "character clause" that states: "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

Based on this, he is one of the best postseason pitchers in history.


He ranks 15th in career strikeouts and third in strike-out to walk rate so the numbers are there....but clearly his integrity, sportsmanship and character suck so that overshadows his great accomplishments. Is it fair? Maybe not....but he is representing more than just himself otherwise he would still be an analyst for ESPN and he may have made the Hall of Fame this year.

The best part of all of this for me was when other Twitter users tried to tell him they thought the account was fake he responded with this:


Wait, let me get this straight....HIS tweets are about as stupid as the stuff he said in real life? Hmmmm....HEY SCHILLING are you the pot or the kettle because if anyone can relate to stupid tweets and remarks it would have to be YOU.



 --Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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GARY SANCHEZ IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

(Aug. 26, 2016 - Source: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images North America)    
Over the past few years, we've all heard about Gary Sanchez. His arrival to the Bronx was widely anticipated. Last year he finally made it, and he made his presence felt not only in the Bronx, but in baseball as well. He almost single-handedly carried the Yankees to the playoffs.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Mike Kirk / Bleeding Yankee Blue
Starting a career like Gary did, while amazing, tends to lead to unrealistic expectations too. Just ask Kevin Mass, who set a record by hitting 10 home runs in his first 72 plate appearances.


I'm not saying this will be the case for Gary. I honestly don't believe it will. I'm just wondering what is realistic for us as fans to expect? We all know the realities of a sophomore slump. It's happened time and time again in baseball history to even the greatest of players.

(Aug. 25, 2016 - Source: Adam Hunger/Getty Images North America)    
According to this article from the New York Daily News, Gary doesn't seem to worry about that stuff: 

I don’t feel any pressure being the guy on the field or off the field...”-Gary Sanchez

The really like the fact that he seems to be handling the offseason like a veteran. It's great. Obviously his main goal is to stay healthy so he can perform for us, but he's matured greatly. The bottom line is I'm really looking forward to a full season of Gary behind the plate, How bout you?

Photo: Newsday
By the way, if you go out to lunch in the Bronx any time soon, make sure you look for who is making it for you! One day it could be Gary Sanchez!




--Mike Kirk
BYB Writer