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Friday, April 18, 2014

BYB, THE YANKEES & FAN ENGAGEMENT

Some hater recently wrote to me, "You're site sucks and that's why you don't get any comments." I laughed at him, after I blocked him because he was a total psycho. I mean, how dumb are you that you don't understand what we're doing here on BYB by now?

Bleeding Yankee Blue is driven by the social networks. THAT'S where the conversation is. Facebook, Twitter, Sulia... it's LIVE and immediate. 


BYB moves pretty fast. Sometimes I need to stop and look around. I usually find a ton of different conversations about different topics.  It's truly amazing what the readers have done. You guys inspire us here all the time. We're proud. 

That being said, I wanted to share with you a terrific dialog that was posted after Steve Skinner wrote THE "TOLD YOU SOs" WERE WRONG. Why am I reprinting it in a post for you all to read? Because it's not hateful, it's a legit dialog and respectful...the way we like it.  Anyone who can comment that someone "Sucks" is on their couch eating Cheetos with no drive and no ambition. I feel bad for you dude, but I can't carry ya pal.  Momus however, was a smart commenter and reader. Momus gets it.

Anyway, check this out:

Momus wrote:

"Maybe you and I have read different opinions about the Yankees, but most of what I've heard people saying is that the team is filled with older guys who have a very high chance of injuries, the infield is not likely to be good on defense or offense and the pitching is very thin.

So far in the first 13 games
 

1) Several of the players have gotten injured
 

2) The infield has been pretty bad on defense - although some of them have actually been decent at the plate so far



3) The pitching has been about league average overall with Pineda looking very good, Tanaka and Kuroda looking solid and Nova and Sabathia looking terrible. The bullpen is the same mixed bag of good and bad.


So... the team basically looks exactly like most of us thought it would (although Solarte has been a pleasant surprise).

The only reason the Yankees being 1 game over .500 with a -5 run differential doesn't look bad is because the rest of the AL East isn't doing any better."

Steve Skinner responded:

"1. Yes, several have gotten injured, that's not the point of this article.

2. The Yankees rank 9th in baseball in fielding pct.
 

3. Nova just shut down the Red Sux, hardly terrible. CC has been mediocre.

You fail to mention the bullpen which has performed WAY above expectations - ranking sixth in all of baseball as of today.

My point is that before crying that the "Sky is falling, the sky is falling!" because we had a few players go down during one game, step back and take a look at what is happening: we were WINNING THE GAME. 


Also, we DO HAVE TALENT at the minor league level to cover this, we need to trust our own judgement on the players we have and use them, rather than start proclaiming that Kendrys Morales or Stephen Drew are the answers to all of our problems. Both those players are mediocre at best, so why bother? Why not see what our younger talent can do? There just might be another one or two Solartes in our system that just haven't been given the proper opportunity.

As always, I truly appreciate your comments, and welcome them. While we might disagree, I love the banter and the fact that there are people out there like yourself that follow the game and are knowledgeable about it. 

Thank you!"

Momus responded:

"Well I definitely agree that basically no team should bother with Drew or Morales given their age, contract demands, injury histories and the draft pick compensation attached to them.

1) What was the point of the article then?

2) Fielding percentage is made up of a bunch of totally arbitrary judgments and has basically nothing to do with how well a team fields. It is particularly worthless when applied to players with limited range because they almost never get charged with errors since they're nowhere near the ball. This is true of the slow-footed Yankees infield.


3) Fair enough about Nova. I don't remember if he had pitched that game when I wrote the original comment, but he looked terrible in that outing against the Orioles.

In terms of ERA the Yankees bullpen is currently ranked 14th. That's quite a bit better than the starters who rank 22nd right now, but it's a long way from sixth. The bullpen has allowed the 5th fewest runs, but it has also pitched the 4th fewest innings. When you look at the runs versus the innings the Yankees bullpen is about equal to Baltimore's, a little below Toronto's and well back of Tampa and Boston.



As for talent at the minor league level. Maybe? I don't really know, but I will say this: Solarte has been a pleasant surprise, but it's also only been 12 games and he's currently hitting about 40 points higher than he was in AAA. His OBP has also jumped about 70 points and his Slg% about 100. That doesn't seem likely to be sustainable."

Steve Skinner responded:

" The point of the article was this: EVERY MLB team deals with injuries...they play 162 games, it's gonna happen. Yet, the minute we had injuries, people poured out of the woodwork saying "I told you so"...this team is too old, or he is too brittle or my favorite "this is why guys slide into first base"... I actually laugh at that one. 

Anyway, getting back to my point, there were all sorts of "Doom and gloom" statements flying around and WE WERE WINNING THE GAME. My point is: stay positive and TRUST the players on the roster to pick up for each other when teammates fall. I've been to a couple of minor league games and assure you, WE HAVE TALENT TO HELP within our organization. 


Scott Sizemore proved my point last night. We need to give our baby bombers a chance and not run out and get Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales at the drop of a hat - which is what some people were calling for.

2. You are absolutely correct about fielding percentage, and yes, our older guys are definitely slower - but, my point there is that while our range might not be among the best, we are currently playing solid in the field.

- as for the bullpen, remove David Phelps first two appearances (3.1 innings, 4 ER, 6 BB+H) and our bullpen sports a 2.36 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the season. That ERA would rank our bullpen 4th in MLB.

The only reason our number of innings out of the pen is low is because our starters rank 4th in MLB in total innings - which says A LOT about our starters. As a whole, our pitching staff has been tremendous.

Again, thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them.

Momus responded:


"Given how well Nova and Tanaka pitched in their last outings I may have to reconsider my opinion of the Yankee rotation. That was some nice work by Tanaka."

Great fan-to-fan dialog here, and we applaud it here at BYB. 

Have a nice day... and you don't suck!

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

I WANNA BE ROYAL

Today I said to a co-worker prior to a meeting, pick your poison!  He was complaining about having to go and watch eleven-year-olds jump on a trampoline for two hours.  I said, “That’s awesome!  They will tire out and you will have some peace.  You could be me and have to watch four hours of Dance Moms with my twelve-year-old.”  He quickly relented and said that he would rather watch his jumpers than gossiping, vicious dance moms. 


While watching Lifetime’s Dance Moms episodes this week, I saw an ensemble team perform a choreographed set to the Grammy award winning Lorde’s’ hit Royals.  The peanut sized dancers wore little maid costumes to express their desire to be ‘Royals’.  Interesting choice of costume and take on the song, until I read the back story behind the creation of the song- an interesting nugget I just couldn’t resist.



It seems that New Zealand’s own Lorde wrote the song after seeing a 1976 National Geographic photo of Kansas City Royal, future hall of famer, George Brett.  According to an article on ESPN.com, “The photo of a young, smiling Brett in his home Royals jersey, surrounded by autograph seekers holding brand-new baseballs, inspires the girl's song about missing out on the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The song becomes a worldwide hit, wins multiple Grammy awards, and turns the 17-year-old girl from Auckland into a star. “  Who would have ever thought of that take on the song but the songwriter herself!


She finally got to meet Brett this week and it was the meeting of a lifetime for an unlikely fan.  I understand that feeling completely.  You see, I am a closet George Brett fan.  There, I said it. 


Next to Bucky Dent and Pete Rose, I was secretly in love with him but could not admit it particularly after the pine tar incident and certainly not with the rivalry we had with the team back in the mid to late 1970s.  I wanted to be Royal too, but I was a Yankee and that just was not proper!


I remember a Sports Illustrated edition with Mike Schmidt and George Brett on the cover.  I relished that cover and kept it within a stone’s throw of my bed, where I also kept Olympic speed skater Eric Heiden’s pictures, my Burger King 1978 Yankee poster and my Yankee yearbooks. 


Perhaps I don’t have to be Royal to feel Royal as a Yankee fan.  We have 27 championships, a legacy of amazing players and the most elite baseball team in the country, if not the world.  If that’s not ‘Royal’, I don’t know what is.  But, hey, I wouldn’t mind meeting George Brett myself.  It would be dream,that took about 38 years to come true. 




--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof



 
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SLAUGHTER IN TAMPA

Sorry for the delay... even I need to catch up on sleep sometimes.


The Yankees won big... only the way the Yankees know how. When this team is in a rhythm, you can't stop them.  They are starting to gel like a real ball club.  There is a major difference between the team we saw on Game 1 and now. This team look like champs.  The team in Game 1 looked like a bunch of very expensive players that weren't playing together.  My, how things change...


First off, CC Sabathia looked outstanding.  No, he wasn't "18 strikeout, Ron Guidry" outstanding, but he was the CC Sabathia we know and love as we reach the the middle of April. Trust me, this guy is a creature of habit and needs to get into a routine.  When he does, he'll be fine, but the biggest knock against him is his slow starting.  To me, well, I accept it. Players are sometimes fragile, but all will be fine with CC Monster.
Last night he pitched 7 innings, giving up 7 hits and only 2 runs.  He had 6 strikeouts.

The hitting and run scoring for the Yankees went like this:


Brian Roberts, Yangervis Solarte and Alfonso Soriano were each 3-5. In the first, Brian McCann singled home a run. In the second, Brian Roberts tripled.  A short time Later Jacoby Ellbury tripled and then Derek Jeter singled home Ellsbury.

In the 5th, back to back home runs by Alfonso Soriano and McCann. It reminded me of when BYB wrote DON'T FEAR THE FONZ and THE MAGIC OF MCCANN on the same day.  When we did... things started to happen.  Sure... we'll take some credit.

In the 6th, Ellsbury knocked home another run. In the 7th, Roberts singled home McCann.  In the 9th, Solarte homered.

Alot of hitting and run scoring and it was like Brian Roberts was 23 years old.  Good for him.


The best play of the game though had to be the Triple play pulled off by the Yankees.  All in all, they were a complete club last night.


They played well, gelled nicely and made David Price wish he saved his beard and donned pinstripes right about now.  Once in a while... I like giving a good beating... we did it last night.

Final: Yankees 10 - Rays 2.

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HERE COMES McCANN THE YANKEE


I remember the night so clearly. The 2013 season had just concluded and I watched as the Boston Red Sox celebrated their 3rd World Championship in a decade. I slouched in a booth at a bar a few blocks away from my apartment here in New York City and felt awful. It wasn’t because the Sox were Champions, it was because they seemed to have something the Yankees just didn’t anymore, namely leaders.


I was at Mariano Rivera's final game at Yankee Stadium. I, like so many other grown men, got teary eyed when his brothers in arms Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte lifted Mo from the game. It wasn’t only watching the greatest closer of ALL-TIME walk away; it was also knowing that these three players would soon all be gone. For me it was realizing  that everything would soon be very different. Jeter had missed the lion share of the season and although I knew he would return in 2014, something seemed to leave him that night. The bond that the Core 4 shared was more than the titles and records, it was their heart, fire and leadership. Derek, as great as he is, had been a part of a great band and would now be releasing his solo album. We all trust it will be a great record, but we all know in our hearts that even Paul McCartney was just better when John, George and Ringo were around. They brought out the best in each other.


This year we all hope that Jeter remains healthy. We pray to the St. Babe, St. Lou, St. Joe and St. Mickey that they’ll bless these Yankees and let The Captain go out with one more ring…but then what? What happens next? Who will carry the flag forward? I have always said that with Derek Jeter’s retirement goes my youth. I am, and will always be, a big kid, but Jeet and I are roughly the same age. When he goes I will feel it a bit more than when Paulie, Tino and Coney hung ‘em up. So naturally the BIG question I had on that lousy night in late October was once the Core 4 is no more, who will be the new face of the New York Yankees? Luckily I got my answer relatively quickly.


Brian McCann WILL be the heart that beats loudest in the Bronx. I am absolutely convinced of it. How can I be so sure? It’s just a gut feeling. McCann has that “thing”. Mattingly, O’Neill, Tino, Jorge, Mo and Andy had it. And most importantly Derek Jeter still has it. They play the Yankee Way. They all bought into Mr. Steinbrenner’s “Win EVERY year” mentality. And if he were alive today I know The Boss would be a McCann fan.

This season Brian started slow with the bat , but then you could see him flip the switch. He was losing some hits in the teeth of the shift, but he was hitting the ball with authority. You could see him starting to heat up. The 2 dingers he hit last Sunday represent the type of player McCann will be. The rotation has shown that they might be all they were advertised to be. Brian reportedly had one on one meals with his new pitchers every morning of Spring Training. You can see he strives to know every nuance of their games. He takes their performance on the bump as his responsibility. That type of work ethic isn’t something you see everyday. It’s Old School.


Make no mistake this is Derek Jeter’s team. And it will be up until the last out of the last game he plays in Yankee pinstripes, but you can see McCann watching Jeter. You can see him asking him questions. You can see Brian showing us all that the club will be in good hands. He will keep the beat going. He will preserve the tradition that the Core 4 worked so hard to bring to the Bronx.


It’s true when Derek Jeter is gone the Yankees will feel like a very different team. But I feel good that Brian McCann is now here in New York. I think he will help the transition from the Core 4 Yankees to the Bronx Bombers of tomorrow. True leaders are a rare breed, but take heart Yankee faithful. It looks like another great one will stand guard in the House That Jeter Built for years to come.

** Seeing as I referenced the Beatles and it's Tax Week...Here are the Boys from Liverpool **


Thanks for reading.



--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
   Twitter: @mikeyoh21

"Paulie was always my favorite player."


 

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

I THINK WE HAVE BLEEDING YANKEE BLUE FANS NOW!

I know… crazy… we have fans.  I have always called our readers, “readers”.  Recently I was out with a friend of mine and we literally ran into a guy wearing a Bleeding Yankee Blue “What’s your blood type?” Shirt on the streets of Manhattan.


I nudged my buddy and pointed over at the guy.

“Holy Shit, go tell him who you are?”

“No. What the hell does that even mean?” I said.

“Do it, I want to see his face!”  Now look, I’ve known this guy for 20 years.  He’s a ball buster and a trouble maker and I should have dropped him a long time ago. But he’s a loyal friend and so, we see each other once in a while.

Anyway, I refused make a scene. Besides, it's more gratifying for me to see you guys wearing my BYB stuff and me sitting back and enjoying it. I’m a regular dude with a regular life and I don’t need the fanfare.  I do however, appreciate you wearing us and supporting us.

As the guy was buying a pretzel, my buddy went over to him. “Where’d you get that shirt?

BleedingYankeeBlue.com!" He rattled it off the tongue like he knew it was coming.  “I gotta get me one of those”, my buddy said with a smirk. The guy turned around quickly. “You can’t get this shirt anymore. I’ve been reading them for years. It’s vintage now.”  He started to laugh.  My pal, always the jokster, laughed harder, and patted him on the back like they'd known each other for life. They looked like 2 old friends or something.

 

 “See that guy," he pointed at me, "He’s Casey.”
Crap”, I said under my breath smiling.  I knew it was coming.


 
Get the F**k outta here!”  The man walked over to me. There was pretzel mustard in his mustache. He was happy to see me.

Are you F**king with me right now?”

“No, it’s me," I said, "Nice shirt!” We shook hands.

“I love you guys! The greatest Yankee site I ever read! It's in my bookmarks," he said.

I smiled. I probably blushed, “Thanks man. Thanks for reading it.”


“My wife wants that Posada shirt,” he then said.  I don’t remember much more after that, and if you’re reading this sir, here’s why;  I literally watched this man talk to me about the 2009 World Series, and the Matsui home run and he told me about how he loved what we did with the Biogenesis scandal coverage and how he hates ARod. He liked the way we blasted Cano for ditching New York, but I don't remember any of the specifics. That's because I was looking at this guy and thinking, “Holy cow. I have a fan. This guy’s inspired because of what we put on paper every day.”  I was in a zone at the moment. I couldn't believe it... it felt good.

My friend jumped in, “Hey, we gotta run, but I thought it would be funny to tell you that he was Casey!”

Then I remember this; “You are awesome,” the man said. We shook hands again.

We walked away. As I turned the corner, I waved.  He waved back and shook his fist, like he just won a big game. I got chills, actual chills.

"What the hell was that for?" I asked my buddy. “Hey, its time you knew what you’re doing to people who read you. You’re a celebrity and you don’t even realize it.”

Now, I have never been the type to think about that. I had a few ideas and I wanted to put them on paper and see what the readers opinions were a few years ago, but a celebrity? Nope. I’m you, a fan.  Hey, maybe that’s why it’s been such a great ride. We communicate like fans, together. We put ideas on paper that you don’t read anywhere else.  We’re funny, we’re fair and we’re not know-it-all assholes.  We’re you. 3 years later, it's been amazing.


And to top off that meeting with a BYB "fan", I received an email from my friend Becki 1 day later. She attended Saturday’s Yankee game against the Sox.  She sent me this picture with a message that said that she went and “of course I was wearing your shirt”. It was that Jorge Posada Limited edition Tee. She smiled proud and our cathedral was in the background as you can see.   I realized something pretty incredible right then. We do have fans, don’t we?  I love you guys!  You’re real people, real fans, and you really, really like Bleeding Yankee Blue! How the hell did that happen?

I want to take a moment to thank you all. I want to thank the BYB writers. Your efforts are never ignored. You are incredible people. Truly incredible people.

I want to thank all the readers and new readers that come to us, maybe to laugh or to be inspired.  Or even to read about the game or just an opinion piece.  You understand what we’re doing here.  You’re amazing individuals and outstanding fans. You keep me going… and I’m blessed.

Thanks for going to the BYB store. Thanks for wearing us… and thanks for being you. You are terrific.

Most importantly, thanks for being a BYB fan. I can’t believe I’m even writing that, but I am. It’s weird for me, but my buddy set me straight a few days ago… and I see the big picture now.

Thanks

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#42 TAKES THE MOUND AGAIN


Seeing #42 close out the Yankees double header tonight gave me chills.  I know we honored Jackie Robinson today, but there was something incredibly symbolic about seeing #42 on the mound in the 9th tonight. It's our house... and Mariano is not there.  Tonight, he, and Jackie, they were there. Again... I got chills. Adam Warren was that #42 in the 9th today. More on that in a moment.

(In Photo: Adam Warren)
The Yankees won both games today against the Cubs.  The first game they won 3-0, read EASY PEASY... YANKEES WIN GAME 1. Tonight, they did it again, another shutout.


Michael Pineda went in the night cap. He went 6 innings, giving up only 4 hits.  The rest of the gang, Phelps, Thornton and Adam Warren held the Cubs down.


The Yankee runs went simply like this. In the 4th, Brett Gardner singled scoring Scott Sizemore.  Then, in the 5th, Sizemore singled and that scored Alfonso Soriano.  Yup, it was that simple and clearly, the timing is right for Sizemore... he's up at the right time, good for him.

Final tonight: Yankees 2 - Cubs 0.

A doubleheader... and they both go the Yankees way.  I love those kind of days... Go Yanks! Great Job!

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

EASY PEASY... YANKEES WIN GAME 1


8 Innings of work. 2 hits allowed. 10 strikeouts.  That was Masahiro Tanaka's line today against the Cubs.  We needed a hero today... we got a Masa-"Hero" in Tanaka.  Sure, Adam Jones and Jose Bautista can say that Tanaka is no big deal and "nothing special", but they're scared and they know their teams didn't and couldn't pony up for big Tanaka.  The Yankees did something important this off-season, they signed the biggest fish they could find after a few years of research and scouting of this japanese sensation.  Tanaka is a great pitcher and we as Yankee fans need to embrace him.  Trust me, he's something special.

After Tanaka exited, Shawn Kelley came in, allowed 1 hit and got the save.  "Easy peasy lemon squeezy" as my 10 year old will say to me... Easy Peasy is right.

 The Yankees hitting went like this:


Carlos Beltran hit home run number 4 today.  That was a solo shot in the bottom of the first.  I think it's safe to say Beltran has found his swing.

In the bottom of the 4th, Dean Anna sacrificed home Brian McCann.  Then, in the bottom of the 5th, Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out and Brett Gardner scored.

Final for Game 1: Yankees 3 - Cubs 0

Game 1 in the books and Game 2 is coming up at 7:05pm.  See you there. Go Yanks!

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON


Here's a great nugget that I wanted to share with you all. Many have probably missed it.  Mariano Rivera Jr. is headed to New Hampshire to take the mound for a collegiate summer program.  He'll be pitching just like his old man, Mariano Rivera. Gotta love that.

According to the Bergen Record:

"Mariano Rivera Jr. will join the Laconia Muskrats this summer, part of the 12-team New England Collegiate Baseball League. He’s a right-hander, like his dad." 


 In an interview with New Hampsire Public Radio, Mariano Jr said:

"I like to be my own guy... People would always look at me like, ‘That’s Rivera’s son, he must be amazing.’ It was hard because people have such high expectations, and if I didn’t perform to those standards, I felt like I let everyone down. But now I work to my abilities. If I get called to pitch, I’m going to do the best that I can.”

That article also says: 


"Playing for the Laconia Muskrats could improve the college sophomore’s chances. More than 70 percent of NECBL players go on to play some professional baseball.

When Rivera comes to New Hampshire this summer, he’ll play his home games at an idyllic little facility called the Robbie Mills Sports Complex."

If you live near there, I would hope you go out and see this new kid, also nicknamed "Mo".  I already love this kid's attitude. I wish him the best.

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!