May 2010


A month in, some predictions I made here that I’m very happy about:

 Joel Pineiro might have been the off-season’s most overrated signing… 

Pineiro: 2-3, 5.76 ERA.

…just for good measure, Cliff Lee is not only hurt – he has the most nagging and unpredictable of injuries for a baseball player, ‘something in the abdomen.’

First appearance coincides with first discussion of his next team. Yikes.

What’s the psychological saw about repeating the same unsuccessful action with confidence that this time it will succeed? The Brewers are confident Dave Bush, Doug Davis, and Manny Parra and/or Jeff Suppan constitute three-fifths of a pitching staff.

Bush, Davis and Suppan are 1-6. Parra hasn’t started – yet – but he’s 0-1.

Here’s a silly little question for ARIZONA about Edwin Jackson. If he’s good enough for you to have given up on Max Scherzer, why is he pitching for his third team in as many seasons? 

1-3, 8.07.

Manny Being Just Manny (No PEDs) is a just slightly better offensive force than, say, Mark DeRosa. The McCourt Divorce may be a lot more interesting than the 2010 Dodgers, and a lot less painful to watch.

Your 2010 Dodgers, 11-14.

Matt Capps is likelier to be fine in Washington than Octavio Dotel is in Pittsburgh (he can’t get lefties out!)

The above may be an ultimate no-contest before June 1. Neal Huntington’s statement about the Pirates’ closer situation is the reason most people usually say “without equivocation.” The question about Evan Meek’s ascent seems to be only when (ok, a little bit “how” – like “how do the Pirates explain they wasted 99% of their free agent budget on an 8th inning guy?”)

Andruw Jones, Francisco Liriano, Fausto Carmona and even Eric Chavez are your seasonal comebacks…

Not bad, huh? I mean you even have to give partial credit because it’s May 2 and Chavez isn’t hurt yet.

Wow does BALTIMORE not have pitching…

Actually they’ve been a little better than that.

…keep the Ortiz thought in the back of your mind. What if the second half of ’09 was the aberration, not the first half? Will the Sox have to bench him? And if so, could the twists and turns of fate find them suddenly grateful that they had been unable to trade Mike Lowell?

We’ve already seen this play out in one direction, it may now be reversing – but long term this will not end happily for Big Papi.

I think Tampa ends up with the best record…This time I like the Rays to win the Series, five years after other owners seriously murmured about moving them or contracting them…

So far so good. Notice I have left out the prediction about Ike Davis not coming up before June 1. Or May 1. I’ll still stop now, I’ve strained something batting myself on the back.

Umpire Fantasy League, You Say?

Up until this season: never in the umpires’ room at a big league game once in my life, and in the last three weeks I’ve now been in there twice. Dale Scott and Dan Iassogna corralled me as I was leaving the field at Yankee Stadium this afternoon and apart from reaffirming my experience that the umps are as cordial a group of guys as exist in the game, Scott told me about something I’d never heard before.

There is at least one Umpire Fantasy League.
MLB Enforcement can relax. It’s not a fantasy league with teams owned by umpires; and there you have your hypothetical winner of the dumbest possible nightmare scandal in sports. It is a fantasy league in which umpires are drafted, and in which they score points for you based on…the number of times they eject players or managers. There are convoluted (ok, impenetrable) scoring variations, but essentially it’s four points every time an ump “correctly” runs a guy, and minus three every time he fails to. There’s a draft, just like in more traditional leagues, and everybody I mentioned this to at The Stadium said the same thing: “Angel Hernandez gets taken first?”
Online sources and my own intuition told me only one man could be behind this: Jud Burch, an ESPN associate producer in my day, later Producer of Baseball Tonight and now apparently a Coordinating Producer for SportsCenter. Only one man I know can do an impression of any one active arbiter’s strike call (many of us can do versions of the long-ago ump Dutch Rennert’s strike bellow, which was a little like the sound I’d expect to hear at the end of the world, only louder), and that’s Burch. And the last time I saw him, he could do all of the time.
Clearly such a league is not for everybody but it really is intriguing to think of the possibility of incorporating it into a standard rotisserie league. Nine pitchers, a catcher, six infielders, five outfielders, a DH/utility spot, and two umpires.
I like it.
All that stands now is an eleven-stanchion-wide section of the right field corner, and some of the ramp structure behind it. Even the debris field is beginning to be cleared up. The lack of the old Yankee Stadium continues to mesmerize hundreds of us at every game. Some views, at various angles, before and after Saturday’s game.
From the elevated station at 161st Street:
From the still-in-service 153rd Street parking garage, with the new Stadium in the background, the remainder in the midground, and the ramp structure in the foreground:
From the uppermost level of the same parking structure, looking from a point further west:
From the new municipal fields just across from the new Stadium, giving a little better sense of the “Bates Hotel” quality to the place:
And lastly from a gap in the fencing, under the El, approximately 157th Street: