Yankees-Mets Notes And Photo Day

The Yankees are seemingly focused on Derek Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits. Not getting as much play: his slugging percentage is worse than all but one other Yankee hitter. Not all but one other Yankee regular – all but one of the other 14 guys who have come to bat for the team all year. Jeter is being “outslugged” by 71 points by Brett Gardner and by 33 by Jorge Posada, who is being treated in the Bronx as if he is a ghost…

The only one behind Jeter? Nick Swisher (.303 SA). And yet the manager says “we know Swisher will hit.” We know no such thing. Until last year he had never put together consecutive good seasons in the majors. And incidentally he still has more extra-base hits than Jeter. So does Justin Turner of the Mets – in one-third the plate appearances…

We haven’t even gotten to On Base Percentage. Simply put there is no excuse for Jeter to be leading off. None. He’s at .316. That’s tied for 242nd in the big leagues (that’s a wildly inflated number – it includes everybody in the majors. Nevertheless, among those in his neighborhood are Angel Sanchez of the Astros, Ronny Cedeno of the Pirates, and Jason Bartlett of the Padres. Nobody is trying to pretend they haven’t been offensive disasters. People read stuff like this from me about Jeter and wonder what I have against him. The answer is nothing. He’s a hall of famer and I’ve been stunned by his consistency and clutch play since I was at ESPN – that’s how long he’s been doing what he’s been doing. But they should’ve made him manager or general manager or team president last year – or at least should be planning to do so the day he gets his 3,000th hit.

Remember…this is the franchise that once released Babe Ruth…

The Mets have very quietly built a bullpen out of other teams’ spare parts. Jason Isringhausen has been lights out since coming back, Rule V draftee Pedro Beato’s scoreless streak wasn’t interrupted by his DL stint, and so far, Nationals refugee lefty Mike O’Connor has been untouchable. The secret to the Mets’ disastrous collapses of 2007 and 2008, and the miserable seasons since, has been the startling truth that the relief corps has never been as good as it is right now…

The Yankees appear to be dealing with the resurfacing of an old problem. First it was Ruben Sierra showing the kid a great time, late at night, after night games. Exit Mr. Sierra. Then his running-mate was Melky Cabrera. He was a late-inning game-winning machine in 2009. Nevertheless, exit Mr. Cabrera. Now it is a spare outfielder supposedly escorting the should-be MVP to see the bright lights of big league cities. The should-be MVP is hitting .275. There are rumblings that it may soon be Exit Mr. Spare Outfielder…

Speaking of exits, it may be hard to believe this, but my understanding is that Sandy Alderson, doing all due diligence to try to revive the team from Queens, has asked almost every club what they might give him for every one of his key players. You can forget the Jose Reyes talk: the Mets and the MLB caretakers working unobtrusively with them know they must re-sign Reyes. There are intriguing answers when the Mets say “Ike Davis” and, surprisingly, “Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran.” The answers offered when they say “David Wright” are stunningly low. The rap is simple: perfect public face of a franchise. Wonderful teammate. Great guy. Productive hitter and deft fielder. Durable. And not to be relied upon in the clutch. The yield for David Wright might be less than the yield for Carlos Beltran (FYI absolutely none of this comes from Sandy Alderson or anybody in the Met front office)…

Not to re-stir an old pot but Alex Rodriguez still looks to Yankee coaching assistant Brett Weber’s third-row seat from the on-deck circle. You remember Brett, right?But Brett isn’t always in his seat. He was, Friday. He wasn’t, last night. And it’s possible I’ve missed it, but I have not seen him throw a signal at A-Rod or any other Yankee, or wiggled any fingers, or held up a sign, or even as much as looked back. He may have taken an order for fries in that headset for all I know, but from what I’ve seen, he has not violated communications rule C4…


LoMo. Talking Feet

As we look at the rogues’ gallery of baseball friends with whom I’ve posed this season, the touching saga of how Twitter brought together an underrated Marlins’ outfielder and a guy with a similar foot injury (me) is in the papers today, right here. LoMo portrays a certain raunchiness in his Twitter feed. I don’t want to hurt his street cred, but he’s also a polite and thoughtful guy. As is Andy Samberg from SNL, with whom I had the pleasure of sitting through the last of the Yankees-Red Sox games. Delightful sequence of pitches during a Swisher at bat. The first of them is lined straight back and bounces off the screen right in front of me. Mr. Samberg laughs appropriately. The next one is lined straight back and bounces off the screen right in front of him. His laugh is delayed by only about a second. He shouts “Swish! What the heck? I was an A’s fan!”You know this fella. Interviewed Harold Reynolds in, I think, 1987 or 1988. Worked with him at ESPN in 1996 and 1997, most memorably at the Jackie Robinson Game. Continues to anchor – in the more literal sense – the studio work at MLB Network, although Mitch Williams, Dan Plesac, Joe Magrane, all the other analysts and all the hosts have helped create the best TV start-up I’ve ever seen.

Studio lights make Daron Sutton and Luis Gonzalez look odd. Me? I always look odd

I was a photographer when I met Mr. Yost. We believe this was circa 1872.

Tim Wakefield and I are 19 years removed from the interview in which he called me "Mr. Olbermann."

Adam Lind of Anderson, Indiana

Mr. Thome and I are 92 between us

Mr. Myers says this was only his third baseball game


    • Patricia Powell Couvillion

      You will love it here. It is fun and you learn so much about the game and its players! Enjoy!

  1. Patricia Powell Couvillion

    Great blog, Keith! Love the pics! I think for sure something is going on with Brett…oh, I remember him well…and that pic! Just needs a little detective work to get solved. But, like Mama used to say, “There is a reason for everything,” and if A-Rod is looking back to him, he is trying to see something. On Derek Jeter, I think that is solved by the three boys who passed down the alley while we were painting a mural over gang graffiti. The boys (all about 12 years old) had a basketball. I asked who they favored for the NBA playoffs and they picked the Celtics. Then, I asked them which team they liked in baseball. One of them said Jeter before the others named the team. He is baseball to the kids. They only know what they see and hear from others…and a little TV. It takes time for news to filter way down south. Hm. Seems like it takes time in Yankee land, too! Thanks and have a great day! We’re aliiiiiiiiive! (Use Burt Lancaster’s Soylent Green voice.)

  2. Cheryl H in AZ (@cherinphx)

    Love this blog. Educational as always. I’m more of a NL gal but I love getting the news from both sides. And quite a feat taking a photo in 1872. How long did you have to stand in that position ? 🙂

  3. Art

    Wow, Keith. You say you have nothing against Jeter, but it really doesn’t seem like it. I thought through the first month of the season you were just being objective, but now it’s really starting to look like you simply dislike him. You don’t utter a peep when he has a notably good game (two homers in a game by a non-home run hitter), but are all over him when he has a rough day at the plate. You were clearly so excited on this topic when you wrote this post that you forgot to close your parenthetical statement in the third paragraph–as if so much venom is bursting out of you that you can’t control yourself. And you’re a way better writer than that. Dial it back, for Pete’s sake. He’s still killing in the field and it’s only just middle-May–just over a quarter of the season has passed.

    • Sam

      I agree. Jeter’s agent is married to a Fox News anchor, so maybe that has to do with Keith’s over-the-top venom against Derek.

  4. Jim Atklins

    Keith- I think my first really distinct memory of you was when you were on I think Channel 2 in LA- you did a lead-in about “A clip from the Westminster Kennel Club dog show” and cut to a woman that looked and sounded like Margaret Thatcher saying “I took one look at the bitch and said to myself ‘That’s the one!'”. Cut back to the studio and you are sitting there with a smug look on your face while the two anchors are falling out of their chairs. I knew you were my kind of person right then. Thanks for a lot of laughs and a lot of insight since then.

  5. Bethany

    Jeter should not be leading off. Clearly no one seems to want to address the elephant in the room, on the field, or at the plate for that matter.

  6. Pingback: Yankees-Mets Notes And Photo Day « Baseball Nerd | Yankees News Source
  7. kathy baril

    Neat article! ..you know so much. Love the ‘picture album.’ Can’t swear what this summer will bring, but i intend on getting re-acquainted w/an old friend: baseball!

    ps: Please save me a seat at next Rockies/Mets game! 🙂

  8. Wahoo

    Hi Keith,

    Love the blog, but would really like to read about a team other than the Yankees sometimes! Do you have anything to say about the Indians? It’s deep enough into the season to start taking them seriously. And after re-reading your initial predictions about Cleveland’s club, I think it’s about time to do a follow-up discussion!

  9. Jim Eggers

    Keith-it is sad to watch Jeter now, I hope the team finds a way to help him exit after number 3K.
    Was wondering if you had noticed that Dirk Hayhurst has been on the 7 day DL for some 25 days now.. I can’t seem to find out if his repaired cuff is the problem, and I’m sure all you gotta do is hit his cell, so let us know… OK? Saw you on Letterman the other nite, very funny and I appreciate the cred you gave him for his political humor vis a vis OBL, he reminds me of Johnny Carson in that vein.

  10. Sam

    A couple weeks ago I was watching the Royals-Yankees game and I switched over to the K.C. broadcast to get away from the incredibly annoying John Flaherty, and who should I see in the booth with Ryan Lefebvre and Frank White but … Keith Olbermann. In a bright red shirt. It was a treat to hear Keith talk baseball for a full inning. I have to disagree with all this anti-Yankee, anti-Jeter talk. Keith seems obsessed with bashing Jeter. He has a very good on-base percentage leading off an inning. Anyway, I’m still a fan of Keith, just like I am of Jete when he hits a weak one. Though yesterday that seemed to be the best way to win.

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  12. John


    Are you aware that Beltran’s value is negatively impacted because neither the Mets nor a team that trades for him can offer him arbitration this winter?

  13. Bruce Markusen

    It’s simply not true that Swisher has never had two good back-to-back seasons prior to his Yankee days. In 2006 and 2007, Swisher put up two good seasons in a row for the A’s, with OPS marks well above .800 each time.

    Swisher has really only had one bad season, which was in 2008 with the White Sox. He has been a good, productive player in four of the past five seasons.

  14. Dusty

    I love how you don’t name the spare outfielder. It’s the ‘he who’s name must not be said’ type of thang.

    I agree that Swish sucks..although you don’t put it that way..I do. 😉

    Reading your blog means I learn more than I ever needed to know about the Yanks. Do you think any of this info you impart will work as convo starters at a party? Just wondering….

  15. Michael Johnson

    I hate inter-league ball !
    The SF Giants have already played their last game in Pittsburgh *this year* because of inter-league baseball. Have to make room for the Twins. The TWINS!!???
    And there are many more examples like that
    We need your support on this one Keith. Please don’t tell me you *like* this abomination!?
    Can’t wait till you’re back.

  16. Pingback: Trade Targets: Middle Infield | FanGraphs Baseball
  17. fashiontips

    I asked who they favored for the NBA playoffs and they picked the Celtics. Then, I asked them which team they liked in baseball. One of them said Jeter before the others named the team. He is baseball to the kids. They only know what they see and hear from others…and a little TV. It takes time for news to filter way down south. Hm. Seems like it takes time in Yankee land, too! Thanks and have a great day! We’re aliiiiiiiiive! (Use Burt Lancaster’s Soylent Green voice.)

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