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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

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I think you'd have to put a few more things into the roundup, at least from the Yankee perspective:

The Good
-Defense from Bubba and Cano.

The Bad
-Torre going to Sturtze and not The Farns or Mo with the game on the line. [Nick-YF called this]

The Ugly
-Mike Myers

YF,
You call Cano not trying to dive or otherwise block a key hit up the middle good defense??

The estimable John Kruk (rightly) wanted to tar and feather lazy Robby for that play.

Once again, Robby is too cool for school, and opponents reap the rewards. Maybe he should field a few more fungos with "Fiery" Larry Bowa.

I saw a couple of nice snags by Cano, and not the play in question. No one here is going to make him out to be a stellar defender, you can be sure.

Torre's bullpen moves were baddest part of the night. Myers? Come on! And yeah, bringing out Sturze made no sense - why the heck did we pay $18m for a shiny new reliever if we're not going to use him in the late innings of a close game at Fenway?

Joe's handling of his pitchers has been off all season, if you ask me. I don't like this strategy of bringing Myers in for particular match-ups (I'd rather trust a good righty than a crappy lefty), and he does odd things like only letting Farnsworth pitch 2/3s of an inning or taking his starters out too soon. I don't know what sort of advice he's getting from Mazzili and Guidry, but I don't like the taste of it.

YF, I believe the play in question was the Loretta grounder up the middle in the 8th, which scored Willie Harris from second. Cano saves the run if he dives, but he doesn't. Lackadaisical. It's a tie game between NYY and BOS, what's he saving himself for?

That said, John Kruk's reaction means nothing to me. Expecting insightful baseball analysis from John Kruk is like expecting insightful stock advice from Paris Hilton... they didn't get where they are by being smart, so why give them any credit?

(Looks like it's Paris Hilton day at YFSF.)

The Yankees got Myers for exactly the situation that came up last night. It didn't work. If he is able to get out the guys that he's supposed to for the most part, then it's no big deal. If he fails a couple of more times, he won't be on the team. But I don't see how bringing Myers in last night is worthy of much criticism. If Torre brought in Farnsworth last night to face Ortiz he would have been ripped for it, considering why Myers signed. And if Farnsworth had been brought in and failed, my god would you guys have gone nuts. And rightfully so.

Last night Torre's move with Sturtze was probably a tad more suspect than anything, but even then Cano didn't do anything to help out Sturze when he could have cut down that ball on the infield, saving the lead run and putting Ortiz up in a tie game. Remember, when Myers came into a game the Yankees were already losing.

(more)good:
Tito's pitch-out call to nail Crosby
Boston's infield defense
Cora blocking the bag on Jeter's baserunning gaffe (and no, YFs- he was not safe, he couldn't get back to the bag with Cora sitting on it.)
The fans in CF who threw fake benjamins at Damon
PAPELBON!!!

(more) bad:
hmmm....got me on that one

(more) ugly:
The MENSA members in the RF bleachers (up by the Dunkin Dugout) with the gigantic sign that read "TRADER". Egads.

That Chass dude can kiss my grits.

Last night went about as badly as it could have gone. Our four-year-52-mil aquisition goes 0-fer in his homecoming, and Ortiz hits a late inning homer off a guy who's sole job is to not let Ortiz hit a late inning homer.

That, my friends, is what you call taking it in the pinstriped shorts.

And Jeter was safe on that play! Instant karma for the night before vs. the Jays, when Jeter phantom-phantom-phantom tagged Rios.

Oh come on - Jeter was out, and it was entirely his own fault. I hate to admit it, but it's true.

As I posted last night, even if Jeter was safe (which it didn't appear he could have physically been based on the fact that Cora was positioned to block the bag almost completely), he didn't look safe, which is at least 20% (unscientific assignation, there) of the situation. The umpire wasn't positioned to see if Jeter did get his hand in, and replays on NESN made it seem like the right call no matter what.

Replays on YES made it seem like the wrong call, that's what I was going on. I guess from the positioning it would have been tough, but I swear it looked like Jeter snuck his left arm in there. He shouldn't have made that turn anyway.

I saw a replay on NESN this morning and it looked like Jeter was out. Also I was at the game, and I can tell you for certain that from 500 feet away, he looked out to me.

SF - sent you an email with a video link I took from last night. Check it out if you have a moment.

MM: I haven't gotten it. Did you send it to our email address on the right?

yanksfansoxfan@hotmail.com

Yup. A few minutes ago. I'll try again if you like.

I just sent it again. Hopefully it went through that time.

wow, what a great game. Best game, competition-wise, that I've ever attended.

Looks like Mike Myers will never gain the type of psychological advantage over Ortiz that he had on Matsui. The damage is done.

Not bringing in Farnsworth was a puzzling call. Seems like Torre was thinking more about preparing for a potential extra-inning game than winning the game in 9.

Torre has this odd infatuation with mediocre pitchers. I'm thankful for it. Its entirely possible the Red Sox would have squandered the game last night (a game they definitely should have won) if Torre had put in Rivera and possibly Farnsworth instead of Sturtze and Small. I can't fault Torre for puting in Myers to face Ortiz. That matchup is basically the entire reason that Myers is on that team, and before that at-bat Myers hadn't allowed a run all season.

Torre putting in Myers wasn't a problem for me. Torre putting in Tanyon was...kinda of...we quit? already?
Jeter was probably safe but you aren't going to get that call. On the flip side, Cano stretched that "in the vicinity" double play rule earlier in the game into the twilight zone so I can't get up in arms about the second base call against Jeter.
It was an intense bummer out here for me since it was one of the first game i got to see on the tv out here in SF.
Also, Rick Sutcliffe's ESPN talking was driving me insane (for both the Yanks and the Sox).
At one point he's talking about how people didn't hit home runs in Fenway until Ortiz came to the team? I'd like to believe that the Red Sox have always been a terrible team but my God! What was he talking about?

“The Bad:... Sox fans who booed Damon lustily; probably the same ones who started the brief ‘Yankees Suck’ cheer.”

I can understand the “Yankees Suck” taunt. It’s such a cliché around the league that it’s to be expected. But, after booing Damon, Red Sox fans collectively must ask themselves how far they’ve come in the past two years. As is always the case in sports fan classlessness (battery throwers in the Bronx too) the perps don’t give press conferences. (Un)fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be many Damon boo-birds who post on this site. I’d appreciate an explanation.

And the Jeter play, just like the Sheffield fan interference play last spring, is one of those situations where fans are going to see what they want to see, even though no definitive view of anything was offered by any camera angle. Timing wise, it looked like he was safe. Spatial relationship wise, it looks difficult to get his arm around to the bag.

And the Farnsworth thing is curious, although I’ll be slow to pass judgment. MattyMatty, you are dead wrong about Torre’s attachment to mediocrity. We as fans do not know the big picture in the clubhouse. Moreover, the thing that many miss with Torre is that he manages not for 9 innings, nor extra innings, nor for over-hyped rivalries. He’s in it for the entire season. He truly views every game as equal in the standings and won’t manage like it’s October until it’s October - no matter how much hype there is. Relative to the overall goal, yesterday and today are just two more games on the schedule. And given that this is only May, there will be many more important appearances for Farnsworth against the Sox. In fact, all things remaining equal, tonight is a slightly more crucial game than last night – and so on and so on.

So why go to Rivera in May for anything but a save situation?

Not to beat a dead horse, but the Jeter play isn't about seeing what we want to see, it's about what the ump saw and/or was able to see. I don't mean that in a snide sense, either, just in an empirical sense. First, Jeter makes the turn, clearly gets caught off the bag. Second, the throw is clearly there before Jeter tries to get his hand in around a swipe tag. Third, Cora blocks the bag, basically sitting on it. Fourth, Cora applies a very quick tag and shows the ump the ball confidently. Fifth: the umpire is, as far as I could see, not in a position to see Jeter's hand get on the bag before Cora's tag, even if it did - he was in front of the play on the pitcher's mound side of the bag. All these things make the call pretty darn predictable. The physics (and somewhat limited information provided in replays) show that it was more likely that Jeter was out, not safe. There was one replay on Yes where it looks like Jeter gets his hand around Cora - but what is likely is that his hand hit Cora's right shin, and not the bag. I think those who say with any degree of certainty that Jeter was safe are coming to a very suspect conclusion, though not impossible either.

I'm doing my best to be objective here, but I think if the situation were reversed I'd probably argue that the Red Sox runner might have been safe but that all visuals pointed to the opposite, and hence the call made was the only call that could have been made.

If Torre manages for the whole season, then he should have checked the weather report. It started raining right after the game, and hasn't stopped yet in Boston - tonight's game is unlikely. Farnsworth (and Mo) could have easily been put in with the comfort of a likely rainout the next day.

Not saying he's supposed to be a psychic weatherman/coach, but if he was not managing just for that game, then what game was he managing for?

Disclaimers: Nick's post about Sturtze I think gave us all more premonition about the Yanks' bullpen than I think even Torre might have had (I know I thought of it when I saw him on the mound), AND I don't think Sox fans are allowed to really criticize managerial skills, particularly given Tito's recent hijinks.

AND I don't think Sox fans are allowed to really criticize managerial skills, particularly given Tito's recent hijinks

You mean we can't think both guys make mistakes? This is absurd.

Yes, both guys can (and have been) making mistakes.

My point is just that it seems we've been losing games because Tito's been making bad calls, and it's hard to really go after Torre when Tito's been managing so badly, especially in the late innings this past week. SF, I'm specifically talking about your multiple posts lambasting our tobacco chewing hero for the bullpen management among other bad judgement calls.

Course they're both making mistakes, but in the past week if all we had to worry about was putting Sturtze in needlessly, we wouldn't have had so much to complain about.

But I don't see it as "going after Torre". Criticism is criticism, if it's justified it shouldn't matter what the uniform is.

And just so people don't think I have blinders on, see this post itself - Tito did a nice job last night.

I can't remember when it's ok to block any base without the ball. It wasn't the reason the Yanks lost though.

I think you're allowed to block the base if you are awaiting a tag...and the baserunner is also allowed to plow into you if you are in the way. If it turns out you were just "blocking" the base to be a big jerk and you interfer with the baserunner, he'll be considered safe. Though I would argue that Jeter got to the bag, around the tag from Cora, I understand SF's point.
If the tying run scored in the same play and was taken back because of said call I'd be a bit angrier and more intollerant of other opinions; but that's not the case.
Torre and Tito deserve criticism and we can both criticize the other and and if someone feels the criticism is wrong they can criticize that as well.
In this case though, Tanyon Sturtze stinks, (has stunk for quite a while) and most Yankee fans I know were frightened, even at the end of 2004, because we all knew he was a pumpkin and all we could hope for was that midnight would last past october.

Very simply, Cora was not obstructing the base.

From the MLB rules:

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered "in the act of fielding a ball".

decrying sox fans' "classlessness" is missing the point. few have mentioned today that Sox fans stood and cheered for mike myers when he came out from the bullpen. no, this wasn't the brain-dead, knee-jerk reaction on the part of a bunch of brainless jungle apes (much though i know YFs cling to that vision of us in boston) but an actual heartfelt statement. hard to wrap the mind around, i know, but it appears sox fans just really think johnny's a jerk. go figure.

I've read the rule too, SF, and it is a little ambiguous. Could DJ have flew at 2B like a MLB on a goal-line stand? According to the rules he is entitled to the basepath. It was mentioned before that the ump was not in a great place to make that call, but they can't really be everywhere you want them to be and, even you must admit, that was a pretty creative maneuver. I'd blame the wind before I'd blame the umps for the loss.

What's ambiguous, Nate? Cora was in the act of fielding, hence he's not obstructing.

I smell an episode of "Ask the Ump".

I know there is a more detail explanation of the MLB rules, but I haven't been able to find them nor am I sure I have to time to completely review them, but I distictly remember the rules of "obstruction" being much more complicated than that. Unless, of course, MLB decided to simplify the rule book (which I think is highly unlikely). Basically, it's just more fuel for the fire at this point, not to mention moot.

Beth, I'm not sure how the example of Myers strengthens your point about the classiness of Sox fans. It just seems to demonstrate that Sox fans (and they're not unique in this) are fickle and lack a consistent view when it comes to returning players. The only thing that distinguishes Damon from Myers is that Johnny was much more important to the recent run. Otherwise, both players left the Sox and fled to the hated rivals...for more money. So, why does Johnny get booed? And Myers not? It could have something to do with the fact that he meant a lot more to the team. And it strikes me as odd that he gets fewer cheers than a guy who contributed a lot less. But, this is the way fan bases behave. It's why A-Rod occasionally gets heartily booed at the Stadium and Bubba Crosby hears nothing but cheers.

I was at the game (as I've probably said too often at this point) and from my vantage point Red Sox fans (of which I'm most assuredly one) heartily booed both Damon and Myers. There were certainly fans who stood and cheered for both players, but none, and I do mean none (who weren't wearing pinstripes) were anywhere near me. Now there were 36,000 people at the game, so others who were there might have a different impression. I did watch some highlights on NESN and from their audio I heard more cheers for Damon than I did from my seat.

As far as booing him goes, I don't think classiness goes into it. I know YFs will carp about how SFs are mean, unappreciative and shallow, but I think Damon got it right when before the game he said they won't boo me, they'll boo the uniform. Speaking for myself, I booed the uniform. I loved Damon when he was in Boston, and I still wish him success personally. I think he's a good guy and I liked having him on my team, but just as signing with the Yankees was a business decision for him, booing him was a business decision for me. He's a Yankee now, and I'm a Red Sox fan. Yankees get booed at Fenway Park. That’s the way it has always been, and that’s the way its likely to stay. The fact that he was a Red Sox of course has something to do with the severity of the boos, but not one Yankee escaped booing last night. Not Giambi, Jeter, Rodriguez or even Cairo, and Damon was and will be no different every time he comes to Fenway. In this we Red Sox fans are no different than Yankees fans. No Yankee fan would do anything other than boo Giambi or Sheffield or Rodriguez if somehow any of them ended up playing for Boston next year, nor would I expect them to.

By the way, if anyone wants to see my home video of Big Papi’s crushed homer off Myers in the 8th inning that put the game away for Boston, check this link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnieMQ0P4M0

it's probably best for partisans of both sides to leave 'class' out of the discussion, considering that last year, yankees fans wasted no time booing david wells, who'd done plenty for them, too.

i was there. i applauded him the first time up, but i think i was alone in the bleachers in doing so. it's probably not even a worthwhile effort to try to have a rational discussion about something that is in so many ways not rational.

Nick, IIRC, Myers actually wasn't even made an offer, so that would be a pretty big difference. The Sox didn't want him back because Tito didn't think he'd used him enough. Now, we also know in hindsight the Sox didn't really want Damon back either because they wanted a Coco Crisp/Jeremy Reed type, and got him, but that wasn't the perception at the time of the defection.

It was especially aggravating listening to the pundits scream about Boston fans on Around the Horn today, yelling about the Sox' fans low IQ, etc, etc. I would have cheered Johnny if I was there, but everyone seems to forget that more people were angry at Sox management than at Damon at the time of the signing. The popular tide turned against Damon, as far as I can tell, when he persisted for the next three months to rip the Red Sox and their chances without him. What pissed me off wasn't that he left for the Yankees for more money (although I was a little miffed that yet another Red Sox superstar dangled the "Couldn't play for the Yankees" carrot before going to play for the Yankees), it was that he went about it in an arrogant, bitchy way.

It's especially funny to see sports writers from cities with no rivalries even approaching the Sox-Yanks rivalry express bafflement with how Sox fans could have reacted this way. I guess that's those writers' loss.

what rcolonna said.

I wanted to point out that Ip, a Yanks fan and the person who used the term "classlessness" in this thread, applied this to a contingent of Yanks fans, as well as the booers of Damon. In other words, Sox fans who booed are not unique in their classlessness. I don't understand where rcolonna was coming from with his well-articulated comment (ditto with Beth's affirming comment). It's true, but I don't think anyone said anything that contravened it.

I actually have to agree with SF on Myers. He came in to do the job they got him to do. He just didn't do it. That one I can't blame Torre for.

Mo? It's been a long time since Mo can be an effective pitcher in two innings. He ought to be used one inning only and only when he's needed to close out a game. Yeah, yeah, got to get to October and all that, but it does the Yanks no good if Rivera isn't able to do his thing when they get there.

Safe or not safe? Frankly over the course of 162 games some calls go your way and some calls don't. It's the beauty of the game - the whole not quite in your own control element. Maybe the Yanks got screwed on this one. Maybe they didn't. (I don't think they did but that's another story.) To me there are two points worth mentioning:

a) At some point there will be another kid in the stands grabbing a 'home run' ball. Really, I mean come on, do we Yank fans need to be bellyaching about calls that don't go our way?

b) The Bombers lost by 4 runs. Does anyone honestly think having Jeter called safe would have led to a different outcome?

I think the wind was a bigger factor than the umps.

Just a quick confirmation that SF is absolutely correct in his interpretation of the obstruction rule. Getting in a runner's way is perfectly fine if it occurs while making a play. I didn't see the tag, but from your descriptions, it sounds like there was nothing blatant going on, so really a simple call. As for the umpire's judgement, well, umpires are always right.

I think there was only one comment suggesting that Cora was out of bounds in his coverage of second base.
The rest of us Yankee fans feel that the call was bad because Jeter wasn't actually tagged before his hand got around and touched the base.

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