Results tagged ‘ dang yankees ’

4/5/11 Twins at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

My post-school day began in the Fordham Prep Gym as the rain forced practice into the batting cage:
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Here as you can see, our starting catcher is shooting (and missing) a baseball at the basketball hoop.

This was the longest 1-hour practice I have ever been a part of. First, I could not wait to go to my first game of the season. Second, the game happened to be between my two favorite teams. Third, watching hitters in the cage if you are not involved gets monotonous after fifteen minutes much less an hour.

I was so excited you cannot believe. I have been waiting for baseball season since December and had a temporary case of ADHD where I literally could not sit still. I was so happy I was even described as glowing by one person. When I left the Prep at 3:45, I must have ran a seven minute mile to the train. I went through the whole shebang I did last time  with the train.

I am proud to say that I did not show up two hours early for the gate openings. I arrived promptly at:
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I figured that in the playoffs people did not show up until 4:50 because they were there to see the game and only the ballhawks that were there would show up for batting practice.

Well… do you see anyone in front of me?
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No one got there until about 4:45 and I will swear to you that for every 15 minutes that pass at any of the other Yankee Stadium gates, 5 pass at this gate. Even though it was only 40 minutes this time as opposed to 120 it still took FOREVER.

Finally time came to enter and I was just happy to see this:
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I was skeptical that there was going to be Bp and so when I arrived to this:
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 I was ecstatic (well not exactly that considering I am in the picture).

After that picture was taken (I assume), I turned to the photographer and saw it was none other than, Zack Hample. If you do not know the story, I was a Watch With Zack client of his last year (which led to one thing which led to another which led to this blog). He quickly raced over to the left field side of the stadium. Seeing as the right field bleachers were much less crowded than they had been in my playoff game and I have enough trouble catching a ball on my own not competing with Zack, I stayed in right field. Bad move.

There would not be one Home run hit there and a wall of beggars would glue to the wall in the front row of the section. This would have gone pretty well had a ball gone into the seats but as I said, it didn’t happen. I then jogged to left field as the Twins did the same.

As the Pitchers warmed up I managed to wrongly judge that a ball was going to: go over my head, fall short, be right at me, not hit the top of the wall, not bounce back all the way to the field, was going to deflect off of a fan trying to catch the ball. Some of those more than one time. Had I played all correctly (or had ridiculous luck like last season) I would have had my all time record.

Then there were the pitchers. I camped behind the long toss partnership of Capps and Nathan. I was 99.9% sure that if Nathan ended up with the ball I would be able to coax it out of him because, as I put it to Nathan, ” Joe, could you give me the ball, please?Who else in the Stadium is wearing you jersey?”
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Unfortunately, even the depleted sea of “Here”s drowned out my request and the ball went to not even a Twins’ fan on the outfield side of him.

I then went down the line. 1 pairs. 2 pairs. Nothing. The Twins seemed like they didn’t even care about road fans. There must have been a dozen Twins fans but less than half of the balls went to Twins fans.

Now onto my fourth pair, I was wondering if Carl Pavano would even throw his ball into the stands considering how his experience in New York went. I was as usual trying to get in his line of view so he would see the Twins hat and shirt.

 
I did… sort of. He threw it to a kid directly into front of me. He under threw it and it hit the wall and bounce back to him. He then tried again and overthrew the kid. Since I was right behind him I picked it up for ball #1 on the day. I then felt bad for the kid and gave him the ball.
 
I figured this would get me brownie points with Pavano anyway but the law firm of Pavano, Slowey and Perkins:
 
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randomly tossed balls into the crowd, sometimes without even looking.
 
Had Slowey actually looked where he was throwing I would have had another ball because I am almost sure that I was the only one who could give him a line about his offseason blog.
 
Though, my time was limited in left field because of guards that kick everyone without a ticket in left field that stayed longer than they normally do and so I was limited to being in foul ground.
 
By that time, the Twins took five more minutes of BP and finished. So I ran to behind the dugout to try and get one of the remaining baseballs, and failed. There I ran in again to Zack and had a guard take this picture:
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He wanted to get some water and not walk through the seats. I thought that as an expert he had a way of getting past security and back into left field but turns out he had a ticket (he was really sorry but it was my fault for not speaking up about that). So, I was now out of left field and had to try my options elsewhere.
 
Here is my view from the right field bleachers:
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and here I am getting the ever famous two syllable bleacher chant for wearing a Twins hat and shirt. ( I put the sweater on before I took the picture:

 
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This was not going well for me: I misplayed however many balls, couldn’t stay in left field, my camera screen broke so I couldn’t see what I was taking a picture of, and now the ___hole chant.

I didn’t want to stay there any longer because of the aformentioned chant and the fffffreeezing temperatures. So,  wandered around the Stadium to get warmer, hope a security guard was taking a break, and get a better view:

Better View 4511

In the third inning, I gave up trying to find an open spot in security decided it was boring and went up to the second level. Not three sections from the stairs I saw an open, unguarded aisle. I went down to take a seat and this was my view:

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Prime Foul ball snagging territory.

 

As I was walking down the stairs and taking that picture. A foul ball zoomed back just a stair case to my left:

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If it helps, the ball landed where the soda vendor is standing in the picture. I quickly got my glove on but was blocked by fans in their seat.

 

Throughout the game, I moved further to the right as I thought it was an akward angle where I was currently sitting but three foul balls went to the Foot Locker sign in the previous picture and none were sliced within three sections of me.

 

The game went well as I root for the Twins in Yankees-Twins games (the Yankees beat them too much) and the Twins loaded the bases and Delmon Young hit a double to empty the bases and send the game into extra innings where the Twins won it on a single with runners on first and third.

 

STATS:

 

  • 1 Ball at this game(no picture because I gave it away)

 

  • 1.0 Balls per game

 

  • 26 Straight games with at least 1 ball

 

  • 4 games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball

 

Oh, and sorry this entry took too long but MlBlogs was having weirdness and I couldn’t upload pictures.

Survey of Adults’ Perception of Baseball

I may have mentioned this is some other entry but here’s the actual layout of the survey:

I wanted to see how the average adult viewed baseball. So, instead of running up and down Fordham Road trying to get the ideas of random adults, I asked my 19 former and current high school teachers (20 if you count the baseball team’s pitching coach). The process went like this:
1. Ask teacher who their favorite baseball player was.
1a. If yes, why this was their favorite player
2. If no, what they would like to see in athletes as role models.
3. Wait a few weeks and then follow up with them if they gave me a name for the first question.
4. Asking who their favorite player was outside of New York.
5. Again, asking why.
The purpose of asking them their favorite player instead of outright asking what they think of the game is to see how well their ideals (or lack there of due to them compartmentalizing) matched up with what they think of the game. This is most evident in why they picked a certain player over another. Oh, and keep in mind that I am doing this in a private school in the Bronx so the results will be how adults view baseball in New York.
The Results:
5 Do not follow baseball
93% of favorite players were of New York teams (shocker) leading me to make step 4 (the one teacher that mentioned a non-New York player was a coin flip away from picking David Wright)
10 of those had a favorite player on the Yankees
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5 of those had a favorite player on the Mets
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The Players chosen for question 1:
Derek Jeter 6
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David Wright 2
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Jose Reyes 2
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Mariano Rivera 2
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Jorge Posada 2
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Andy Pettitte  2
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Robinson Cano 1
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R.A. Dickey 1
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Tim Lincecum 1
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 But like I said above, this study isn’t about the players themselves but how the teachers view the game. Let’s start with the teachers who don’t follow baseball:
This was by far the most varied bunch that I can categorized. With five different people there were five different answers, connecting occasionally but still, varied.
3 were about attitude
2 were about integrity
Because they were all different I will sum them all up (this is again, what they would like to see in athletes).
  1. This teacher actually watched as a kid but stopped in the 90’s because of the McGwire and Sosa steroids issue. His answer was: he would like to see more integrity in the game, less money, and more teams made up of non-superstars.
  2. I actually never asked him question 1 because he mentioned in a class that he didn’t watch sports. His answer was: An athlete should be gracious in both defeat and success. He repeated the same concept in different forms trying to get it just right. I have a feeling about what he meant. He was trying to get at that an athlete should not cry in defeat nor should he dance in victory. He should have grace no matter what the outcome. For example, if he loses, he should just walk off the field, comfort other teammates, and start preparing for the next game (professionally).
  3. He just thinks that professional athletes are a spoiled bunch. (Can anyone argue that this isn’t true in New York?) His answer was: he wanted to see less athletes living the fast life (he gave the example of Derek Jeter but I hope he meant it in terms of attitude because has anyone seen his mansion:
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Over 5,000 square feet). He wanted athletes to be down to earth and to play hard and work hard.
4.     He simply doesn’t follow baseball, no special story. He wanted to see more well behaved and humble baseball players.
5.    The last again did not have any special story and simply did not want to see PEDs in baseball.
I think that there is a relationship between the fact that these people don’t watch baseball and their opinions are so varied. I think that it is because baseball is so big in the country that morals are shaped by it.
The people who gave me a name were far more uniform. Probably because most of these centered primarily on one player and one team.
The top five characteristics listed are:
  1. The player tries his best 7
  2. The player is a good teammate 6
  3. The player is a good role model 5
  4. The player is a leader 5
  5. The player is a hard worker 4
Remind you of anyone? This is mostly why I think that for those who watch it, baseball shapes the person more than the other way around.
Because I was getting so many Jeter and Yankee responses, I thought I should add another question to get a truer response. I wanted to see if their beliefs for why they picked the first player held up for the second one or if they had picked the first one by his play and created a list of his positive attributes to justify it to themselves (sorry to the teachers but a lot of people do this).
Obviously I did not follow up with those who don’t watch baseball but the results were:
43% were players who played in this past World Series (counting the Lincecum fan from question 1)
36% were players from the rival of their favorite team because they had respect for what that player can do.
29% of teachers were completely stumped. Taking over 3 minutes to answer the question because they had never thought about it before.
There were three teachers that picked Albert Pujols. I think it might have been that he is the best player in baseball.
The remaining teacher picked Jeff Francouer because he used to be on the teacher’s favorite team, the Mets, and threw him a ball during bp (I have much to teach that one).
The players for step 4:
Tim Lincecum 3
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Albert Pujols 3
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Cliff Lee 1
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Buster Posey 1
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Jeff Francoeur 1
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Ryan Howard 1
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David Ortiz 1
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Josh Hamilton 1
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Carl Crawford 1
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Roy Halladay 1
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Dustin Pedroia 1
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and if you can’t believe that no one picked a certain bearded World Series hero. Well, neither can he:
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The top five characteristics for this group were:
1. The player is very talented ( it could have been worded differently like: “He is a five tool player” but the gist of the teacher’s reasoning was talent) 7
2. The player is a professional 3
3. The player is a teammate 3
4. The player is determined/persistent 3
5. The player is a family man 3
Now, there are two similarities between the two lists but the major difference shows in that the #1 attribute by far for the non-New York players was the player’s talent. This is because when a player is from your favorite/local team you are more apt to chose him as a favorite player. When the player is not on your local team, you differentiate based on the actual attributes you value in a player. The reason for the overlap of the two categories is because when amongst your local team, you find a player who fits your attributes you are more likely to see him as your favorite.
Of course, this is just my opinion of the numbers. The beauty in statistics is that as empirical and objective as the numbers themselves may be. The interpretation of those numbers is entirely subjective.
*No teacher’s names were mentioned in the process of making this blog. Any physical or emotional damage is done at the risk of the teacher for reading this entry and Observing Baseball and all of its employees cannot be held accountable for any lowering of self-esteem that occurred from this entry. However, any praise for his entry is freely accepted at fischerm@fordhamprep.org

New York Yankees Offseason Recap and Preview

Another year, another playoff. The only time the Yankees have missed the playoffs in my life time was in 2008 and they were closing a historic stadium:

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I mean even Manny has to accept the simple truth that the Yankees will always be at least good:
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Grade: C-
Notable Additions:
 
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Raphael Soriano, Russell Martin, Pedro Fecliciano, and Freddy Garcia.
Notable Subtractions:
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Andy Pettitte, Javier Vasquez, Austin Kearns, Chad Gaudin, Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman Marcus Thames, and Dustin Moseley.
Why?:   Another season of the Bronx is burning? I must have had at least half a dozen people ask me “Do you think the Yankees are making the playoffs this year?” My answer, I ‘m not sure. It isn’t because the Yankees aren’t a playoff caliber team but I see the Red Sox beating them for the division. As for the wild card, there are 3 really good teams in the AL Central, 3 great line-ups, and 3 solid pitching staffs. I don’t see this division as a purely “win it and in it” division. The wild card race will be competitive this year because there are three teams that will keep the pace up all year.
However, let me get something straight. The Yankees are not a horrible team all of a sudden because of the losses they took. Yankee fans see eight names in the “Notable Subtractions” section I see mid summer pick ups and easily replaceable players (except Pettitte) but losing Pettitte will not destroy this team. I will remind people that this team won NINETY FIVE games last year. I know they lost Pettitte but they didn’t have him for half of last year and he is not worth ten games in and of himself.

As far as the other players lost go. Most were the product of mid season trades anyway. Meaning, the Yankees were not afraid to lose them. The Yankees will almost always have mid season acquisitions because they will almost always be in the hunt (how they always have trade pieces is another issue).

Predicted Record Range: 87-92 wins They will slow up a little. Maybe I’m just a spoiled Yankee fan but I think they will indeed contend once more. Another thing to take into account is the impact Jesus Montero will have on the line-up which I cannot account for.

To parents: recaps of our last two games will be up tomorrow. To everyone else: the study I mentioned in some entry I can’t remember about adults’ perception of baseball will be up before next Sunday.

Minnesota Twins Offseason Recap and Preview

As a Yankee fan they are a gift (up to this point) because of their record both in and after the season, which is somewhere between .200 and .300 in the 21st century. As an appreciator of cost efficiency, there playoff results absolutely kill me:

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Grade: D-
Notable Additions:
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Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Subtractions:

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Matt Guerrier, Ron Mahay, Jesse Crain, J.J. Hardy, Brain Fuentes, Joe Crede, Orlando Hudson, Nick Punto, and Jon Rauch.
Why?: They lost what could be a bullpen in itself this Offseason in addition to what could be an infield on its own. Now I am aware of the fact that they have replacements for most of those positions and should at least come close to last year’s success. So they should have a higher grade… if the grade were for the state of the team, but it aint, it’s for what the Twins did in the Offseason which was get an infielder and lose all that listed above.

Now by talking with other baseball fans I realize that many just wondered “What? How are the Twins going to even come close to last year’s success when they lost that much talent?” First, Joe Nathan was the second best closer in baseball since he became a closer after his trade from San Francisco (still one of the worst trades in MLB history even after the hype died down). Do you not think that would make up for at least two of the reliever’s departures (Pat Neshek making up for one other)? Second, had Justin Morneau finished the season like he started, .345 AVG 36 HR 120 RBI. Now I realize this would have been pretty unlikely but that would have at least put him in the MVP discussion if not won it for him and he is typically a second half guy. Thirdly, the Twins always outplay their expectations. For example, SI predicted them to finish in last place in 2008 after they lost Johan, and Torii. What did they do? Only tied for the lead in the division and eventually lose their playoff spot to the White Sox in a one game playoff:

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I realize that there are a lot of “if”s in there but we must not forget that they did win 95 games without two of the faces of the franchise. I also remind people that they have made it to the playoffs more than anyone besides the Yankees since 2002 (they’re tied with the Angels).
Again, most of the fate of the team seemingly rests on how the injured players rebound but with the Twins they are coached in such a manner that whenever someone is injured there is always a person that steps up right behind him and temporarily. Though, if Morneau does comeback to full strength it will be the final piece that puts them over the top in the playoffs because of not only the statistical aspect he adds to the team but the protection he provides in the lineup to Joe Mauer. Also, I am not sure if it is over-looked by the common fan or not but if anyone was paying attention there was a party in support of Delmon Young as AL MVP at the end of the year.
Predicted Record Range: 91-96 this is assuming 2 out of the three injured Twins get back to true from by the all star break but if only one does then you can shift this scale down a few games.
Next Up: Chicago White Sox
I don’t know if any of you noticed but mine is the featured blog on the Mlblogs home page. So I would like to take this line to thank whoever was responsible for making that happen.
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