Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

New York Yankees 2012 Offseason Recap and Preview

The Yankees season was really a culmination of surprise seasons from players. Including, but not limited to, the guys in this next picture:

Grade: B

Notable Additions:

Michael Pineda, Russell Branyan, Bill Hall, Hiroki Kuroda, Hideki Okajima, and Dewayne Wise.

Notable Subtractions:

Jesus Montero, Andrew Brackman, Bartolo Colon, Hector Noesi, Jorge Posada, and Scott Proctor.

 

Why?: Ok, I know that everyone wants to know how the Yankees and Mariners could possibly both end up being better. I *do* think that the Mariners got the better talent. However, I think the Yankees did what was best for the team. The Yankees have long been an offensive powerhouse, but they needed cheap pitching. The Yankees may have been able to effectively use Montero, but what we know they needed is to get more pitchers in their rotation. That is what all the Yankees fans were complaining about. I realize that being a GM is mostly about winning and not pleasing people, but when you operate your own network like the Yankees do, it has an elelment of pleasing the crowd to it, because hype surrounding the team going into a season boosts the rating early on in the year.

 

While this may be a short-term benefit, there is also a long-term one to this trade. As you may or may not have heard, the Yankees are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold within the next two years, as MLB is hiking up the penalties for being over it. The goal being to try and save about $100 million over the three years after that with the raised penalties. Pineda satisfies this goal, because he will cost about $7 million a year for what appears to be a number 2 starter. Starting Pitching usually cost more on the open market than hitting. So the Yankees will be both trading a surplus category for a stregnthening of a weakness and will be getting a pitcher for less than a pitcher of his talent would have cost on the open market. So if they had to sacrifice some talent and take on some risk, so be it. This is my take on it, anyway.

 

As for the other players, I really don’t feel much like analyzing EVERY one of the players added and subtracted. I mean like “Hiroki Kuroda is better than Bartolo Colon, but is he given the fact that Scott Proctor went to Japan?” Yeah, that stuff, I don’t see as that important when looking at the Yankees’ offseason this year. I just looked at the aggragates and thought it seemed like they a B/B+ job this offseason. The aformentioned, Montero, Pineda trade seemed like a C+/B- trade so I averaged.

 

Predicted Record Range: 94-99 wins Yeah they did win 100 games last season, but I also think that a bunch of players over performed what they usually do and the Yankees will come back to earth this year.

 

Next Up:

Re-view of the Preview: New York Yankees

First of all, here, is the link to the initial entry for all of your viewing pleasure.

 

Predicted record: 87-92 wins

 

Actual Record: 97- 65

 

I know it does look like I got them wrong, but if you read the actual entry, you will see that NO ONE had the Yankees close to what my prediction was. I am not exaggerating when I say that New York sports fans hyperbolize -*EVERYTHING!!!*- (sorry, couldn’t resist using that joke). Seriously, though, I heard people speculating they would be in third or fourth place in the division. It was to the Yankees’ credit, though that they resisted the temptation to make their usual Mega-star signing of the offseason and opting to sign Rafael Soriano instead, which I still don’t understand. Instead they went a more Ray-esque route of signing undervalued place holders and winning through their ab-par performance. As in, who could have expected both Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to be viable starting options for the highest payroll in baseball.

 

My main point in the enty was to point out that the Yankees weren’t going down the tube, but instead, the Yankees were going to maintain their same general level of play and have a chance at making the playoffs in September. In this respect, I was right in the spirit of  my words. In the extent to which they accomplished this I was a bit off.

 

On more thing I would just like to explain about the Yankees is that their high payroll does not mean that their Front Office is dumb and a s a result inefficient. The reason that they spend so much and don’t ever try and be patient and make smarter signings is that the Yankees always have the money to spend a lot in the offseason, and, unlike almost any other team, there is a pressure to win Every. Single. Year. So, because of the the overreactive tenency of Yankee fans, the Yankees must spend every year and not back off for a year or two and be smarter about how they use their money.

 

Overall, I was a bit off on the Yankees, but I was a lot closer to the reality than the public perception was.

10/1/11 ALDS Tigers at Yankees: Yankee Stadium

When the Yankees playoff game was postponed from Friday to Saturday, a lot of people were upset because they had different plans on Saturday. Since the Yankees and MLB have protection against this liability, those people had no chocie but to sell their tickets on StubHub or other ticket broker sites. I didn’t know if I would be able to make it to this game because of other plans and wouldn’t have been able to afford the tickets at the last minute had the date switch taken place.

When I found out I was available, I bought tickets on StubHub and arrived on the scene some few short hours after that. It was drizzling outside. So I was pretty surprised when I arrived in the stadium and the Yankees were taking batting practice. The Yankees have a LOT of reasons to be disliked by ballhawks (notice my last Yankee game was in April) but they are not quick at all to put the tarp on because of the quality of the field (it drains better than most fields).

It was not a very exciting batting practice as neither team hit many balls into the crowd. I started out in Right Field but decided to go to Left Field. There, I had some close calls.

1. I was usually in the railing gap about ten feet from the field and closest to Center Field in the Left Field stands (I don’t say bleachers at Yankee Stadium because there really are bleachers behind the Left Field stands), and a ball went to my left. I chased after it and was behind two other people who were contesting for the ball as well. They knocked each other down and the person to my left’s presence didn’t allow me to go after the ball rolling down their row. For the record, the guys were fine with the fact that they lost each other the ball but neither was given the ball as a prize for their effort. I personally would have given one of them the ball despite the fact that they were grown men.

2. I almost convinced Joaquin Benoit to throw me his warm-up ball but as he looked at me, he saw the kid next to me was more “worthy” and tossed it to him. The exact thing that happened was that I started yelling out his name (that’s what it takes just to get heard at Yankee Stadium) and when he looked at me, I asked him for the ball in Spanish. When he threw it to the kid next to me, I thought that he wasn’t actually Hispanic and I’d just dissed him by asking for the ball in Spanish because neither Joaquin nor Benoit are exclusive Hispanic names. I later checked and saw he was from the Dominican Republic so I assume the first explanation in the paragraph is what happened. I would also now like to point out that somewhere  in the process of getting my Tigers gear on, I lost the Tigers roster itself, so this is why I didn’t get any balls from the other pitchers because it relied on them just seeing me in my Tigers stuff.

3. A Tigers coach was going along the wall and picking up all of the balls and fungoeing them into the infield. One fan asked him if he could have one of the balls for his daughter and the coach didn’t respond ( because there were so many balls and he was probably going to give them one of the latter he picked up). So in New York fashion, the father started calling the coach a bum. I then asked the coach if he could: “toss a ball up for a Tigers fan.” He then responded by saying that I could thank the father for him not throwing the ball up to me. Had I been the first to ask, I am almost certain I would have ended up with the ball because there were just too many balls for him not to throw a few into the crowd. And yes, I was breifly considering using the glove trick on these balls.

Throughout all of bp there was rain coming down consistently.The Tigers finally ran off the field with about 40 minutes of bp left. I then focused all of my attention on a throwing pair down the line (don’t know for sure who they were because again I didn’t have my roster). I couldn’t identify the guy in the outfield so I just relied on my Tigers gear and started waving like a madman. I was like five feet from the back of the crowd on edge of the field and lined myself right up with his line of view so he could clearly see me. When he finished throwing, he kept his eyes on me and lobbed me the ball perfectly over the sea of people running after the ball because they thought they had been overthrown. I then caught it and waved/mouthed an emphatic “Thank You” from sixty feet out.

Then came the part that bothers me. I went back into the covered seats with the rest of the people hiding from the rain and was sitting there for at least 1/2 an hour to see if batting practice would resume. Then out of nowhere an usher came down to the seats and asked to see my ticket. I wasn’t doing anything but sitting there. I then told him that I didn’t have a ticket and he chuckled like he already knew the fact (I didn’t care that I was kicked out because I was going to go to the bleachers anyway because I was going with a guest). I then left and looked back. From what I could see, he only came down to check my ticket and go back up.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid but I think the Yankees have people constantly on cameras surveilling the seat to make sure that no one is in their precious field level seats that isn’t supposed to be there. If so, it is really over the top because I was not doing anything to disturb people, nor was I going to try. I grew up a Yankee fan and still root for the team, but geez, they are making it *really* difficult to keep rooting for them when the organization goes all OCD in security. The Yankees are the only MLB team that I know of that hires Securitas people to even be ushers. I know of some teams that hire out of office for some positions, but with the Yankees, they run the whole shebang. This was the only damper on the otherwise great night.

 

The original starters had been CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, but because they began already and THEN postponed the game, Ivan Nova and Doug Fister replaced them. Even though I would have liked to see Verlander, Nova did a job that CC Sabathia would have gotten a curtain call for.  The game was really cold for me because I had been in the rain and all my clothes were soaked and also the bleachers were soaked. This did make it a little less enjoyable game for me, but I was glad overall that I went. The last time I saw these two teams play was in the ALDS in 2006 some rookie pitcher that had won 17 games, named Verlander outdueled Mike Mussina to even out the series at 1 apiece. This game was really unenjoyable because, besides the fact that I was a much bigger Yankee fan and they lost, this game had also been rained out. In the rain out part, my dad and I were in the bleachers (for those who don’t know, the bleachers in the outfield at the old stadium were like an island isolated from the rest of the stadium and the concourse built on the inside of said island) and went down the tunnel to the concourse. Since it was raining, everyone else was also inside the tunnel and it was hot and humid on the concourse. Also, some people had started drinking even before the game had begun and one of those people was behind me. He didn’t act out or anything so how did I know he was drunk? All of a sudden, I felt a warm luquid on the achilles tendon of my right leg. He had just barfed all over the floor and my shoe. We then found out that game was postponed to a later day a few seconds after that. There is a bright side to this story, though. The game gave me a really good excuse to leave school early.

Anyway, I was happy with my one ball from a player that I later (semi) identified as Max Scherzer.

 

My next entry will probably be a recap of my first full season as a ballhawk.

4/26/11 White Sox at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

Let’s just say that I won’t be in the mood for Yankee games for a while. First, there were three people in line at 4:50 for a playoff game last year. This was the line at 4:45 for the center field gate:

Line 4/26/11.JPG

I
really don’t get how that can happen. That wasn’t that bad as most of
them didn’t go to the outfield for batting practice anyway (why do you
show up this early then?) Then when I optimistically entered the stadium
for a day of working on fly balls:
field as entering 42611.JPG 

Well actually that looks kind of nice but when you look further up as one does on Home Runs:
Sun 42611.JPG 

you’re
lucky if your eyes come back down with both retinas still fully
functioning. This made it nearly impossible for a skilled ballhawk to
catch a ball on the fly (without sunglasses) much less my unskilled
self. I lost three potential balls from this sun as I “had” to let them
drop and hope they stayed in place so I would be able to pick them up.

As
for toss-ups, normally Yankee player toss-ups are *very* (relatively
speaking) hard to come by as a wall of “here”s blasts as soon as the
player comes close to the ball but today it was just one fan. One kid
who seemed like a semi-regular by how the players recognized him, got
well over 50% of the toss-ups that went into the seats while I was
there.

Finally, Curtis Granderson stepped in and hit a fly ball
to my right. I ran to the direction it was hit in, descended two rows
after I saw it touch base and beat out aforementioned “kid” to find it
tucked between the pads of the seat for Ball #1 on the day.

I wanted to stayed a bit as Rafael Soriano went into the bullpen to try and get a toss-up from the ball left in the bullpen:
bullpen 42611.JPG
but as I had no spot at a rail gap in right field because of Ben Weil and Tony Bracco,
and there was a mostly righty group of Yankees coming up, I made my way
over to left field. Absoltuamently nothing. Two Home Runs and for some
reason the White Sox didn’t throw any of their warm-up balls into the stands. Had there been any I wouldn’t been able to move that much because when I got there the rail gaps in left-center had already been taken.

As the groups passed, more and more lefties came up to the plate. So when lefties came up, I went to both see how Jake Peavy was rehabing:
Jake Peavy 42611.JPG

And at the same time waited for him to end and get a ball from Pitching Coach, Don Cooper:
Don Cooper 42611.JPG
as he was sitting on a bag of about twenty baseballs.

As I looked up to see the time to get an idea of when security would come and try to kick me out, I saw this:
Ben rail gap 42611.JPG

How did Ben get in the rail gap that I had just seen occupied by a family of three? It was just that type of day. I could not catch a break.

Would I be able to escape the ticket checkers? Let me show you how in three easy steps:
1. Spot the guards coming from your left:
guards on left 42611.JPG

Guard #1 behind the two fans in the row furthest left, Guard #2 in the blue coming through the middle row, and Guard #3 checking the White Sox fan’s ticket towards the right. Whoa, they had never sent more than two guards to check tickets before.

2. Escape to your… wait no there’s a guard to right:
Guard right 42611.JPG

When I first developed a strategy to get past the ticket checkers only one guard came from your left and so you would be able to keep moving to your right until his sections of responsibility ended and go back to left field for the rest of bp.

3. Hope the guard to your right stops at a certain section

When they installed the second guard, they hoped he would make people just resign themselves to one side or the other and the guard stopped at a certain section and let the guys coming from left field get the people left in between them. This is the window where you would be able to just keep going left and out wait the guards but this security kept advancing until he met up with the left field guards. The result:

4. Get your ticket checked and be forced to leave.

Frus-tra-ting because of my false start to foul ground I wasn’t even allowed to go back and ask the other ballhawks if they could collaborate in getting me back into the field level seats. I tried going through the tunnel and asking them but apparently i wasn’t even allowed to stand in the tunnel leading to the section unless I had a ticket for that section.

5. Take a picture on the outside looking in:
outside looking in 42611.JPG

6. Wander Stadium looking for a lazy guard until the game starts.

Did not work. The Yankees have guards at every seat entrance (except for on the fourth level) well before the first pitch because they figure that if they charge so much for tickets than a person not sitting in their assigned tickets cost them that much more. Let’s do some math shall we? 137 entrances to the seats that have security guards (can we call it 140 for the sake of math) +1 supervisor for every ten openings+ 8 ticket checkers= 162 security guards for two hours before the game starts* even $6 per hour=$1,944 every game spent on security and I’m sure they make noticeably more than $6 per hour. That’s just the time from when the gates open until when the game begins.

7. Go back to your paid seat 5,000 feet from home plate:

Thumbnail image for 5 leagues away from the plate 42611.JPG

I would have wandered for the rest of the game but I had a guest to entertain all the way up there (I would introduce you but the picture I took was awful).

After the fifth inning I got incredibly bored and frustrated that I was all the way in section 432a. So, I asked the invited if he had ever been to the Yankee museum. He didn’t even know they had one.

Some of the things I saw:

1. World Series Ring:
WS Ring 2009 42611.JPG

2. The whole room centers on a display of Don Larsen’s last pitch from his perfect game. There is Yogi Berra:
Yogi 42611.JPG
Don Larsen:
Don 42611.JPG
and in between the two is a display case which is shaped on the top by the vertical curvature of Larsen’s last pitch. This case contains baseballs from many (maybe all but probably not) of the Yankee’s past and current players:
case side 42611.JPG
(this picture is from the Yogi Berra side so I was actually kneeling as I took this.)

They have autographs from players as far back as:
27th out 42611.JPG

and me with there most recent World Series trophy:
WS trophy 42611.JPG
Only in their museum did I wear a Yankee hat out of common courtesy but as you can tell by my face I was not too happy at the organization as a whole at this particular moment.

As we walked out of the museum, we immediately came upon then seats near the right field foul pole. I was scoping the area for lazy guards and what do you know, the first opening to the seats was security free. I pointed it out to my guest and we made quickly to our new seats.

A better view, wouldn’t you say:
this is better 42611.JPG

Though I wish I were in left field for the game as this was how empty it was:
I wish I were there 42611.JPG
When I pointed this out my guest called me whiner. I suppose this is true but with the Yankees it is actually deserved. The reason me wanting to be left field remains relevant three days after the fact is because Paul Konerko hit the game winning Home Run two sections from where I would have been sitting. There is actually a good story on what happened to this ball written by Tony Bracco.

That was it for me only one ball. By the way, I apologize for the lateness but Mlblogs has been acting up with the pictures again so I have had to work around those problems.

Stats:

  • 1 friggin ball at this game (#80)

Ball 42611.JPG

  • 19 balls in 8 games= 2.37 balls per game (Bleh)
  • 33 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 7 games straight with at least on ball at Yankee Stadium
  • 1 ball* 40,785 fans= 40,785 competition factor
  • Time at Game 4:45- 10:22= 5 Hours and 37 Minutes

Not sure when my next game will be this weekend all depends on how Fordham does in a tournament.

4/17/11 Rangers at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

Ah Sunday Night Baseball. The lights, the people, and the only game going on at that time. The ballhawk’s nightmare. First, there is the normal weekend crowd. Then, there is the Sunday Night Baseball crowd. Then, there’s the fact it is a Yankee game.

So a ballhawk like myself would have to get there extra early right? Well, I didn’t. I set myself up to get to the ballpark at 5:30 but because of the MTA’s modified 1 train schedule on weekends which has it not working from my station to the stop before Yankee Stadium. In a nutshell, I got to the ballpark at 6:24, my ticket blew away into the street as I was told to take out my phone. Not a good day to that point.

Sorry for the lack of pictures during BP itself but I was in a frenzy trying to get a ball considering all the previously mention factors but I did manage to get a picture as I entered:
its grandness 41711.JPG

That managed to calm me down some but don’t let it fool you, the left field stands were absolutely crammed considering how big they are. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. There were more competent people than I expected. In Citi Field on the weekends it is actually easier to snag baseballs because everyone crams in the front row and there are no ballhawks to be found. Here, you had Zack Hample, two other people who looked like they knew what they were doing and a whole mess of roadblocks in the guise of fans.

From this, it is no surprise that my first ball was thrown. Seeing little hope for Home Run snags, I headed over to foul ground to get a ball from the pitchers warming up. I initially lined up behind Neftali Feliz because of the Spanish factor but moved onto new pairs as the former pairs didn’t throw me a ball.

Finally, Mark Lowe saw my Ranger’s gear and tossed me his warm-up ball for Ball #1 on the day. I was relieved. It seemd like the perfect set of circumstances to get shutout.

I then moved back into fair territory and as this happened a ball came to Neftali Feliz. He threw it back but I managed to get in the words, “la proxima, por favor?” which translates to, “the next one please”. Within five minutes another ball came to him and he lofted it to me for Ball #2 on the day. I was ecstatic. I had just matched my season average in Yankee Stadium on the weekend.

After this, I moved over to pull city in left field expecting security to come down any minute asking for people’s tickets. That’s when a person I identified as Adrian Beltre:
Beltre 41711.JPG

hit a Home Run a section to my left. I got there with plenty of time but from the corner of my eye it looked like someone was camped under the ball. I didn’t want to reach in front of the person so I backed off and prepared for a ricochet. But I then saw the person back off as they seemed to be afraid of the ball. I quickly put out my glove and snow-coned the ball. For those of you just following, this is a big deal because I am HORRENDOUS at tracking fly balls and catching them in the seats.

I moved back to my spot and after a whole five minutes Matt Harrison tossed me a ball for #4 on the day (being the Rangers fan that I am). This was by far my most efficient day snagging five balls in fifty minutes of Bp.
 
That’s right, five. First, I did a manuvering job to not get kicked out by security. Ironically after this message aired on the big screen:
 
 
Oh, Security 41711.JPG
It is under the red arrow and the ironic part says says, “Guests will be treated in a consistent professsional and courteous manner by Yankee Stadium Staff an the Yankees ask for the same in return.” Ha!
 
Then, Bp ended:
Bp ending 41711.JPG
 
I stayed by the Ranger’s bullpen as Alexei Ogando warmed up. As he played catch the bullpen catcher, Josh Frasier, went into the bullpen and tossed the hit balls to the bleacher creatures. After being encouraged, he tossed “one up to a Rangers fan”.
 
 
I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting anything else until gametime So, I took my spot in foul territory and look who showed up right in front of my eyes:

Kruk walking 41711.JPG

Under the red arrow would be ESPN’s John Kruk picking his favorite seat of Yankee Stadium as he will every Sunday Night Baseball.

 

Here he is doing the actual segment:

Best Seat 41711.JPG

The listed attendance was 40, 811 and for once it felt like that. This picture is from before the game and it is still pretty full:

Thumbnail image for attendance 41711.JPG

 

The snagging room was as good as it ever will be because of the brief spurts of rain/lightning.

 

The view to my left:

To the left 41711.JPG

 

The view to my right:

To the right 417111.JPG

Sadly, the only ball that came within 100 ft of me went into the second level just as I thought I had it caught.

 

The game as all I have gone to at Yankee Stadium was indeed exciting. The Yankees won again by scoring a run in the eighth off of Arthur Rhodes.

 

Rangers 5 Yankees 6

As I left, I saw the set atop a parking garage of Baseball Tonight:

BT set 41711.JPG

 

Stats:

  • 5 Balls at this game

Balls 41711.JPG

Numbers 68-72
Sweet Spots 41711.JPG
  • 11 Balls in 4 games so far this season= an average of 2.75 Balls Per Game
  • 29 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 6 straight at Yankee Stadium (just to clarify I only got one ball at the old Yankee Stadium waaay before this blog so Yankee Stadium refers to the new one)
  • Competition Factor 40811 fans* 5 balls= 204,055
  • Time at game 6:24-11:14= 4 hours and 50 minutes

4/14/11 Orioles at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

As I entered the Stadium, I saw this:
Beautiful day 41411.JPG

Great day for great bp right? At first it was.

As soon as I took that picture a security guard said something that I thought was “Hi”. After a round of unsuccessful bp I headed over to left field for the second Yankee group. As I was headed out, the security guard:
Security Guard 41411.JPG

pulled a ball out from behind the upper left seat of this section and handed it to me for #1 on the day.

I then went through a patch where neither Yankee nor Orioles were hitting balls to my part of left field. It was a group made out of all lefties except for one weak hitting righty. Since I wasn’t getting any toss-ups from the Orioles it was a tough bp. I think I probably should have been louder because it seemed like they always just missed my Orioles cap when scanning the crowd. Me not having my Orioles t-shirt didn’t exactly help either.

Then the power group came up. The group consisted of: Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, Caesar Izturis, and either Robert Andino or Adam Jones. This led to plenty of Home Runs to make up for the previous group. Most were out of my reach but several came into my axises of power. A few went over my head yadah, yadah.

Though, two came into my row. The first was hit by Derrek Lee two sections to my right (left if looking from home plate). I ran over and scooped it up as it trickled down back to my row for ball #2 on the day. The second, was hit by Mark Reynolds and actually landed in my row. So, I slid to get it before it rolled into the row in front of me. In the process of sliding I actually ripped the knee of my pants:
ripped pants 41411.JPG

In the process of putting my glove over the ball mid slide, I pushed the ball into the row in front of me where another fan grabbed the ball right before I could have gotten up.

Although the pants were double layered, I can still say I would have been much happier on this specific ball if I had gotten it because I pretty scraped up, not on the slide but on banging my knee on the seat getting up.

I was in no mood to keep running around in the outfield. So seeing as it was the last group of bp, I got a head start on the end portion of bp. Nothing came of that.  There I met up with Zack Hample and another ballhawk I had never met before named, Ben Weil (boys and girls, this is why you wear long pants even when it is warm outside:
Ouch!.JPG
(Can’t you tell a high quality camera picture when you see it. That would be both high quality photography and high quality camera.)

I stayed behind the Yankee dugout before the knee started hurting again and I knew I had to start moving to have it ready for the game (it was about 6:40 at the time). I abruptly left for right field because I knew there were two righties on the mound that day and the Yankees have many switch hitters.

From my spot in right I took time to laugh at those trapped in the bleachers I had been on my last trip to Yankee Stadium:
Bleachers 41411.JPG
Mwhahaha!

This would be my view from right:
Right field View 41411.JPG

The man in right field would be Nick Markakis, who hit a Home Run in the third inning (the link is here. I don’t know if that link takes you to the actual video or to the highlights in general but the specific video is titled “Markakis’ homer puts Orioles on top”). In the video, I am the hooded figure in maroon who goes down the steps while the Home Run is far away and then goes back up the stairs. I got to the right row but unfortunately I was blocked from catching the ball in the air so I waited for the rebound off the fan with no glove but he caught it on the fly.

To give you an idea of how close it came:
Home Run 41411.JPG

The fan that caught the ball was right behind the guy in the picture with a red and blue Yankee hat.

As far as the rest of the game goes, it was pretty good but for some reason the more I go to Yankee Stadium the less I am a fan of the Yankees themselves. Through this game, I was actually more disappointed that the Twins lost in a devastating fashion than the win the Yankees had. I was looking up here all game:
Twins Score 414111.JPG

The Yankees win, though. I had plenty of documentation for.

The catch and throw:
catch and throw SF 41411.JPG

The run scoring/ed:
walk-off 41411.JPG
The celebration:
celebration 41411.JPG
The pie:
Pie 41411.JPG
For those of you who don’t know what just happened, the Yankees won on a walk-off Sacrifice Fly by Nick Swisher (which is nice because from being in right field for the whole game I learned how much he interacts with the fans throughout the course of the game).

After the end Rafael Soriano threw a ball into my part of right field as he left the bullpen:
Rafael Soriano 41411.JPG
I didn’t want to get in front of the person who it was intended for so I let him try and catch it but he missed it completely and so neither of us got it.

Yankees 6 Orioles 5

Stats:

  • 2 Balls at this game

balls 41411.JPG

Which would be #66 and 67 for the young career:
sweet spots 41411.JPG
  • 2.0 Balls Per game
  • 28 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 5 straight games at Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball
  • Competition Factor: 81,034
  • Time at Game: 4:30-10:30 Six hours

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:
Thumbnail image for DSCN1858.JPG

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:
4:30 phone 4511.JPG

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?
empty gate 4511.JPG

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:
Twins vs Yankees 4511.JPG

I was skeptical that there was going to be Bp and so when I arrived to this:
1_wet_ground_04_05_11.JPG
 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?”
DSCN1892.JPG

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:
 
DSCN1863.JPG 
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:
7_mateo_and_zack.jpg
 
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:
Bleacher view 4511JPG
 
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:

 
Thumbnail image for DSCN1866.JPG

 

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:

Foul ball territory 4511 .JPG

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:

Foul ball.JPG

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.

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:

new-york-yankees-miss-playoffs.jpg
I mean even Manny has to accept the simple truth that the Yankees will always be at least good:
manny_shrug.jpg
Grade: C-
Notable Additions:
 
rafael_soriano+.jpg
 
Raphael Soriano, Russell Martin, Pedro Fecliciano, and Freddy Garcia.
Notable Subtractions:
Andy-Pettitte.jpg
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.

Pitching Aces in the Playoffs

When has this ever happened? By my count, (whatever that’s worth) we have eleven potential aces and four of the best pitchers in baseball heading the four different teams.
Texas Rangers
1. Cliff Lee

56686053.jpg-Twenty-one strikeouts without a single walk in Rookie ball is impressive much less the playoffs.
2. Christopher John Wilson

San+Diego+Padres+v+Texas+Rangers+67JNLiPCTXdl.jpg-Now he may not be the most obvious ace but out of his thirty three 2010 starts,  TWELVE were of seven innings or more and two or fewer runs allowed, EIGHTEEN were of six innings and two runs or less.
 
New York Yankees
1. Carsten Charles Sabathia- I watched this guy throw what should have been a no-hitter two years ago in Pittsburgh.

cc-sabathia-7.jpgAs fast as he throws, is how he throws balls that move in every direction that sets him apart.
2. Andy Pettitte

AndyPettitte33.jpg -For a good part of the year, this was the best pitcher on the best team in the Majors.

Philadelphia Phillies
1. Roy Halladay

56585128.jpg-One Postseason start, One postseason no-hitter. It is scary to think what would have happened had he been with the Phillies for the last five years. His sinker, cutter scissor effect rules supreme.
2. Roy Oswalt

Phils.jpg-Is one of the most accurate fastballs in the game supported with an absolutely hittable curve (opponents are hitting just .125 off of it) makes him an ace wherever he is if not the number one pitcher.
3. Cole Hamels-Remember, he was the star of the playoffs just two years ago

cole-hamels.jpgand with the same nasty change and a rejuvenated fastball he is ready to regain that spotlight.

images.jpgSan Francisco Giants
1. Tim Lincecum- Scouts were impressed with the fact a 5’11” kid could hit 100 mph.

t1_lincecum.jpgLincecum showed a curve that was even better. The MLB hitters couldn’t hit him, he then added a change up that could dive to either side of the plate. He won a Cy Young in his first full year in the MLB.

images2.jpgEveryone thought he couldn’t get better, he added a slider and won his second Cy Young.
2. Matt Cain- Is something like 48-0 in games where he is given four runs or more of run support. Of course, the Giant’s offense is not know for that.

sp-cain19_0498804498.jpg3. Jonathan Snachez- Like Wilson, he won’t pitch a shutout every game but who could forget he pitched a No-Hitter last year

504x_sanchez.jpgand could any day with an amazing slider.
4. Madison Bumgarner 

MadisonBumgarner.jpg-He is the reason I pick the Giants for the World Series this year. He had some difficulty in adjusting to the Majors but in his last seven starts he has an ERA of 1.78. If he stays healthy, I predict another Matt Cain waiting in the wings.

Well, I just love this because I prefer pitchers above hitters by a sizable margin. However, this is just my opinion. If anybody has started reading, first thank you, but secondly give your opinion of who is an ace or not and why.

P. S. just to preview I will most likely be going to Yankee Stadium for Game 4 of the ALCS

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