General

It Begins-UPDATED 7:20 PM

MLB has just announced that Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the season! According to Jon Heyman, Braun has agreed to the suspension.

The fact that MLB suspended Braun for 65 games and that Braun is not appealing it is very bad news for A-Rod. Clearly, MLB had some very strong evidence on Braun to be able to suspend him for more than the 50 game standard for first offenders and to do it with him agreeing. It has been widely reported that MLB was cutting deals with players to accept a lesser punishment in return for not appealing suspensions and this confirms that.

So, why is Braun the only suspension announced? Could it be that everyone else is fighting MLB or is it just the process? And if agreeing to the punishment of 65 games is the “reward” for cooperation, what will the penalty be for players who fight MLB?

Stay tuned

UPDATE Here’s a link to MLB’s statement and Braun’s statement. Interesting that MLB “commends” Braun for taking responsibility for his actions. That is clearly a message to other players. Braun’s statement is the standard junk most players say in this situation. I wonder if he will apologize to the sample collector he absolutely trashed in the media last year?

UPDATE- 6:01PM Heyman reported earlier today that A-Rod was facing a major suspension. The Daily News speculated today that Alex was trying to get declared medically ineligible to return to baseball, thereby making himself still eligible to collect his contract even if he was suspended. That suddenly seems a lot more plausible.

UPDATE- 6:08PM As ESPN pointed out, this greatly boosts the credibility of Anthony Bosch. That is not good for A-Rod or any other player linked to Biogenisis.

UPDATE- 6:17PM Buster Olney just said on SportsCenter that by agreeing to the suspension, Braun has given MLB a huge boost. They can now use that as support for any suspension that gets argued in front of an arbitrator. Basically, it makes their arguments much more credible.

UPDATE- 6:20PM TJ Quinn of ESPN tweets that MLB is going after A-Rod for interfering with the investigation as well. He says “they will go after him harder”

UPDATE- 6:55PM  More from Quinn. “Source also tells OTL evidence provided about A-Rod is “far beyond” what Bosch gave them re Braun.” Verducci also said a similar thing on MLB Network about the evidence against A-Rod in comparison to Braun.

UPDATE- 7:15PM Bob Costas had an interesting idea on MLB Network. In the next CBA, the players and owners should put a policy in place that getting caught using PED’s, besides being suspended, makes a player forever ineligible for the All-Star Game, Hall of Fame and any individual awards.

UPDATE- 7:20PM This is not a good day for baseball fans, so how about some humor? Logan Morrison just told reporters, “You know we’re clean. We haven’t scored a run in 37 innings.”  That’s a good line.

Prayers For Boston

I lived right in Boston for 10 years and some of my fondest memories are of Patriots’ Day. It is simply a great sports day and while I certainly didn’t root on the Red Sox, I always tried to get to the marathon course to cheer on the runners. For a number of years I worked right in Copley Square, so I would walk right across to Boylston and up a few blocks to see the runners finishing. Today that very place is the scene of terrible carnage and tragedy.

In the days ahead we will find out just how many people have died and been injured as a result of this craven attack. Whatever the final tally, it is too many and it feels futile to offer my meager  condolences and prayers to those who have lost so much. But, I also remember that in the aftermath of 9/11 how much it meant to me when people expressed their support for New York so I hope that in some small way this helps.

Boston, we are with you. Our thoughts, our prayers, our hopes and our condolences go out to you tonight.

The Crystal Ball

A quick break from vacation to get my picks in before the season starts in a few hours. As always, follow these at your own risk.

AL EAST

1- Tampa

2- Toronto

3- Yankees

4- Red Sox

5- Baltimore

To me Tampa is a great team people seem to forget about. Their pitching is great and I think Myers will provided them with the big stick they need when they call him up at the end of April. I love Toronto’s offseason, but not enough to put them on top. I get the bandwagon that thinks the Yankees finish in last, but I don’t see it. Sure they are old and injured, but they can pitch and that should keep them out of the basement. Plus, lets not forget how truly bad Boston was last year, why should we expect them to climb over New York? I say the Yankees finish third with 85 wins and miss the playoffs. The surprise is probably the Baltimore pick, but I think their luck in one-run games runs out and they certainly won’t surprise anyone this year.

AL CENTRAL

1- Detroit

2- Chicago

3- Kansas City

4- Minnesota

5- Cleveland

Detroit is the class of this division.

AL WEST

1- Angels

2- Oakland

3- Texas

4- Seattle

5- Houston

I think the Angels run away with it, but Oakland and Texas are the wild cards. That is in part do to how epically bad Houston will be. I would guess 110 losses for them.

NL EAST

1- Washington

2- Atlanta

3- Philadelphia

4- Florida

5- Mets

Hard to see anyone catching the Nats this year, but Atlanta will give them a run.

NL CENTRAL

1- Cincinnati

2- Pittsburgh

3- St. Louis

4- Milwaukee

5- Chicago

Now that Houston is gone, this might be the most competitive division in baseball. I think the Reds hold off a surprising Pirates club.

NL WEST

1- Giants

2- Dodgers

3- Arizona

4- Colorado

5- San Diego

The Dodgers may be the fashionable pick, but I will take the winners of two of the last three titles.

AL PLAYOFFS

Texas over Oakland in the wild card

Detroit over Tampa
Angles over Texas

Angels over Detroit

NL Playoffs

Atlanta over LA in the wild card

Nats over Atlanta
Cincinnati over San Fran
Nats over Cincinnati

WORLD SERIES

Nats over Angels- at least something works in D.C.

Finally a toast to the two greatest words in the English language- PLAY BALL. I can’t wait to hear them tomorrow afternoon.

World Brawl Classic?

Did you catch the brawl in the Mexico-Canada game yesterday? It was quite a scrum with lots of punches and tackles, but amazingly no suspensions. I understand why MLB doesn’t want to suspend players from this event, but it sets a very tricky precedent the next time the benches clear in a real baseball game.

The bigger problem is why the benches cleared. They cleared because a Canadian player laid down a bunt in the 9th inning of a game his team was winning 9-3. Why did he do that? Because the tiebreaker in the WBC is run differential. Canada had been creamed by Italy the day before (they actually got mercy ruled) so it was reasonable for them to want to score as many runs as possible. It was also reasonable for Mexico to get a bit upset watching a guy drop a bunt down in that situation. The question is, what does MLB do about it?

Changing the format of the WBC would be a start. Since the games are played in March, why can’t they have some sort of tiebreaker for a playoff spot? Or, get creative and add a home run derby for the spot or something like that. Whatever they do, hopefully MLB thinks of something to avoid this situation the next time the WBC is held.

A Little Site Business

Hey Readers, we just wanted to make you aware of some new and updated features here at YankeesRedsox.com

First and foremost, our RSS feed has changed. It is now feed://yankeesredsox.com/feed/ so please update your web readers.

Next, you now have the option to be notified of follow-up comments via email. So, if you comment on a post and you check that box, the site will automatically email you when a new comment is left. Please be assured that we do absolutely nothing with your email addresses and would never share them with anyone ever.

Finally, we have added various ways for you to share content you like at the bottom of each post. You can Tweet, Facebook, email, Google+, Pinterest any post you wish right from the page. If any of those things are your bag of tea, please feel free to use them.

As always, thanks for your support and feel free to make any suggestions to us in the comments about features you would like to see.

Peter and Andy

Moving On Up

In the interest of making this website look a bit more, you know, real, Peter and I have decided to fork over some dough and will be making an upgrade to the site. Nothing fancy I assure you, but a better format to be sure.

With this, the site might go down for 1-2 days. Please bear with us and be sure to check back soon. We appreciate all who read and comment and hope this will make everything easier to use.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to you all.

The Blue Jays

While Peter and I obsess about all things Red Sox and Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays have aggressively thrown their hat in the ring. It’s a giant hat…think a Three Amigos sombrero.

Adds:

R.A. Dickey – Reigning N.L. Cy Young Winner.
Josh Johnson – Career 3.15 ERA.
Mark Buerhle – 3.74 ERA in 2012 and career 3.82 ERA.
Jose Reyes – 29 years old with speed and some pop.
Melky Cabrera – While we all finally confirmed what we suspected, if his ability to hide future drug use is good, then you have a good to great player.

These acquisitions added to their existing core of Jose Baustista (27 HR in 92 games in 2012 and 43 HR and 54 HR respectively in 2011 and 2010), Edwin Encarnacion (42 HR in 2012), Brett Lawrie (disappointing sophomore season, but still young), Adam Lind (2nd half far better than 1st half), Brandon Morrow (tore it up as a starter) and Casey Janssen had a fine first season as a closer, make the Jays a frontrunner in 2012.

The Jays have gone all in and the rest of the A.L. East has certainly taken notice, or as a Red Sox fan, I hope they have.

Florida Fire Sale- UPDATED

Interesting news out of Miami where the Marlins have reportedly traded away most of their remaining big contracts. By doing this, the Marlins have now only $16 million committed to their 2013 payroll, not including their arbitration-eligible players.

Now there are two things that this brings up in my mind.

1- The citizens of the Miami area just shelled out a lot of money to build the Marlins a new ballpark. People in Miami were not at all happy with the way this ballpark was financed out of their pockets and these moves will only increase the perception that they have been fleeced.

2- A lot of MLB owners are already upset that Jeffrey Loria received support from other MLB teams when he was making plenty of money. How will this trade make those owners feel?

To me Bud Selig should invoke the “Best Interests of Baseball” clause and block this trade. The Florida fans have been sold out time and again and this latest betrayal could be the death of baseball in South Florida. (We can debate if baseball should be played in South Florida another time, but they spent $650 million on a new stadium so they are stuck with baseball for now.) This trade is a betrayal of trust. Loria destroyed the Expos, are the owners and the Commissioner wiling to let him destroy another team?

UPDATE Keith Law said it really well and added a great word (limicolous) in his assessment of the trade:

Those limicolous owners are the greatest joke of all in this deal, rooking Florida taxpayers for a publicly funded stadium, only to make one half-hearted attempt to fill it with a contending team, then surrendering after the season to return to their old business model, playing a skeleton-crew lineup while pocketing all of their revenue-sharing money. This isn’t a bad baseball deal for Miami; it’s not a baseball deal at all — it’s a boondoggle, perpetrated by owners who have pulled one stunt like this after another, with the implicit approval of the commissioner’s office. It’s time for baseball to rid itself of Jeff Loria and David Samson by any means possible. Miami, the state of Florida, and the sport in general will be better off without them.

Scoreless Streak

Quick observation, through 20 innings of baseball today, no runs have been scored in all of baseball. That’s 4 different games covering 20 innings. Guess it really is a pitchers era.

A Good Argument

I’ve never liked MVP voting. How do you define “valuable”? And, even if you use some advanced statistics to prove that a player is the most “valuable” in the league, does it matter if his team is awful? It seems to me that things would be a lot easier if the MVP award was renamed “best player”. But, it’s not so this is the system we have.

This year, Justin Verlander won the MVP in the AL, despite not even appearing on one of the ballots. The writer who left him off his ballot, Jim Ingraham, made a very interesting argument against pitchers as MVP. Here are his words:

“I’d wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year. He hasn’t appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn’t appear in 79 percent of his team’s games in a year. Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team’s 16 games, which would be 21 percent? So that’s part of it. Another part of it is I think they’re apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there’s a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn’t, I don’t think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games.”

That is the most compelling reason against voting for pitchers that I have heard and I think he is absolutely right about it. Starting pitchers don’t appear in enough games to meet the “value” criteria in my mind. Verlander had an amazing season and he was given the Cy Young for it. Instead of burying Ingraham, his fellow baseball writers should take his argument to heart and reform the MVP voting process. Since pitchers have their own award, why not make the MVP a purely offensive award? It won’t solve the problem of figuring out value, but it will make the process a bit clearer.