General

Win Some/Lose Some

Two big changes are coming to MLB in the near future- 15-team leagues and another wild card. I view the first development as bad and the second as good. Let me explain.

Creating two 15-team leagues means MLB will be forced to play an interleague series almost every night of the regular season. While this doesn’t mean we are going to necessarily have more interleague games (amazingly they have no idea on that part of this move) it means pennant races will be impacted by interleague play.

To me this is incredibly stupid. This isn’t the NBA or NHL where the teams all operate under the same rules. The AL and NL have a huge difference because one league has the DH and the other doesn’t. Obviously, this always applies in interleague baseball, but consider this additional kicker- September callups. AL teams that have interleague games in September will have a huge advantage over teams that don’t because they can pinch hit, much, much more than during the rest of the season. Consider the 2011 Yankees who called up 6 batters and 7 pitchers September 1st. If they had had an interleague series that month, they would have been able to pinch hit and substitute freely as compared to a series in June. Unless MLB does something like the NHL and require all teams to declare x number of players eligible for each game, this will be a major hurdle in the new system. And don’t get me started on the attendance for a KC-Washington game in April….

It also strikes me as terrible that Houston was the team that got picked to move. I understand that they wanted to lower the number of teams in the NL Central, but if so, wasn’t the obvious move to RETURN the Brewers to the AL? (That’s right kids, the Brewers were an AL team for the first 29 years of their existence, right up until the end of 1997.) I get the argument that Houston isn’t geographically near any of its rivals, but they have a 50-year history in the NL. And, while it is jet travel, these teams travel in a manner most of us can only dream of. Sure, it’s a drag to get on a plane and travel for 81 nights a year, but plenty of people do it without the benefit of chartered planes and five-star hotels.

What I think baseball got right is the addition of a wild card to each league, but with the critical proviso that they will play a one-game playoff versus the other wild card. Baseball instantly made September important for a lot of teams again. Now, winning the division really will matter. Last year’s Boston and Atlanta collapses aside, we have entered a lot of Septembers recently when the divisions and wild card were almost settled. I think back to 2010 when the big question for the Yankees was should they go all out to win the division, or rest players knowing they had the wild card. Now, that choice is obvious. And, the extra playoff spot gives more teams a chance. This is a great idea and it lengthens the playoffs by a single day. Congrats to MLB on nailing it.

What do you think?

Thank You Baseball

From the amazing final night of the regular season to playoffs that gave us 38-out of a possible-41 games, this has been a great year for baseball. Congrats to the Cards, and especially to the guy who won $250,000 tonight on them.

As we head into the offseason, here are my ten wishes:

1- MLB and the players union figure out a way to avoid the missteps of the NFL and the NBA and sign a new deal before the current one expires in December. Or at least before pitchers and catchers are due to report.

2- Albert Pujols takes a page from the “Book of Jeter” and realizes that he should be a Cardinal for life.

3- MLB realizes that as great as the Cardinals victory was, deciding homefield in the World Series based on the All-Star Game winner is unfair to everyone.

4- The Yankees don’t negotiate against themselves with CC Sabathia and remember the mistake they made with A-Rod.

5- The Pirates have a great offseason that sets them up to finish well over .500 in 2012

6- I don’t read another thing about Yu Darvish being a phenom until he actually faces some major league hitting.

7- Boston ownership stops cowering behind the press and either comes out and makes their accusations directly or puts a cork in it.

8- The Yankees remember all of those young pitchers they have been developing on the farm when they plan for 2012.

9- MLB either eliminates the wild card or creates a second one in each league and a wild card round of the playoffs, best-of-3, to make winning the division important again.

10- Interleague play is scaled way back and the Astros stay where they belong- in the NL.

Thanks for your support during another season. I’ll be back later this weekend with some more about Sabathia and the opt out, which must be exercised by midnight Monday.

That Was Amazing

If you are a baseball fan and you didn’t witness Game 6 last night, you should feel shame. I have seen a lot of amazing things on the baseball diamond, but watching the Cardinals come back from two-run deficits in the 9th and 10th and then win it in the 11th has to be one of the greatest games ever.

And the amazing thing is that it looked like the game would be remembered for terrible baseball. The two teams made FIVE errors. Matt Holliday got picked off of third by Mike Napoli. (I’m still not sure how that happened.) But that was all erased by an amazing ending.

Someone once said, “The two greatest words in the English language are ‘Game Seven’,” and that’s what we have tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast in New York is for freezing temperatures and a chance of snow, but before that starts we get to enjoy one last day of summer- savor it.

A Bad Trend

Courtesy of Sportswatch, here are the Nielsen numbers for Game 2 of the World Series showing male viewers, broken down by age group ….12-17 (2.2), 18-24 (2.8), 25-34 (5.6), 35-49 (6.0), 50-64 (9.0), 65+ (14.3). In a separate tweet he notes that the median age of a viewer watching Game 1 was 52 while that of Game 1 of the NBA Finals was 40.

I’ve written about this issue a number of times. But as a baseball fan I can only hope that someone in the MLB offices realizes they are losing the youth of this country. Perhaps these numbers will be a wake up call.

What they mean is that 2.2% of 12-17 year-olds were watching Game 2 while 14.3% of the over-65 demographic were. The reason MLB might pay attention to these numbers is that advertisers really don’t care about anyone over the age of 49. The 18-49 demographic is what advertisers desperately want to reach and if MLB can’t deliver those viewers, advertisers won’t pay premium money for ads during the World Series. Sadly, last Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game drew 16 million viewers and a 6.0 share of the 18-49 audience. That means a regular season football game between two sub-.500 teams (at the time) had more viewers than baseball’s biggest series of the year.

Will the lack of young eyeballs force baseball to make some changes? I hope so. Earlier World Series games would be a great start. It also seems to me that baseball could easily speed up the games if they actually enforced the strike zone and starting calling pitches above the belt, but below the armpits, as strikes. There are plenty of other innovations they could try, but they need to get serious soon. A generation has already grown up without a love of baseball. MLB cannot afford to let that pattern continue.

Hysterical Mash-Up of Baseball Personalities by the Batting Stance Guy

My favorites are Gammons and Kurkjian.

Deadline Blog

2:30– 90 minutes until the trade deadline and here is my favorite stat of the day. Only four teams have not pulled off a trade this month- Rays, Twins, Angels and Yankees. Pretty amazing isn’t it? And consider this, the Pirates are buyers. Will the Yankees stay quiet or will the “silent assassin” strike again?

2:45Ken Rosenthal reporting lots of interest in Wandy Rodriguez. Meanwhile, it’s 4-1 Yankees and Francisco Cervelli is playing second because Jeter is hurt after getting hit on the hand. Yankees will have a problem if Jeter broke a bone because Pena is hurt and they don’t have anyone besides Nunez who can play short on the 40-man.

2:48 Richard Justice reporting Wandy Rodriguez is headed to Cleveland! Wow, they are really going for it this year.

2:54 Joel Sherman reporting the Yankees are “not close to anything”

3:00Jon Morosi reporting Blue Jays are after Wandy Rodriguez while Jack Curry says he would need to “fall into their laps” adding that the Astros would have to pick up part of his contract and take back “little”. Jon Heyman adds that the Yankees asked Houston to pay 1/2 of the remaining $39-million he is owed and the Astros said no. Meanwhile, Hector Noesi is warming up which is a pretty strong indicator that he is not going to be traded.

3:07 X-rays negative on Jeter. He is “day-to-day” which means he will play tomorrow.

3:13 Ken Rosenthal points out that Wandy Rodriguez will easily pass through waivers, so no pressure to do the deal by 4pm today.

3:18 Erick Aybar just broke up Verlander’s bid for a no-no with a bunt in the 8th inning! Wow. Meanwhile Jon Heyman reports the Yankees are not in on Heath Bell. I can’t really justify the Yankees adding to the bullpen unless it is a move that doesn’t cost them a prospect.

3:24 4-2 Yankees in the 7th. Noesi is pitching, so scratch him off the possible trade list. Cano has moved from DH to second, meaning the Yankees have lost the DH, but they have 7 spots to get through before the pitcher would come up to hit. As for the deadline, Jon Morosi reports the Pirates are on the verge of getting Ryan Ludwick.

3:28 Hmmmm….Hector Noesi just got pulled with a 1-0 count, 2 outs and a runner on first. Could Noesi be headed somewhere?

3:43Very, very quiet right now. Nothing much seems to be going on and only 17 minutes to go.

3:48 Ken Rosenthal reporting that Wandy Rodriguez is staying in Houston for now. Joel Sherman says the are “portraying” that nothing is going on

3:58 Buster Olney is already declaring the winners of the deadline. Makes you think that nothing much more will happen, but we shall see. Meanwhile, the Yankees lineup has the pitcher’s spot up next. They are going to use Andruw Jones, but why not just send Robertson up to swing? Using Jones leaves only Posada on the bench and he is also the backup catcher now with Cervelli out. Ahhh, the joys of carrying 13 pitchers.

4:01Joel Sherman looking to confirm from another source, but he is reporting the Yankees didn’t make a deal. Meanwhile, Jon Heyman says Erik Bedard has been traded.

4:04 Jack Curry and Bob Klapisch reporting the Yankees didn’t make a deal as well.

4:10 Bedard is headed to Boston according to Heyman.

4:30 Sounds like that is it for the deadline. Red Sox ended up getting Bedard and Josh Fields for two AA players, Federowicz and Chih Hisen Chiang. Yankees did nothing, but they are promoting Banuelos to AAA which should put him in line to help the big club later this year if the transition goes well. Now I wonder if they will do something with Montero other than leaving him in the minors?

Best Righty Swing – Your Vote Please

A friend and I were talking about the best swings in baseball and the majority of hitters were lefties. When we said nicest, we meant most asthetically pleasing, not necessarily most productive, although they seem to go hand in hand. Adrian Gonzalez started off the conversation, but it quickly covered such hitters as Robinson Cano, Chase Utley, JD Drew (the ball might not go anywhere, but it is a pretty swing) and Joe Mauer.

Of course the recently retired and HOFers of years past entered the mix as well.

So I’ll pose this: Who has the nicest right-handed swing in baseball right now (active player)?

Please post your reply in the comments.

My answer at the beginning of the year would have been Manny Ramirez, but he is no longer active, so back to the drawing board.

Something All Fans Can Agree On

You may have noticed Ken Rosenthal wearing bow ties during FOX games this year and wondered what on Earth he was doing. The answer is, raising money for charities. Each week he wears a different bow tie to support a different cause. This week’s cause is one close to this blog’s heart- beating cancer.

As you can read here, Saturday’s bow tie will represent Stand Up 2 Cancer, an organization which seeks to fund groundbreaking research in the battle to defeat this dreadful disease.

It’s a cause all fans, regardless of affiliation can get behind and you can read more about their efforts here.

Your Feedback

We seem to be experiencing a techinical problem regarding comments left on our posts. Given that neither of us got past 4th grade, it might take some time to figure out this issue.

We really appreciate your feedback and contributions to all things YankeesRedSox and hope to get things working again soon.

-Andy and Peter

Stay Classy New York

Here at YankeesRedSox.com, we strive to have civilized discussions on all things Yankees and Red Sox. We like to think that the reason we have this site is to encourage healthy debate and we get that consistantly from all of you. Thank you.

Nothing better enforces the idea that is just a sport and shouldn’t be taken too seriously than this story that ran in today’s WSJ. Talk about baseball taking a backseat.

Kudos to the Yankees organization on making a very tough situation, a bit better.

-Andy, Red Sox fan