Archive for the 'News and Notes' Category

News & Notes: The Soriano saga continues; the WBC ends

I have a few loose ends to wrap up this evening and some light-hearted links. Without further ado….

  • The Alfonso Soriano saga continued this afternoon with a new take on the topic. According to a poorly copyedited report by Nationals’ MLB.com beat writer, Soriano did not know he was supposed to play left field.

    Now, this is a new one. Apparently, the Nationals coaches drew up two lineup cards. One had Soriano’s name on it; the other did not. Soriano did not know he was supposed to be in the lineup until former Yankee teammate and current Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson told him. At that point, the game had started. And the Nationals aren’t denying this.

    Soriano says he has talked over the situation with his wife and agent and will decide his future before game time this afternoon. These revelations give Soriano a convenient excuse, but it won’t help him shed the selfish label. I would expect to see the former second baseman take his place in left field come game time today in Jupiter, Florida.

  • Congratulations are in order for Ichiro and Japanese team. Baseball is truly an international sport, and no matter what Joe Morgan says, it has been so since the 1800s. The Japanese, Koreans, Dominicans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and every other team that showed up for the tournament ought to be proud of the event. It was a roaring success. Baseball managed to compete against March Madness, and some people would say that baseball came out on top.

    Still, there are problems. I do not like the randomness of the tournament. It is completely antithetical to baseball. The Koreans were 6-1, the best team in the tournament. They beat Japan two out of three times. However, because, unluckily for them, Japan beat them in the semifinals instead of the first or second round, they had to go home. Korea should have been playing in the final. Hopefully, the tournament organizers can address this problem in three years.

  • From the “No one ever said baseball players were smart” department comes Eric Chavez. As David’s Pinto’s Baseball Musings noted early today, the new A’s hitting coach is already making a difference. Pinto links to a San Francisco Chronicle article:

    Chavez and Ellis like the way Perry communicates. He doesn’t hesitate to say what he thinks (he jumped all over one player for not showing up for early hitting) and he asks lots of questions. When Chavez told him, for instance, that he doesn’t usually incorporate his leg kick into his swing until the seasons starts, and he usually gets off to slow starts, Perry said, ‘Why don’t you put the leg kick in now?’ A simple thought, but one that hadn’t been raised before.

    “A lot of guys have a message but don’t know how to get it across,” Chavez said. “Gerald does. I understand what he’s telling me to do. And he’s really positive, every at-bat he’ll come up and say, ‘That swing was good, you’re right there.’ With the young guys, I think that really helps.”

    Coming soon for Chavez: An eating coach that suggests eating if he feels hungry and, as mac in the comments said, someone to tell him to flip the switch if it’s dark in a room.

  • Jon Swift thinks he knows how the US can win the World Baseball Classic next time. His suggestion? Steroids.
  • If you’ve never watched The Shield but enjoy great acting, dramas and stunning storylines, it’s not too late. I just watched the Season 5 Finale, and woah. I’ve never been floored by a TV show before. The deaths on 24 last week were sad, but this was a stunner. Get the DVDs, watch it. It’s as good as any movie out with better characters and acting.
  • Finally, I get to do the good ol’ fashioned leave ’em hanging line. I will have not one but two big announcements concerning this blog and my baseball writing by the end of the week. So stay tuned while I firm up the details.
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    The pre-New Years blues: news and notes from around the league

    Yesterday was a long day. It took me five hours to drive from D.C. to New York and another 90 minutes to find a suitable parking spot. As I’m beat, I’m going to be doing a news-and-notes post tonight. If you want something heavier to read before the end of 2005, check out yesterday’s post on the sad state of affairs down in Baltimore or Tuesday’s column on the rocky off-season for the Boston Red Sox.

    • While I’ve now written on the Orioles twice in two days, Miguel Tejada opened up his mouth again today. Just as the Orioles were saying they are not planning on trading Miguel Tejada, the All Star short stop strongly reiterated his trade demand, saying he’s “more upset” with the Orioles now than he was a few weeks ago.

      I have criticized Tejada for complaining about the Orioles. After all, he knew what he was getting into when he signed his big contract. This time around, however, Tejada seems to hit the nail on the head. In discussing the recent signings, Tejada said, “It’s not what we need.” Boy, is he ever right. If the short stop of the team knows that signing a second catcher, a 40-year-old utility player, and Jeromy Burnitz won’t solve the problems, why doesn’t Orioles GM Mike Flanagan know that?

      I still wonder why the Orioles never got involved in discussions with Brian Giles or A.J. Burnett or Johnny Damon or the Marlins during the fire sale days. Carlos Delgado would have destroyed Camden Yards. It wouldn’t kill Flanagan to pretend to make an effort, and it would appease Tejada as well.

    • As I was driving home, I was listening to New York sports talk radio WFAN. Joe Benigno interviewed Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King for about 35 minutes. King, a well-respected insider who laid his Red Sox cards on the table, basically talked uninterrupted. He had some interesting baseball notes.

      First, for all of the Red Sox fans who think Tejada-to-Boston could be a reality, fugedaboutit, as they say on the FAN. The Orioles are N-O-T trading Tejada to an AL East rival. While I may end up eating these words, King was fairly vehement about that. He expects Tejada to be moved by February but just not to Boston.

      While discussing the Tejada situation, King also talked about Manny Ramirez. According to the writer, Red Sox brass are fed up with Manny’s act. Manny being Manny only goes too far. King said he would be very surprised to see Manny take the field for Boston come Opening Day. What they will get for him is completely up in the air.

    • Does anyone else miss Buster Olney’s blog? For those of us with access to ESPN Insider, Olney’s blog has become a great resource for links to the lead baseball stories across the nation. Whie Olney’s stupid productive outs stat was rightfully derided, his writing has always been top-notch, and his blog is excellent. It’s great that he gets a vacation, but it makes mining for interesting stories that much harder.
    • Willie Nelson makes his own biodiesel fuel called BioWillie. Who knew?
    • Dayn Perry over at FoxSports takes a look at the young Diamondback team. After borrowing to fund their 2001 World Series team, Arizona rebuilt from the ground up. They have an excellent farm system and a lot of tradable older talent to net them the pitchers they need. As Perry writes, it’s not a question of if, but rather when will the D-backs dominate the weak NL West? I would bet the answer to be 2007. Look for them to go head-to-head with a young Dodger team that season.
    • Many of you have asked about my taken on the rebuilt Blue Jays. I don’t think J.P. Ricciardi is finished wheeling and dealing yet this winter, but I promise in January to examine Toronto and their chances of capturing an AL East title. I’m curious myself to see how they stack up with the team that won 79 games last year.
    • Finally, happy New Year everyone. This is my last post until Tuesday, January 3. I’m taking Monday off to enjoy the holiday. Have fun welcoming in 2006, and thanks for stopping by this month.

    RSS River Ave. Blues

    • Yankees 5, Twins 2: Sabathia tosses six solid, bats score runs here and there September 20, 2017
      Good game. Would watch again. Old man CC Sabathia held his own and the bullpen did their thing. The bats did not take advantage of a lot of the RISP advantages, but they scored enough runs to get the game win and the series win. Because the Red Sox won yet another extra innings game […] The post Yankees 5, Twins 2: Sabathia tosses six solid, bats score runs […]
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    • Game 151: Beat the Twins, again September 19, 2017
      You know, I incorrectly labeled yesterday’s game thread Game 149 instead of Game 150, and either no one noticed or no one bothered to tell me so I could correct it. Not sure what’s worse, to be honest. Anyway, the Yankees and Twins are back at this evening, with the second game of their three-game […] The post Game 151: Beat the Twins, again appeared first o […]
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    • Chase Headley has been a difference-maker for the Yankees in the second half September 19, 2017
      These last 18 months have been a pretty hectic ride for third baseman turned first baseman Chase Headley. Headley, as I’m sure you remember, got off to that dreadful start last season before kicking it into gear in May. This year he started great in April, slumped horribly in May, and has been very good […] The post Chase Headley has been a difference-maker […]
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    • Todd Frazier wants to re-sign with the Yankees and he’s open to changing positions to make it happen September 19, 2017
      The Yankees won for the 12th time in their last 16 games last night — they blew a four-run lead and a five-run lead in two of the losses, which is annoying — and did so thanks in part to Todd Frazier, who drove in the game-inning run with a sixth inning sac fly. Not […] The post Todd Frazier wants to re-sign with the Yankees and he’s open to changing positio […]
      Mike Axisa
    • Yankees have little choice but to demote Dellin Betances and hope he figures things out in lower leverage spots September 19, 2017
      In what has been an ongoing theme all season, the Yankees have a problem in their bullpen. They’ve never had everyone clicking at once. Not even for a game or two, it seems. There’s always been that one guy who is out of sorts. It was Tyler Clippard for a while, then Adam Warren, then […] The post Yankees have little choice but to demote Dellin Betances and […]
      Mike Axisa
    • Yankees 2, Twins 1: The Jaime & Aroldis Show September 19, 2017
      Who said the Yankees can’t win close games? The Yankees picked up a not at all stressful (nope, not at all) 2-1 win in the series opener against the Twins on Monday night. This is a pretty important series given the postseason races, I hear. The Yankees are 12-4 in their last 16 games and […] The post Yankees 2, Twins 1: The Jaime & Aroldis Show appeared […]
      Mike Axisa
    • Game 149 150: Wild Card Game Preview? September 18, 2017
      Can’t say I expected a mid-September series to be important for both the Yankees and Twins, but here we are. The Yankees currently sit in the top wildcard spot, four games up on the Twins. The Twins have a two-game lead over the idle Angels for the second wildcard spot. The Yankees have some breathing […] The post Game 149 150: Wild Card Game Preview? appear […]
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    • 9/18 to 9/20 Series Preview: Minnesota Twins September 18, 2017
      The Last Time They Met The Yankees visited Minnesota for a three-game series in mid-July, and dropped two of three. That was the last of the interminably lengthy stretch of series losses, thankfully, and the Yankees have gone 34-22 since. Some series notes: The trade for David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier was made […] The post 9/18 to 9/20 Serie […]
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    • Rotation shuffle confirms what we already knew: Luis Severino will start the Wild Card Game September 18, 2017
      Over the weekend the Yankees shuffled their rotation under the guise of keeping CC Sabathia and his balky right knee off the turf in Toronto this coming weekend, and I’m sure there’s some truth to that. Sabathia aggravated the knee and had to go on the disabled list the last time he pitched at Rogers […] The post Rotation shuffle confirms what we already kne […]
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    • Yankeemetrics: Bird hunting in the Bronx (Sept. 14-17) September 18, 2017
      Dingers and runs are awesome What happens when you combine one of the five best homer-hitting teams (Yankees) with one of the five most homer-friendly ballparks (Yankee Stadium) and one of the five most homer-prone pitching staffs (Orioles)? You get the dinger-fueled blowout that happened on Thursday night in the Bronx. The Yankees crushed four […] The post […]
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