Saturday, October 10, 2009

Threat Averted

  • Yankees 4-Twins 3:

As it turned out, Jorge Posada needn't carry out his diabolical Stewie Griffin-like scheme for world domination and vengeance over society in general and manager Joe Girardi in particular because the Yankees won; therefore, Posada's (empty) threat that the Yankees "better" win without him in the lineup was rendered meaningless.

For a team like the Twins----overmatched on paper----they cannot give the Yankees chance-after-chance to stick the knife into their collective bellies and expect to escape alive. Time-after-time, the Twins were on the verge of stealing the momentum and the home field advantage away along with the feeling of certainty and confidence on the part of the Yankees that this was finally "their" year; and time-after-time, the Twins let the Yankees get off the deck and eventually, put them on the verge of elimination.

The Twins way of playing has always been resistant to slumps and teardowns because of payroll constraints because they do the things they're supposed to do. Their pitchers throw strikes and allow their fielders to do their jobs; they advance runners; they make the plays they should make and play sound fundamental baseball because that's what's drilled into them from the time they enter the organization all the way through to the big leagues. The Twins are the epitome of adherence to the merit system for their players. You do it the Twins way or you don't play and it makes no difference whether you're Joe Mauer, Nick Punto or Brendan Harris; you don't play the game unselfishly and correctly, then don't expect to be in the lineup. Simple and effective.

Ironically, it was a series of gaffes that cost the Twins game 2 and probably a chance to be competitive in this series. Carlos Gomez overrunning second base, getting tagged out and costing his club the first run; stranding tons of baserunners; not scoring after loading the bases with no outs in the 11th inning; closer Joe Nathan again unable to slam the door on the Yankees with the game in his hands----all were prime examples of why the Twins lost a game they should've won.

The Twins have been able to compete because of their strict adherence to fundamental baseball and that abandoned them last night along with any possibility of staying in this series. It had nothing to do with payroll disparity or talent; it had to do with execution. The Yankees executed when it counted and the Twins didn't. The one opening in the Yankees defenses came and went as Alex Rodriguez's and Mark Teixeira's homers sailed out of the park----and with it so went the Twins like so much debris in the breeze.

They blew it.

And what's worse is they know it.

  • The power of the aesthetic:

Some things just look right. And some things just look wrong.

It doesn't matter the context; nor does it matter the reality of the situation. There is no escaping the fact that the aesthetic can be as important as the end result.

David Lee Roth just looked right as the lead singer of Van Halen. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman just looked right as The Odd Couple. Kirk and Spock just look right at the helm of the Enterprise. Pat Summerall and John Madden working the premier NFL matchup in the 80s just looked right.

It's something that's innate and unquantifiable and observers----knowledgeable and not----know it.

Then there's the other side of the equation.

George Clooney as Batman just looked wrong. Joe Namath in a Rams uniform just looked wrong. Babe Ruth in a Boston Braves uniform as a player and Brooklyn Dodgers uniform as a first base coach just looked wrong. Joe Buck doing, well, Joe Buck doing anything just looks wrong. It's not commonly known, but the studio's preferred choice to play Michael Corleone in The Godfather was Robert Redford; Redford over a then-barely known Al Pacino would've been wrong.

Anyone who's watched the entirety of the Joba Rules/JOBA RUINATION of the Yankees botched attempts to develop Joba Chamberlain can see that he's a different pitcher when coming out of the bullpen. The meek, frightened and paranoid starter reverts to the dominating force of nature with swagger and palpable power when used as a reliever. It's where he belongs. He has neither the personality nor the aptitude to be as effective a starter as he is a reliever. As a starter, he could be a useful cog; as a reliever, he's a category 5 hurricane; a nuclear bomb; or a level 9 earthquake.

All the reasons, studies and numbers that insist Chamberlain belongs in the starting rotation are great; they make a case for this continued attempt to force-feed him the job of being a starter; but his implementation as a reliever is what's right.

It feels right.

The Yankees might ignore the obvious. They might point to the out-of-context, pigeonholed numbers that don't apply to each and every variance of individual and hammer the square peg into the round hole until the entire apparatus is shattered; but they'll never escape that one simple fact that Chamberlain is one thing----a reliever----and the bullpen is where he belongs. Whether the powers that be in the Yankees front office accept that fact now or ever is irrelevant.

It's the way it is because it just...looks...right.

  • Phillies name Pedro Martinez their game 3 starter:

It sounds as if the weather in Colorado is going to be so poor that they're unlikely to be able to play the game tonight, but if they do play, the decision to start Pedro Martinez is going to bite the Phillies and fast.

Pedro needs at least two innings to get warmed up when the weather is good; how he's going to have any touch and feel for his pitches or get his aging and rickety ligaments and tendons warm in the Rocky Mountain frost is beyond me.

The Phillies better hope that this game gets called so they have time to re-think their choice of starting pitcher because I can see Pedro getting blasted out in the first inning with a crooked number; and if I were Rockies manager Jim Tracy, I'd have my hitters hacking early. It could get real ugly, real quick for the fading superstar, Pedro Martinez.

  • Wouldn't a permanent GM be a good first move before any of this stuff?

The Blue Jays have fired a bunch of front office men and scouts----ESPN Story----while still not having a permanent GM. If they intend to name Alex Anthopoulos the full time GM, then it won't matter what they've done here, but if they bring in an outsider as GM, wouldn't it behoove them to, y'know, let the new GM make these calls?

  • Milton Bradley to the Rays would be a disaster:

It would be a self-destructive move of epic proportions to stick Milton Bradley in the Rays clubhouse under weak manager Joe Maddon. Maddon is already going to head into next season in trouble and if Bobby Valentine is still available, don't be surprised to see a quick trigger from the Rays. Putting Bradley in the mix would be like a rancid final meal for the man heading for managerial death row.

Is it lost on anyone that's been paying attention that a major part of the Rays turnaround was weeding the organization of troublemakers and players who couldn't or wouldn't function as part of a team concept, nor behave themselves under those simple-to-follow parameters of not being a drug addict, tantrum-thrower or borderline sociopath?

The dispatching of the likes of Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes sent a clear message that the days of the Rays putting up with anything and everything based on draft level, bonus money and ability were over. Now they're weighing puting Maddon's already shaky status into greater question by adding the albatross of Milton Bradley to his clubhouse? Great idea----if they're lighting the match for an explosion and a reason to fire Maddon by May.

  • Viewer Mail 10.10.2009:

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Jorge Posada:

Though I respect Jorge Posada as a baseball player, he seems, to me, to be the type of guy who would screw his best friend's wife. I'm just sayin'...


All's well in Yankeeland as Posada's implementation of his evil plot was unnecessary. I'm still curious as to what level of Biblical plague Posada planned to unleash on the unsuspecting public for vengeance.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Jorge Posada:

Prince, you know better than anyone how it works in NY. There a million media guys begging Jorge to say something they can use. After he said all those "right things," he came out with the "threat," as you call it. Give the guy a break. He was probably sick of answering the same question over and over.

Oh, of course. But Posada wanted to say what he said to send a message as to how pissed he was. It's like Gary Sheffield when he'd sit at his locker and refuse to discuss ; if the writers simply hung around his locker long enough without saying anything, eventually Gary would go into great detail about that which he had adamantly refused to discuss.

Posada would've been better off just turning around and saying, "Just leave me the fuck alone!! I wanna play, but I've been benched! That's it!!!"

Giving a response for which there's no follow-up question or ending matters with a bit of undisguised anger can be as effective as toeing the company line and being politically correct; more so in fact----it would've shut everyone up.


Ted said...

PAUL, I have seen it all, but last nights' Yankees game was something out of the ordinary. Teixeira will be remembered in the mind of every Yankees fan, and might be enshrined in every Twins fans' mind as well. What a game.

She-Fan said...

You're comparing Posada to Sheffield now? OK, I'll have to use my weapon of last resort: "Not. One. Word."