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Your Team Blew It...But Congratulations!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
jeter smashed into dirtStudies show that getting smashed face-first into the dirt automatically increases one's chances of winning an award by 15%.

I imagine winning an award after losing in the playoffs is somewhat bittersweet. Being honored with an award is exciting, sure, but does it take the sting out of seeing the headline "Bronx Bummers" or a derivative thereof on every newspaper and blog (for the record, I don't believe I sunk that low) for a month straight? Just ask A-Rod if last year's MVP title made him forget about the choking criticism or the exceedingly clever "A-Fraud" nicknames that started after the disastrous ALDS; the words "consolation prize" and "this won't even shut you goddamned hecklers up, will it?" (no) probably come to mind.

While awards may not be as thrilling as a sizeable cash bonus and World Series ring, several "Bronx Bummers" have already won accolades for their 2006 (regular season...forget what happened in October) performances, and more are due to be announced in November. Congratulations are in order for:

Mariano Rivera (left, pondering the cruel fate that made him the winner of an arbitrary award sponsored by a shipping conglomerate rather than a World Series): Mo won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year title for the second consecutive year and is on the ballot for This Year in Baseball's Top Closer award. This should come as no surprise to anyone that has ever seen him pitch or even taken a gandar at his stats, which are akin to numbers Jesus would post were he to descend from heaven and become a major league pitcher.

Derek Jeter: He's already won 2 awards - - Jeet beat out David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, Vladimir Guerrero, Travis Hafner and Paul Konerko in the voting for the Hank Aaron award (he is the first Yankee to ever win), and The Sporting News chose him as the best shortstop in the American League. He certainly deserves it: this year he became the fifth player in the past 75 seasons to hit .340 or higher, drive in at least 90 runs and steal 30 or more bases in the same season. He is considered one of the prime candidates for the MVP title (along with Dye, Santana, Morneau and others) and has also been named a finalist for the Hutch Award.cheerleader wang

Robinson Cano: Along with Jeter, he was chosen by The Sporting News as the best player at his position in the league. I still smell a batting title in his future.

Chien-Ming Wang (right, and god bless the Yankees organization for forcing rookies to be humiliated. PURE GOLD): The Wangster is on the ballot for the This Year in Baseball's Top Starter award! He had a great year, and while I think Santana is a shoo-in for all pitching-related awards, it makes my heart swell with pride to see our own little Wangster on the ballot for awards in his 2nd MLB season.

Next up:
  • Silver Slugger awards will be announced sometime in November
  • AL Gold Glove winners will be announced November 2nd
  • NL Gold Glove winners will be announced November 3rd
  • Players' Choice Awards wil be announced November 8th
  • NL and AL Rookies of the Year will be announced November 13th
  • NL Cy Young winner will be announced November 14th
  • AL Cy Young winner will be announced November 16th
  • NL and AL Managers of the Year will be announced November 15th
  • NL MVP will be announced November 20th
  • AL MVP will be announced November 21st
  • TYIB winners will be announced December 14th

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, October 31, 2006   3 comments
Sheffield is an Angry Man
Thursday, October 26, 2006
smug sheffieldI love life. I say this not because I live a life of notable joy or enjoy significant talent, but for the seemingly limitless delight I experience upon hearing other people say stupid things. While I do garner some happiness from the stupidity of the common folk, my life feels most complete when the source of the dumbosity (and don't you dare come at me with your "that isn't a word" talk) is a celebrity or public figure of any sort.

When it comes to baseball players that I can count on for amusement every time their names appear next to quotation marks, Gary Sheffield holds a special place in my heart (right between Barry Bonds and Pedro Martinez). Sheff's absurd reactions to things that would generally illicit a calm or even positive response from someone with normal brain function are the driving force behind his reputation as a volatile teammate and the main reason I love him. Yesterday the Yankees let Sheff know that they have decided to pick up the $13 million option on his contract for the 2007 season, a move Sheff had been pushing for since the end of the 2005 season. Apparently, after being forced to play first base (poorly) in the ALDS, Sheff has changed his tune, telling USA Today that he didn't want the Yankees to pick up the contract after all - no, he suddenly preferred to become a free agent in hopes of picking up a 3-year contract:

"This will not work, this will not work at all. I don't want to play first base a year for them. I will not do that. I don't know what they're (Yankees) going to do. Maybe they picked it up just to trade me. If they do that, if I just (go) to a team for one year, there's going to be a problem."

Yes, how dare they pick up an option on a contract you signed? Too bad you didn't include a no-trade clause in there.

I love life.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, October 26, 2006   8 comments
Did You Know the Yankees Have a Farm System?
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Baseball players start as small seeds (similar to carrots), but after years of cultivation, rain dances, and hoeing, may someday be harvested as fully-grown talent.

I'm not sure if you loyal readers are aware of this (prepare to be shocked!), but there is a commonly-held belief in the baseball community that Big Stein uses his considerable monies to "buy" star players while other, less financially fortunate, teams are forced to utilize antiquated farm systems to raise their own talent.

survivorWell, I've got news for you. Apparently - - - and my repeated phone calls to Cash have not yet been returned, so I can't confirm this with 100% certitude just yet - - - what with the Yanks' steadfast inability to advance past the goddamn first round of the playoffs in recent years despite a payroll that rivals Paris Hilton's annual bar tab, the Yankees have been toiling in their farmlands in hopes of cultivating some cheap talent of their own. It appears that in his old age, Big Stein has allowed some other voices to be heard in the Yankees' front office, voices that have effectively prevented him from selling off the few remaining valuable scraps of a farm system that for years has churned out nothing but inedible crop that wouldn't satiate even the most malnourished Survivor contestants (left; more crispy rat meat is needed).

I hesitate to express any sense of hope, much less optimism, so soon after the ALDS, but there has been considerable good news originating from the farm this week. Whilst the Tigers and Cardinals have been battling it out in a World Series interesting to approximately 8 midwesterners, the minor-leaguers have been participating in the annual fall/winter leagues. Several of the Yanks' prospects have been doing well enough to land themselves towards the top of the league leaderboards; despite my superstitious fear that enjoying their stats could feasibly jinx their future in the Yankees' system, I feel I deserve an ounce of hope. Join me:

sean hennBrett Gardner (OF): .439 BA, .586 OBP, 1.147 OPS, 5 RBIs, 3 Stolen Bases (0 CS) in 41 at-bats.

Eric Duncan (3B): .275 BA, .309 OBP, .662 OPS, 8 RBIs in 51 at-bats

Sean Henn (right; better known for his 360-degree owl head) (RHP): 2-0, 3.00 ERA, 6 strikeouts in 6.0 IP

TJ Beam (RHP): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 9 strikeouts in 6.o IP

Hawaii Baseball:
Ian Kennedy (RHP): 1-0, 1.04 ERA, 14 strikeouts in 8 2/3 IP

Joba Chamberlain (RHP): 1-1, 2.57 ERA, 21 strikeouts in 14.0 IP

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, October 24, 2006   7 comments
I Like A-Rod, but I also Like Pizza
Monday, October 16, 2006
Honestly, If I were Joe Torre I would put A-Rod on 24-hour suicide watch. He's one insultingly cheesy pun away from losing it.

It's been a rough month for A-Rod. The ALDS was nothing if not disastrous for the poor little lamb ("highlights" include 4 strikeouts and a throwing error), and the New York fans and media have been on his case like Larry H. Parker after a work-related accident ever since. As if the relentless public skewering weren't enough, A-Rod had a run-in with the aviation gods last week, and they seemed just as displeased with him as the rest of the world. His plane careened off the runway in L.A. last Friday, and although he escaped free from any physical harm, his nerves were undoubtedly rattled. With trade talk, the "A-Fraud" quips and his in-flight fright, his mental health is once again at the top of my list of concerns (right above "school"). As I've mentioned before, I am an A-Rod supporter and truly value his athletic prowess - not to mention the fact that I would love to see him break some records (and he will) with the Yankees - but as a licensed clinical therapist and certified baseballologist (I am neither) I must concede that A-Rod would likely be happier and therefore more productive on a more supportive smaller-market team.

...Which brings me to my next point. Lou "hold on to your bases" Piniella (left: it took 4 photographers and one of those tranquilizer guns they use to subdue rabid bears to get Lou to calm down enough for this picture) has been hired as the Cubs' new head honcho, and its been rumored that his first order of business is to squire A-Rod away from the Yanks and into Chi-town. A-Rod and Piniella worked together back in Seattle from 1994-2000, and they seem to have a great mutual respect for one another. The Cubs have already made it clear that they intend to increase their payroll for the 2007 season, meaning that they could feasibly afford to pay whats left on A-Rod's contract (he has 4 years left with the Yankees for a total of $66.6 million).

Of course, Cashman has stated publicly that he is not looking to deal A-Rod at this point, and A-Rod has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning that he can put the kibosh on any trade he doesn't fancy. However, if Piniella were to make Cashman an offer for A-Rod (although I'm not sure who the Yankees would want from the Cubs...perhaps an agreement involving Chicago deep-dish pizza could be arranged) it seems that there might be a good chance the A-Rod would wave his no-trade clause to play with his trusted manager and friend in Chicago.

This is, of course, all speculation at this point. Post-season performance aside, A-Rod is a great asset to any team and its hard to envision a situation in which trading A-Rod would bring the Yankees any players that can put up the regular season numbers he does.

But as my dear friend Joe Morgan so insightfully proclaims, "anything's possible in baseball!"

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, October 16, 2006   3 comments
Working Past the Grief
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Since the Yankees' ill-fated ALDS cavalcade, the Yankees Chick has been on a wild roller coaster ride of grief. Saturday was marked by a period of acute denial, during which I watched entirely too many NFL games and convinced myself I could care more about the Chargers than the Yankees (never mind the fact that the Chargers are undoubtedly doomed to the very same post-season elimination faced by the 2005 and 2006 Yankees), but come Sunday the denial had waned and a fierce anger (see left) set in. How dare the Yankees drop 3 games in a row after all the time I had spent watching them, reading about them, and writing marginally entertaining articles about them? Weren't they thinking of me? After admitting to myself that being engulfed by feelings of rage toward a baseball team was largely unhealthy and borderline patheitc, I moved on to an even more nonsensical period of bargaining, at which point I recall mentioning to a Mets fan that I would be willing to listen to Joe Morgan broadcast all 162 games of the 2007 series if the Yankees could just have one more shot at the Tigers. Luckily the baseball gods paid no heed to my ridiculous offer. Of course, after the denial, anger, and bargaining stages had each run their course, a depression that could rival that of any emo kid was able to fully sink in.

I'm still downright sickened by the Yanks' performance in the ALDS, but its been 4 days now so I suppose it's time to buck up and accept that their season is over. And on that note, let's get on with the Yanks post post-season news:

Joe Torre is coming back: Despite initial reports that a manager change was imminent, Steinbrenner and Torre have both confirmed that Joe will not be fired. Big Stein referred to the Yankees loss in the ALDS as "unacceptable", but to the chagrin of base-throwers everywhere, he decided not to fire Torre in favor of Lou Piniella. (Right: MLB umpires can live another day without fearing a shouting match.)

A-Rod is (probably) not going to be traded: He may have gone 1-14 in the ALDS, but Cashman announced that he has "no intention" of trading A-Rod. Whether he should be traded is up for debate. The prospect of ditching a player that 35 home runs and knocked in 121 runs would generally generate a negative response from the Yankees Chick, but the unfortunate truth for dear A-Rod is that he just can't win with the New York fans. As we've seen this year, A-Rod's performance is inversly proportional to the decibel level of booing in the stadium, and it has become heartwrenching to watch his mounting deterioration (see left: I almost tear up in sympathy every time he strikes out. Almost. Then I get over it and feel irritated) . Perhaps it would be best for him to play for a more suportive smaller market team...and if the Yankees can spin him for a few young pitchers, I suppose I wouldn't object.

Cano and Jeter won TSN awards: Neither won the batting title and the MVP has not been announced just yet, but both Cano and Jeter were voted the best at their position by 220 of their fellow athletes. Yeah, I'm sure that takes the sting out of busting out of the ALDS.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, October 12, 2006   7 comments
MLB Community Reacts to Cory Lidle's Death
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
In the midst of a post-season filled with excitement and anticipation, Major League Baseball suffered the loss of a veteran pitcher and valued teammate. Cory Lidle's single-engine plane crashed into a 50-story apartment building in New York City this afternoon, killing him and his instructor, Tyle Stanger. He was reportedly flying to his home in California to be with his wife and son, both of whom flew on a commercial jet and heard the news upon landing.

Lidle was well-liked amongst his teammates and baseball cohorts, and the MLB community was shocked and saddened by his death.

"I am shocked by this devastating news. Spending the last few months as Cory's teammate, I came to know him as a great man. While he was known as a baseball player, he was, more importantly, a husband and father and, at a time like this, I want to share my deepest sympathies with his wife, Melanie, his son, Christopher, and all those who know and loved him." - - Derek Jeter

"The Phillies family is extremely saddened by the tragic news involving Cory Lidle. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his wife, Melanie, son, Christopher, and those families who were affected by the terrible incident in New York." - - Phillies president David Montgomery

"I enjoyed talking to him. I saw him in chess matches all the time with other guys. He was a competitive pitcher both here and elsewhere. He just seemed like a good guy." - - Brian Cashman

"All of baseball is shocked and terribly saddened by the sudden and tragic passing of Cory Lidle. Cory was only 34 years old and had played in the Major Leagues for nine seasons with seven different clubs. He leaves a young wife, Melanie, and a young son, Christopher. Our hearts go out to them on this terrible day." - - Bud Selig

"This is a terrible and shocking tragedy that has stunned the entire Yankees organization. I offer my deep condolences and prayers to his wife, Melanie, and son, Christopher, on their enormous loss." - - George Steinbrenner

"This is a terrible shock. I was with Ron Guidry and Lee Mazzilli when I heard the news, and we were just stunned. Cory's time with the Yankees was short, but he was a good teammate and a great competitor. My heart goes out to his family." - - Joe Torre

"We used to call him 'snacks' because he'd be eating Reese's in between innings while he was pitching. He'd go up there [to the clubhouse] and get some M&M's, maybe some ice cream, all the while throwing eight scoreless innings." - - Barry Zito

"I'm at a loss for words. Sometimes we take things for granted. Life is precious. This is horrible news for the baseball family." - - Carlos Delgado

"Right now, I am really in a state of shock, as I am sure the entire MLB family is. My thoughts are with Cory's relatives and the loved ones of the others who were injured or killed in this plane crash. I have known Cory and his wife Melanie for over 18 years and watched his son grow up. We played high school ball together and have remained close throughout our careers. We were excited to be reunited in New York this year and I am just devastated to hear this news." - - Jason Giambi

"I am very saddened at the tragic loss of Cory, who was my teammate, and my friend. I cared for him and his family, and my heart goes out to his wife Melanie, and his son Christopher. He was a great person who enjoyed everything in life, and I will really miss him." - - Johnny Damon

"I remember Cory being very wrapped up in anything he did. He took on everything he did with a passion -- baseball, flying, his wife, his son. He would talk about his plane all the time." - - Ron Villone

"On behalf of Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Jeff Wilpon and the entire Mets organization, we express our heartfelt condolences to the Lidle family. Cory broke into the Majors with us nine years ago and developed into a solid Major League pitcher. The entire baseball community mourns his loss." - - New York Mets official statement

"When you look at, I think all of the things that transpire over on the other side of town with the Yankees, and I think it's very easy for fans and press to get perspective of what the reality is. These are real people preparing a baseball game ... and doing the best that you possibly can. This is not about life or death. It's about entertainment. The people that pull for the teams that they want to win the most get so wrapped up in how vital and how important that truly is, and I think it's moments like this where you take a different perspective and realize how fragile life really is, and how from one moment to the next, you know, you should cherish all those moments." - - Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson

posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, October 11, 2006   3 comments
10 Reasons the Yankees Will Win the World Series Will Lose in the First Round
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I'm in Las Vegas for the weekend and had been anticipating a few days of gambling, good food, and some exciting games. $200 and 14 Tigers runs later, I've crawled back to the hotel room to hide my pain. Suffice it to say that things did not go as planned.

What the hell just happened?! Why is the season over at the ALDS yet again?!

10) A-Rod realized that he will be criticized no matter what he does, and decided to give up.
9) They only had 1 Jeter.
8) Randy Johnson woke up and remembered that he is 87 years old.
7) Not enough cortisone shots to go around the clubhouse.
6) Sheffield heard that Cashman might not pick up his option and played poorly out of spite.
5) Giambi, A-Rod, Bernie and Sheffield forgot that leaving runners on base is not desirable.
4) Kenny Rogers forgot that he's supposed to fail in the post-season.
3) Pete Rose had money on the Tigers and agreed to pay off the Yankees if they'd throw the game.
2) The players realized that they really don't make enough money to get even 1 hit, let alone enough to win a game.
1) Mets fans spiked the dugout Gatorade.

This is incredibly disappointing.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Saturday, October 07, 2006   13 comments
10 Reasons the Yankees WILL Indeed Win the Series This Year
Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Left: Murderer's row. Right: Killers alley? Death street? You name them.

The Yanks have made it to the post-season steadily for years now, but their last few bids for World Series rings have not gone as well was one might hope. Since their 2000 win over the Mets, the Yanks have made it back to the Series twice (in 2001, when Luis Gonzales got a bloop hit off Mariano to bury the Yanks, and then in 2003 when Josh Beckett and the Marlins shut down Soriano and the rest of the crew). In 2002 and 2005 they lost the Division series to the Angels, and we all remember what happened in 2004.

This year, though, all signs are pointing to a Yankees championship. Sportsbook.com has the Yankees’ World Series odds placed at 6-5 and ESPN gurus Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, Keith Law, Alan Schwarz and Bob Klapisch all favor the Yanks. The Yankees Chick herself has been studying the Yanks and all of their potential opponents all season and has, like the betting gods and ESPN flunkies, concluded that this really is the Yankees’ year. Here’s why:

10) They don’t have to play the Twins in the first round. If the Yanks had been facing the Twins in the ALDS they would surely have had to go up against Santana twice, making 2 of the 5 games very difficult to win. Aside from Santana, the Twins’ starting rotation is decidedly weak, so should the Twins and Yanks both advance to the 7-game ALCS, the Yankees would still face Santana twice (right, soulfully pondering his excellence) but would have 5 games against Bosner, Radke, et al.

9) They’re incredibly well-rested. The Yankees secured their playoff spot almost 2 weeks ago, and Torre has been very smart with his lineup ever since. Mariano only pitched 4 innings in September and everyone from Jeter to Giambi got a chance to take a break. The team is going into the playoffs better rested than they have in years, and, more importantly, better rested than the A’s, Twins, and Tigers.

8) Matsui and Sheffield both made it back. The fact that they were able to return from their wrist surgeries in time for the post-season is great, but it is the way they both bounced back without missing nary a beat that is truly impressive. Matsui hit .396 with 3 homers and 10 walks since returning from the DL; Sheffield had 2 homers and 6 RBIs in his 9 games in September.

7) They’ve got more stars on the bench. The Yanks’ starting lineup is intimidating, but don’t forget that they’ve got some great players on the bench for pinch-hitting and late-inning replacement. Melky and Bernie, both of whom hit .280 in the regular season, hit very well off the bench and are versatile, since they are switch-hitters, and Andy Phillips is available for defensive assistance.

6) A-Rod is hitting. I’m sure there are plenty of pessimists waiting for A-Rod to drop the ball (figuratively and literally, no doubt) in the playoffs, but my hopes are high. He hit .356 with 6 homers and 22 RBIs and a .473 OBP in September and hasn’t shown his old “help-me-Jim-Fannin” anxiety in over a month!

5) They’re hungry for it. They’ve made it to the post-season consistently, but it’s been 6 years since their last Series win and the Yankees are out to prove they still have it. A-Rod, Moose, and Giambi (left...Giambi has taken to wearing a gold-painted ring he got in a cracker jack box while he waits for a real World Series ring) are particularly eager to win a ring, since despite coming close several times none of them have managed to win yet!

4) The Red Sox are long gone. This is the first year since 2003 that the BoSox haven’t made it to October, and knocking them out of the running back in August gave the Yanks a huge boost of confidence.

3) Derek Jeter is having one of the best years of his career. Not that Jeter has ever had an “off” year, but the 2006 season was very, very kind to him. He came thisclose to taking the batting title and knocked in 97 runs, just 5 shy of his personal best. His post-season numbers are brilliant (.358 BA, .420 OBP, .545 SLG in 42 post-season games), and I doubt we’ll see anything less than his best this year.

2) Mariano is Mariano. Mo had yet another great season, posting a 1.80 ERA in 75 innings pitched. He suffered from some muscle strain in his right arm in September, but Torre was able to rest him and he is reportedly feeling loose and ready for the playoffs.

1) Their lineup is a pitcher’s nightmare. There is simply no breathing room for an opposing pitcher! Let’s have a look (stats are from the 2006 regular season).

1. Johnny Damon, CF (.285 BA, .359 OBP, .482 SLG)

2. Derek Jeter, SS (.343 BA, .417 OBP, .483 SLG)

3. Bobby Abreu, RF (.330 BA, .419 OBP, .507 SLG)

4. Gary Sheffield, 1B (.298 BA, .355 OBP, .450 SLG)

5. Jason Giambi, DH (.253 BA, .413 OBP, .558 SLG)

6. Alex Rodriguez, 3B (.290 BA, .392 OBP, .523 SLG)

7. Hideki Matsui, LF (.302 BA, .393 OBP, .494 SLG)

8. Jorge Posada, C (.277 BA, .374 OBP, .492 SLG)

9. Robinson Cano, 2B (.342 BA, .365 OBP, .525 SLG)

Pitchers are going to have trouble with this. Pitching around people will not help, and the bases will be clogged with baserunners due to those insane OBPs. The bottom third of the lineup is just as powerful as the first and second. If/when the Yanks make it to the World Series, the pitcher will have to hit in the NL ballpark, but the rest of the lineup is so strong that will likely prove to be a non-issue.

The Yankees’ run for the championship officially begins in just about 6 hours, so you have just enough time to get those pinstripes painted on your face and head over to your Tiger-fan friend’s house to taunt him before game time!

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, October 03, 2006   4 comments
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Name: Yankees Chick
Home: San Diego, CA, United States
About Me: Just your average 26 year old Yankees lovin' gal from the SD.
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