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'Tis The [baseball] Season To be Jolly!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
After an excruciating 10,895.87 baseball-free days (approximately...), during which time the Yankees managed to trade 2 starting pitchers, fire some coaches, watch a 3rd baseman bare his soul to the media for no discernible reason and drop the ball on one Japanese pitcher but sign another, Spring Training is at last upon us. The Yankees officially kick off the pre-season against the Twins at 1:15 EST tomorrow, and although the Yankees Chick will sadly not be in attendance (by some strange and unexpected twist of events, Yankees officials failed to fly me out [first class, of course] and give me an all-access press pass for the games; I'm sure my invitation got lost in the mail) I most certainly will be dialed in via MLB TV to enjoy every pitch and double-play ball the Yanks and Twins have to offer.

Now that the season is literally mere hours away, methinks it would be wise for us to take a walk down memory lane and review the excitement that took place out in the Bronx this winter. Let's take a peak at the goings-on over the course of the Yank's off-season to catch us all up - - just in time for tomorrow's game!

  • ummm....wright?November 12: Yanks ditch Jaret Wright in favor of Orioles' reliever Chris Britton, despite the fact that Jaret really stepped it up in '06. Britton is much younger, though - he's only 24, while Mr.Wright (who the Yanks found to be Mr. Wrong [god I'm hilarious]) is the ripe old age of 31.
  • November 28: The Moose gets a new 2-year deal worth $23 mil. Love his pitchinig (3.63 ERA, 1.177 WHIP in 16 seasons; 3.58 ERA in 22 post-season appearances), appreciate his fielding prowess (.979 lifetime fielding percentage), and admire his smarts (he's a Stanford grad, don't forget). Glad he'll be back.
donnie baseball
  • December 11: Promoted Don Mattingly to bench coach; named Kevin Long hitting coach. Mattingly's promotion has made many people anticipate a move to manager-status once Torre's time as Yankees' ruler ends (this is the last year of Joe's contract, but he could very well return...).
    • December 22: Andy Pettitte agrees to return to the Bronx for a 2nd tenure with the Yankees, making your Yankees Chick very happy - not just because I love A.P., but because this makes the likelihood of a Rocket return a very feasible dream. I'm crossing my fingers, toes, and hair on that one.
    • just a 90-mile swim from Key West!December 23: Infielder Juan Miranda joins the team and the 25-man roster as a benchman. I know nothing about him other than the fact that he's a youngster (23-years-old), which I like, and was a Cuban prospect, which I like because I love communists (and socialists. and totalitarians.)
    • December 27: The Yanks sign 26-year-old Kei Igawa from Japan in hopes of using him as a 4th or 5th starter. He's no Matsuzaka, but he was a much better deal and Cashman is on a lets-save-money-for-someone-really-worth-it kick, which is the best thing I've heard in all my years of Yankees fandom.
    • January 5th: Doug Mientkiewicz signs a 1-year contract to provide the Yanks with some much-needed defense at first base. Much needed.
    • why are you so angry, randy?January 9th: Randy Johnson heads back to Arizona and the Yankees acquire RHP Luis Vizcaino, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, RHP Steven Jackson and SS Alberto Gonzalez in return. I respect and admire his past accomplishments, but good riddance to the Unit and his back problems.
    • January 10: Bernie declines the Yankees minor league offer and invite to Spring Training. Everyone from Jeter to Torre to the Yankees Chick is very sad (as is Bernie), but there is just no room for him on the roster...unless Andy Phillips is injured in a mysterious accident within the next few weeks.
    • January 26: Miguel Cairo resigns to his post as utility-man extraodinaire, ready to play wherever he's needed, apparently including the outfield this season.
    • February 26: Bobby Abreu strains his oblique muscle and will miss 2-3 weeks of Spring Training, but according to all reports he will be ready in time for opening day. He better be, or I will personally fly out there and whip him into shape myself.
    • Ongoing Forever: I am not one bit confident in Pavano, and I won't be until he remains injury-free for 90 days. In other words, I will never be confident in him.
    My lovely readers, I really am waiting with bated breath for tomorrow's game. Wang will be starting and all of the usual suspects will be making an appearance for at least an inning or two, and a good start in Spring Training (and I'm assuming/hoping that it will indeed be a strong start) shall bode quite well for the '07 season. World Series, anyone?

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, February 28, 2007   11 comments
    Carl Pavano, Destroyer of Worlds
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007
    blame milano Samantha Micelli is nothing but trouble. Tony would be disappointed.

    Since 2005, the Yankees have suffered an impressive number of injuries. There was Jason Giambi’s “stomach parasites” (yes, blame the Japanese tap water, that sounds reasonable), Hideki Matsui’s broken wrist, Gary Sheffield’s busted hand, Robinson Cano’s hamstring, Octavio Dotel’s “it will heal fast I swear” Tommy-Johned elbow, A-Rod’s pulled groin (yikes), and don’t forget about Mr. Jaret Wright. The pinnacle of poor health over the past couple of years in the Bronx has, of course, been none other than Carl Pavano, whose body has endured such an incredible (and hilarious) amount of trauma it is difficult to believe he is even alive. Carl has muddled through buttocks injuries, shoulder trouble, cracked ribs, paper cuts, canker sores, dandruff, tangled hair, hangnails, and allegedly even a few injuries that were actually related to pitching, wasting bajillions of Steinbrenner’s dollars and hours of my time (in the time I’ve spent complaining about CP I likely could have completed some of the homework I never do), but the worst transgression dear Carl has committed is the effect he’s had on the rest of the team. I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever rare and exotic psychosomatic disorder Pavano has somehow acquired simply must be contagious, and he is clearly spreading his diseased germs with no abandon throughout the clubhouse and the field itself...
    CLICK HERE to continue reading Carl Pavano, Destroyer of Worlds....

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, February 27, 2007   8 comments
    OMG DRAMA!!!!1111
    Sunday, February 25, 2007
    fight fight fight!OMG look at that body language. They totally hate each other

    I have been resisting acknowledging the "riff" between A-Rod and Jeter all week
    , for the simple fact that I find the whole debacle to be nothing more than an unnecessary distraction from truly crucial pre-season matters, but after receiving several emails about the soap opera drama I suppose a reaction is unavoidable.

    hug rapeThe story, for those of you who read no sports news except YankeesChick.com (breaking the news in 6 days or less!), is essentially a non-issue that has been blown up not just by the media but by A-Rod himself. Jeter and A-Rod have been pals for many years, but since A-Rod boldly stated in a 2001 interview that Jeter was not to be feared in the Yankees' lineup, their relationship has understandably gone from BFF-status to LJBNIP (lets-just-be-nice-in-public) -status. For some reason, people care about this. The media habitually harasses both The Jeet and the 'Rodster about their apparent tumultuous lovefest - especially since A-Rod took residence just a few feet to the left of Jeter's post - but the two of them have historically been mum on the issue and have always issued the obligatory "there's nothing to say" comments whenever asked about their friendship.

    After several years of wisely remaining quiet on the story, A-Rod shocked the world by inexplicably deciding to delve into the issue with surprising detail with reporters out in Tampa last week. He explained that they used to have sleepovers several nights a week but now rarely even go to dinner together, and that even though they are no longer best friends they remain "friends" and support each other on the field. The interview proved nothing other than the fact that A-Rod apparently was in a deep hunger for attention.

    aw arod and jeterFor his part, Jeter reiterated to the media that there is no issue between himself and A-Rod and that he has nothing but good things to say about him personally and as an athlete. He confirmed that they had been closer in the past, but chocked up any cooling in the relationship to simple growing up.

    The whole soap opera makes the Yankees Chick feel a little bit like vomiting the delicious homemade lasagna she just ate. If I distill what ESPN has been promoting as some sort of animosity-fueled breakdown on the infield down to something more in the vicinity of truth-ville, I come up with a very boring story: A-Rod and Jeter were good friends, A-Rod insulted him in a magazine but Jeter got over it and now they are still friendly on the field and wish nothing but the best for each other. Too bad that story is so mind-crushingly boring.

    Thank god spring training is about to start, because I don't know how much more fake media-invented drama I can handle. Next up: I heard that Roger Clemens said to Jeter who said to his cousin who told his brother who told my friend who told me that he like totally isn't sure if he's gonna pitch. Like, oh. my. god!!!

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, February 25, 2007   6 comments
    I Take it Back!!!
    Wednesday, February 21, 2007
    bernie and torre The only person more hurt by the minor league offer than Bernie is Torre...aka the most sensitive soul in sports

    A few weeks ago, I confessed that despite my love for Bernie I felt it was time for the Yanks to let the guitar-weilding outfielder go in favor of more pitchers and a younger core. I explained that while Bernie has proved that he is certainly capable of continuing to be productive, the Yankees have no need for another outfielder - - Melky is more than capable of serving as the 4th man - - and going with 12 relievers rather than another bench player simply makes better sense. It broke my heart to admit it, but I was confident that the time had come to let the Bernie era end. I thought it was a kind gesture that the Yankees offered him a minor league deal and a spring training invite to allow him to compete for a roster spot, but I thoroughly expected Bernie to make a retirement announcement imminently.

    Fast forward one month, and I am choking on my words. Bernie has turned down the minor league deal and declined to show up to Spring Training, and he has been very vocal about his hurt feelings and choice to keep holding out for a guaranteed roster spot with the Yanks. Everyone from Torre to Jeter to Cano has expressed their support and desire for Sir Bernie to give the Spring Training gig a shot, but the rest of the crew has shown up in Tampa to begin getting in shape and there's no Bernie in sight. Surprisingly, despite my past convictions, I find myself feeling incredibly sad about these recent turn of events.

    bern bernie bernI pride myself on being as objective as possible in my fandom, eschewing emotions for strategy, and am generally more than happy to ditch a veteran (sorry, Tino Martinez) to usher in a youngster. When the Yankees made the decision to remove Bernie from daily center field duty after the 2005 season, I was happy with the decision and even excited about the signing of Damon (although it did mean I had to learn to stop calling him "Demon"). Like many people, I considered the 2006 season to likely be the last season Bernie would play not just with the Yankees, but for any team.

    I suppose I am a bit more sentimental than I originally thought, though, because now that the Yankees have all but written dear Bernabe off I find myself inexplicably changing my stance to one of staunch bring-back-Bernie support! Unlike some supporters who contend that the Yankees "owe" a roster spot to Bernie in honor of his loyalty and legendary contributions to the team over the past 16 years (including a .275 lifetime post-season average and lifetime .990 fielding percentage), I actually feel that the Yankees could still benefit from Bernie's skills on the field. His addition to the roster would give the Yankees 3 switch hitters (Posada and Melky are the others) and is in great health and has been throughout his career, meaning he is likely not much of an injury-risk. His numbers of tapered off over the last few years, but he has continued to hit when it really counts: over the past 3 years his average with runners on base with 2 outs is .293 and his post-season average since 2000 is .278.

    bernie rookieNow that I've copped to being an emotional little baby, I must remind you that I am not impractical. I recognize that with the Yankees' current plan of a platoon at 1st base and a reliever-heavy pitching roster, there is logistically no room for a 5th outfielder/pinch hitter. This is not to say that finding a spot for Bernie would be impossible, though. Theoretically, though I like Andy Phillips, the Yankees could forgo the platoon and use Mientky and Giambi as the 1st base handlers; another option would be choosing to go with one fewer reliever. I'm not 100% sold on either of those ideas myself, but they are options. Had Bernie opted to accept the minor league deal, it is possible that he would have been brought up to the active roster at some point during the year if the platoon did not pan out or in the case of another injury, like last year...but alas, Bernie's pride won out and I highly doubt he will relent on his current "no thanks" stance.

    Ideally, Bernie will either choose to accept the minor league offer and show up at Spring Training (albeit a day or two late), or else he will retire and show up on opening day as some sort of coach. Certainly I am not alone in the feeling that seeing him in another team's uniform would break my heart....after all, I am practical, but not unemotional.

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, February 21, 2007   13 comments
    ....But tell us how you REALLY feel
    Friday, February 16, 2007
    Constant scrutiny is a problem faced by anyone in the public eye. Whether by paparazzi angling their telescopic lenses right up the skirts of pantyless celebrities (the Yankees Chick understands that it is very difficult to remember to wear panties when there's so much partying to be done) or a radio station broadcasting the comments of a flagrant homophobe ("what, you mean what I say on the radio will be heard by people? And then other people might choose to report it?! I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you!"), these actors/athletes/politicians/media whores provide ample fodder for the waiting public in the form of scandalous pictures and delicious sound-bites. The folks with an ounce of tact and/or self-control are careful to censor their public comments in a fruitless attempt to maintain an air of diplomacy, but what fun is that for us?! Luckily for you lovely readers, your very own Yankees Chick happens to have earned her doctorate in Bullshit Comment Translation from the illustrious University of Cynicism, and loves nothing more than to share her knowledge and talents with all of you. Now that many of the players have started reporting to Spring Training, I have had plenty of interviews to analyze and am proud to say I have gotten to the bottom of the true meaning of several interesting sound bites:

    Original Quote: Joe Torre, when asked how much work Pavano had to do to regain the trust and respect of his teammates: "It's sizable."
    Translation: "I consider the possibility of Steinbrenner himself grabbing a ball and pitching a perfect game to be greater than that of Pavano regaining the trust of his teammates."

    Original Quote: Moose, on the Pavano situation: "[Pavano]'s only looking at it from his perspective. We're looking at it from our perspective, those of us that have been through both years. We want him to go out there and show that he wants to do this. It got to a point where we just didn't even want to hear about it or talk about it anymore."
    Translation: "I strongly desire to beat him senseless with a bat."

    Original Quote: Jeter, on Pavano: "He just has to go, prove he's healthy and go out there and pitch. Then he'll be fine."
    Translation: "I strongly desire to beat him senseless with a bat."

    Original Quote: Mariano, on the fact that he could become a free agent after this season: "Everybody has the same shot. The Yankees will not have an advantage."
    Translation: "The Yankees will pay me whatever I ask. And gladly."

    Original Quote: Bernie, on not accepting the Yankees' minor league offer: "The Yankees always knew that I wanted to be with the Yankees and finish my career with the Yankees. If they don't want to do [anything] with me, I'm not going home crying. I'm going to move on."
    Translation: "Everyone loves me and you know it. And I am going to go home crying."

    Original Quote: Jeter, on Mariano's comments: "Mo ain't going nowhere. Mo will be right here next year. Where is he going to go? I'm just playing. I don't know his situation to be honest. I'm sure he would want an extension. I'd love to have an extension, too. To be honest with you, I didn't even know he was a free agent after this year. I'm sure they'll work it out."
    Translation: "I'm a very nice person and a great player, but I'm really not very smart."

    Original Quote: Clemens, on whether he will pitch in 2007: "We get little notes at my foundation about people saying they wish I would make up my mind and decide because I am leaving people hanging. I'm not leaving anybody hanging. I don't want to play."
    Translation: "I am patiently waiting to see which team has the best shot at a World Series ring...but I am definitely playing."

    Fear not, my friends...I will continue offering my translation services throughout the season as even more interesting interviews are inevitably reported. I don't know about you, but I can't wait!

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Friday, February 16, 2007   6 comments
    Children of the Corn Farm
    Saturday, February 10, 2007
    legends fieldFor the cost of just a few hundred cups of coffee a day, you could sponsor your very own Yankees Chick so she could take these pictures herself and not steal them from Google Images

    The advent of spring baseball is just days away (there is still time to buy the Yankees Chick a plane ticket out to FLA, folks), and fans and players alike are eagerly anticipating the glorious sound of that first crack of a bat and the comforting sight of tobacco-juice spew. The whole crew will be there by the 20th (pitchers and catchers are reporting next Tuesday!), including many youngsters who will be battling it out for spots on the opening day roster. For the most part, the roster is pretty well hammered down - Abreu, Damon, and Matsui will head up the outfield with Melky serving as a very capable 4th man; the infield will feature A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, and the Mienty-Phillips-Giambi (let's cross our fingers that Giambi never has to play) platoon at 1st with Cairo riding the bench to cheer them on (and I guess occasionally grab a glove and play one of those infield positions); the starting rotation is filled by Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Pavano, and Igawa - but spring training will offer a fun showcase of the young pitching talent the Yanks have in their pocket to fill in the relief spots or step in when Pavano slips on a sunflower seed shell before opening day and is out for another 2 seasons.

    phillip hughes is 12The biggest name on the Yankees' "We have young pitching now, so shut your traps Red Sox fans" list is the illustrious Mr. Philip Hughes (right...and no, that picture was not taken when he was 8, surprisingly), who at 20-years-old has already impressed more people with his talent than Felix Heredia has during his career. It is pretty unlikely that PH will be on the roster for opening day, but we will be seeing a lot of him in future seasons and possibly in 2007 if too many injuries occur. Humberto Sanchez, the 23-year-old righty the Yanks picked up from Detroit in the Sheffield trade, is more likely to fill an open spot in the rotation than Hughes, simply because he has a couple extra years of experience under his belt, including 3 innings for the Tigers last year during which he struck out 4, walked 1, and allowed just 1 hit. Besides Hughes and Sanchez, the Yanks also have 24-year-old Jeff Karstens and 25-year-old Darrell Rasner - who started 6 and 3 games, respectively, in 2006 - available as potential starters.

    bruney, yikesWe can also expect to see several young Yanks out of the bullpen this Spring, too. Brian Bruney (left; you got a problem, beyotch?!), who allowed just 2 earned runs in 20 innings of relief work last season and had a 3.42 ERA over 7 seasons in the minors, will hopefully see some playing time, as will Chris Britton, the righty the Yanks received from the O's in exchange for Jaret Wright. Sean Henn, who was pretty successful as a starter down on the Yankees' farm (3.62 ERA in 92 games) but hasn't wowed anyone as a starter or reliever in the majors yet (8.27 ERA in 7 games) is also a contender for a roster spot along with the equally mediocre yet awesomely monickered TJ Beam and Colter Bean.

    The kids' spring training performances will certainly be a factor in the ultimate roster decisions for opening day, but any or all of these youngsters could be making an appearance at some point during the year. The era of the Bernie - Jeter - Mo - Posada core might be on its last legs, but with Cano, Melky, and Wang working out so well I'm hopeful that one of these fine young pitchers will be great enough to round out a new Yankees foundation.

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Saturday, February 10, 2007   5 comments
    Contract Loopholes Are Fun!
    Wednesday, February 07, 2007
    boras workin' hardI also do all of my work from a box seat at a baseball stadium

    In a mind-boggling world where rich pop stars have trouble buying underwear and manic astronauts wear adult diapers to shave 20 minutes of a 900-mile kidnapping journey, it should come as no surprise to know that one of the best players in baseball's history (not to mention the highest paid) might be considering cutting his 7-year contract with the Yankees short in hopes of finding more success elsewhere.

    damn....error.I am, of course, referring to the recent rampant speculation that A-Rod may choose to opt-out of the last 3 years of his contract after the 2007 season. His Boras-crafted contract allows A-Rod to declare free agency after this year if he so desires, a clause JD Drew took advantage of this winter when he decided to forgo the final 3 years of his 5-year deal with the Dodgers to sign on with the Red Sox for considerably more money. It is no secret that New York has not been kind to A-Rod (recall the criticism [aka booing and super-clever "a-fraud" signs] that ensued from the exorbitant and uncharacteristic amount of 2006 3-B errors and unfortunate 1-14 record during the ALDS), or that A-Rod is affected by anxiety more than the average player, but the prospect of him deserting his contract for a different environment seems rather unlikely to me. When questioned about the opt-out clause, A-Rod sidestepped the issue and reiterated his usual "I just want to win a championship" stance. For his part, Boras simply stated that as far as he knows, A-Rod is "happy in New York" and that they wouldn't be discussing the possible departure till after the season.

    arod ponders lifeAs for le Yankees Chick, I am really not sure what to make of this. If A-Rod's only goal is to win a championship, it would certainly seem in his best interest to remain with the Yankees; A-Rod would command (and deserve) another mega-contract very few teams could afford, and there is little (if any) evidence that would lead a person to believe that the Mets, Red Sox or Angels have a better shot at a championship than the Yankees over the next few years. His happiness and quality of life in New York is suspect, despite what Boras might say, and if A-Rod does leave after 2007 I would imagine that it would be his mental health and not the finger he has reserved for a World Series ring that would benefit.

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, February 07, 2007   15 comments
    10 MLB Newsies in 10 Words or Less
    Thursday, February 01, 2007
    It's been a busy week in the life of the Yankees Chick (ESPN still hasn't hired me to take over Bonnie Bernstein's position as Token Female Broadcaster, so I've been forced to continue to show up at both work and school), but despite my pleading to slow down until the weekend, the baseball gods orchestrated several interesting tales throughout the week. Much as I love to rant and rave in depth about everything from Boston's spending to Bernie's guitar work, I feel I must put my pending Balco Expose and 2007 team preview articles on hold in favor of a rundown of the current events, so let's saddle up and take a quick gander - if it can't be summed up in 10 words or less I'll have to revisit the issue at a later date* - at the goings-on in the baseball world:

    JD Drew: Shoulder will bust. I will laugh at Red Sox.

    Roger Clemens: Yanks still want him, Cano offers number. Rocket says nothing.

    bernie is a rock star
    Bernie: Looks like retirement vs. minor league deal. Designated dugout guitarist?

    Paula Bonds
    Bonds: Contract stalled. No one likes him.

    Working out, wants to pitch. God help us all.

    shoot me up docSammy Sosa Comeback: He didn't juice, like I didn't cheer against Boston in '04.

    Extra Innings moves to Direct TV: Conspiracy by the government and their Big Satellite ties.

    7th heaven
    Spring Training: 1st game on March 1. Fly me out there?

    2008 All-Star Game: Yankees host. NL will fall short...again.

    Jeter and Jessica Biel: Mary Camden is too good for Jeter? No ma'am.

    * see Sosa, Sammy and Bonds, Barry - - I wasn't joking about the upcoming Balco article...

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    posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, February 01, 2007   10 comments
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