Thursday, September 20, 2007

THE Yaaankeeeeees Win!

Well, if you haven't noticed the Yankees have won 12 out of 14 and pulled within 1 1/2 of the Red Sox, who are apparently waiting to turn Manny loose until they really have to. I suspect that Sox may be a better team than the Yanks with Manny in the line-up, but if he's not there, they are definitely not. Plus, for the second year in a row, their bullpen seems to be coming undone at the end of the season. I'm not saying Papelbon isn't a great pitcher, but he sat out the last month last year with arm trouble, and he seems to be struggling a bit now. Gagne, of course, has been a total disaster, and the Japanese set-up man has apparently "hit a wall," after pitching shorter seasons in Japan. Dice-K may be hitting this same wall. Of course, come the playoffs, if these guys bounce back, the Sox potentialy have a very deep bullpen. Add that with two and a half great clutch hitters (Lowell, Ortiz, and Ramirez - I've only giving Lowell half credit, which may come back to haunt me), and some potentially strong starting pitching and you've got a potentially dangerous playoff team.

The Yankees are a little more ragged. They've been winning lately, but I'm not sure their players have the postseason pedigree to succeed. Joba Chamberlain has really been the key to this final resurgence, but I know the Yankees don't want to push him too far. So, we'll see. If he leads us to the World Series, great, but you have to remember he is a true rookie who appeared in 14 games for Nebraska last year and 18 the year before that. This year, he had 15 starts before he even came to the Yankees, and now he has appeared in over a dozen games in the bigs as a reliever. The rest of the staff is fairly uninspiring as far as I'm concerned-either over the hell or too young. We do have some bats, but pitching is paramount when it comes to the playoffs.

Last night, the Yanks apparently got a great performance out of Andy Pettite, who's been pretty hot lately, excepting a disastrous start vs. the Bosox last Friday. I was busy with some work, and didn't turn the game on until about 9:30, when there were two outs, and two on in the top of the ninth at Yankee Stadium, will the Rivera on the hill. He loaded the bases with a walk before striking out a batter to close things out. I was struggling with the position of my radio to get a signal from 880 AM WCBS in New York. After losing it a couple times, I was rewarded by John Sterling's signature call at the end of the game. This is not from last night's game, but here's a taste of Mr. Sterling, which should give you an idea of what you're missing if you're not tuning in.

Over the top, yeah. But at least he's got his thing. Not to mention a female color commentator. These are just some of the things that make the Yankees great.



DrD said...

One of the best names I can recall from baseball was Nomar Garciaparra.

When I lived in New England, they called him "No-mah".

Funny how baseball is more of a first-name game, and football is more of a last-name game.

For example, if I was talking about "Randy" from the NFL, you might guess "Moss," but you wouldn't necessarily be correct. And McNabb is "McNabb," not "Donovan."

Wasn't "Donovan" a music artist from the Sixties?

Come to think of it, baseball has more nicknames, too. Even I know who "The Rocket" is...and "A-Rod."

Football has some of that, like "Big Ben," but not as much, I think.

Is it because, in baseball, we get to see the faces of the players? Maybe that's why we think of them more easily as friends.

Or is it because baseball players, at least until the steroid era, were fairly normal-looking (as opposed to football players, who tend to be much larger and more muscular than the average person).

Does it have anything to do with the Hispanic influence in MLB? I don't know that I'm ready to assert that Hispanics have more nicknames in their culture than other cultures, but I thought I'd raise the question.

I know whites and African Americans tend to have lots of nicknames, too, so I'm hesitant to say it's a cultural thing.

What's the resident sports editor have to say on this point?


DrD said...

Actually, Wikipedia has a page devoted to baseball nicknames:

However, I could not find a corresponding page for pro football.


Ralph said...

You're trading into Morgan territory with your line on Hispanic nicknames. Actually, I'd like to here's Soup's thoughts on this.

DrD said...

That's funny, just as I was heading toward your comment, I thought to myself, "I wonder what Doug would have to say about this?"

Okay, Dude, get out of my head.

But, the thing is, I don't think that Hispanics have more nicknames than other cultures. I mean, think of all those Chris Berman nicknames.

I'm just trying to figure out why there seem to be so many in baseball. I keep coming back to the fact that 1) they don't wear facemasks (like in football) and 2) they stand still for the camera (unlike hockey and basketball).

And what's so bad about clever little people?


Ralph said...

You give them a TV and they make a radio out of it - isnt' that something Reggie White said. White, in fact, had one of the great football nicknames "The Minister of Defense" and he was in fact an ordained minister. Some other great football nicknames off the top of my head "Mean Joe," "Broadway Joe," "Too Tall," "Hollywood," and "White Shoes."

But you're right baseball may have more nicknames overall. My theory on that has to do with the whole pace of the game thing, that actually makes baseball more of a pastime than a sport. Because the game takes place at such a deliberate pace, there is simply more time to stand around, think, bullshit, and ulitimately come up with nicknames. This holds true I think from all angles, from that of the fans watching it, from that of the media reporting on it, and from that of the players in the game. Other sports, which are more intense, leave less time for nickname speculation. Although Dr. J. and Magic of course are in the Nickname Hall of Fame. Perhaps you could get one of your students to do a research paper on this....In fact, I smell a Professional Writing blog post cooking up here somewhere.