Monday, March 5, 2012

New York Yankee Wrestlemania

The Battle of Immortals.

My name is Bryan, and I'm a pro wrestling fan.

Phew. That felt great to get off of my chest. Now that I've admitted that I'm a pro wrestling fan, I feel like I can overcome that fact and go on to be somebody that can make a contribution to society. And I'm going to start doing that right now, by doing some fantasy booking and creating a Wrestlemania card involving members of the New York Yankees...

WWE Championship
"Captain" Derek Jeter vs. "The" Mariano Rivera (C)
w/ special-guest referee Jorge "All Bat, No Glove" Posada

This won't be a fast-paced match, but their ring psychology is second to none, which could make this the best match on the card. People will be talking about this one for years to come.

World Heavyweight Championship
Robinson "The Natural" Cano vs. "C-dog" Curtis Granderson (C)

Last year Granderson was the top-dog, being the face of WWE. But "The Natural" is still young and has all the tools to become the new champion. Either man could carry WWE in the future.

United States Championship
"Hero" Hiroki Kuroda vs. Ivan "The Terrible" Nova (C)

Last year Ivan Nova bursted upon the scene and fought his way to the United States championship, but this year many people believe he'll take a step back while newcomer "Hero" Hiroki Kuroda takes the title from Ivan.

Intercontinental Championship
"Smiling" Nick Swisher vs. Mark "Tex" Teixeira (C)

Fans normally don't buy into the good guy that smiles all the time anymore, but Nick Swisher's charisma is too much. Although "Tex" isn't what he used to be as an all-around wrestler, he still has a ton of power that opponents can't overcome. Who can forget when Houston fans threw garbage at Mark, as they can't stand a guy that's not from Texas calling himself "Tex"?

Diva's Championship
Eduarda E. Nunez vs. "Easy" Erica Chavez vs. Alexis "The Tragedy" Rodriguez (C)

Fans have certainly expressed their dislike of Alexis over the years, and even though she's had her fair share of injuries over the years, Ms. Rodriguez could still break out and beat anybody that dare challenges her. So Alexis' opponents already have a tough task, nevermind the fact that Eduarda and Erica are already battling to be noticed in the Diva's division.

Tag-Team Championship
"The Platoon" Raul Ibanez & Andruw Jones (C) vs. "Bigger and Blacker" CC Sabathia & Michael Pineda

It's not unusual to see a new team take the WWE by storm and get the tag titles quickly, as "The Platoon" did nearly a month ago. There's no doubting the power of Raul and Andruw, but the team of "Bigger and Blacker" could run roughshod over the current title holders. It's really just a matter of Pineda perfecting one more move in his arsenal.

Last Man Standing Match
Freddy "The Junkman" Garcia vs. "Philthy" Phil Hughes

Neither man asked for this match, and expected to be elsewhere in WWE at this time, but the powers that be are forcing them to prove they have what it's worth to remain with WWE. Will the wiley veteran be able to out-smart the young kid trying to work his way back up the card?

Money In The Bank Match
"The Lightning Kid" Brett Gardner vs. Russell "The Back-Stop" Martin vs. "Wildman" David Robertson vs. Rafael "No Chance (I opt-out)" Soriano vs. Cory Wade vs. Francisco Cervelli vs. Boone "Lefty" Logan vs. Cesar Cabral

Each competitor in this match will be fighting for a chance to be a future champion in WWE. You have the exciting in-ring style of "The Lightning Kid", a man that could be a key player in WWE's future... Russell Martin, somebody with a huge left-hand in Mr. Logan, two guys that could be feuding real soon in "Wildman" and "No Chance", and three more guys that aren't worth the time it would take to come up with silly nicknames for. Expect some big spots in this one.

For the price of a ticket behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, you too can see all this action live at Madison Square Garden on April 3rd, 2012! But don't worry, because if you can't make it to the show in person you can catch the action on pay-per-view by calling your cable or satellite provider.

See you in about a month!

Yankees Fans Unite's Interview With David Aardsma

Borrowed from our friends over at Yankees Fans Unite where they had an exclusive interview with David Aardsma, the latest New York Yankee. Enjoy!

Fishjam and I had the privilege of interviewing newly acquired Yankee David Aardsma. Aardsma went to Rice University where he set the school record in single-season and career saves in 2002-2003. He was also on the team that won the College World Series in 2003 where he notched two wins and a save.
Aardsma was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round (22nd overall) in 2003. He made the team with them in 2004 skipping Double-A and Triple-A.  He then bounced from several teams in trades landing with the Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox and then finally the Mariners. In 2009, he earned the closer role and had 2 great seasons with Seattle.  He saved 69 games with a 2.90 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 9.6 k/9 rate over the 2009 and 2010 seasons before suffering an injury that led to Tommy John surgery.   Aardsma was not offered arbitration by the Mariners and became a free agent.  On February 22nd he singed a one year deal with the Yankees with a club option for 2013.  Below is our interview with him.  Our questions are in BLUE.  Enjoy.
You struggled a bit in your early career, playing with 4 different teams from 2004-08. What finally clicked that led to your 2 great seasons in Seattle?
Things started clicking with the red sox in 08. I started to throw more strikes and attack hitters better, but with a mid-season groin pull it killed my second half attempting to pitch through it. In 09 I really worked with John Wettland and slowed myself down and focused on what I wanted to accomplish with every pitch. Learning how to slow myself down turned into much greater control of my self.
All Yankee fans know you are coming back from Tommy John Surgery, but you also had labral surgery on your hip last January – how is your hip now?
Hip has been good, really did a great job of strengthening it and since it hasn’t been an issue.
You had Tommy John surgery in July 2011 – where are you in your rehab? Have you begun throwing?
I’m throwing at 90 ft right now for about 5 min. I’ll increase length/duration every week or so.
Were you disappointed that Seattle didn’t offer a Major league contract after saving 69 games in 2009 & 2010?
I expected to get released (too much money if I had arbitration). I mean, in the back of my mind I would have liked them to be a little more aggressive with wanting me back but believe me, I’m excited and happy about being a Yankee. This is a special place to be.
You’ve always been a hard thrower in the 93-96 range. Explain what type of pitcher you are and what other pitches you throw.
I come right after you, make you hit the ball. I have had my fair share of walks but I don’t give them up easy. I also throw a split and slider.
You’ve enjoyed success vs. Left handed Hitters & Right Handers. Is your split-finger the pitch most effective vs. LH hitters?
I use it mainly as a strike out pitch or when I know they are sitting fastball.
When you injured your elbow, was it a gradual break-down or was there one specific pitch you threw where you just felt it pop?
After a game it was tight then got worst every game. It wasn’t one pitch like most guys.
Do you have any reservations or concerns with pitching in NY?
Not really. I’m more focused on getting healthy than anything after that. I also look forward to new challenges.
Do you expect to pitch in the Majors this year or are you realistically just trying to get yourself in 100% condition for 2013?
I’m focused on mid July as a return date. Every doc and trainer has told me plan on 12 months. I’m planning on being ready in July.

Spring Training Day 16

The Yankees once again played the Philadelphia Phillies today in the Grapefruit League. The biggest news , in my opinion, was that Eduardo Nunez got hit on the hand by a pitch and had to be sent to Tampa for x rays. Recently it came out that the X Rays were negative for Nunez and since he was not scheduled to play tomorrow anyway then I dont see any reason why he cannot be in his next scheduled game.

You know I was joking when I said that the biggest news of the day was Eduardo Nunez getting hit, right? Michael Pineda made his first start as a New York Yankees today, albeit in spring training, but we will take what we can get. Michael Pineda was using that new changeup grip a lot today and the results were better then anyone could have expected. Pineda pitched two scoreless innings, retiring his last 6 batters, giving up one hit, throwing lots of changeups, and he had two strikes outs. Shane Victorino was one of his strike out victims and it was on a changeup, while Thome struck out on a Pineda fastball. I know that the first outing in spring training means absolutely nothing but it still excites me. If he can harness and control this changeup we may have the best double headed monster at the top of a rotation that baseball has ever seen. In other news it was originally reported that Pineda came into camp 10 lbs over weight... well now he has lost 8 pounds of it.

Freddy Garcia came out today and said that he wanted to be a starting pitcher but was willing to move to the bullpen as a long reliever. I guess he does not really have a choice and feels it is better to be the bigger man then complain but still it is good to hear. This 5th spot in the rotation is Phil Hughes to lose in my opinion and, again I know the first spring outing means nothing but, after his performance yesterday you have to think he is going to the pen. He is getting up there in age and is labeled a "junk baller" with his low speed fastballs and relying on offspeed pitches and location. When does his luck run out?

The Yankees lost the game 9-3 today, by the way, but everyone stayed healthy and got their work in so that is always a win in my book.

Pineda's 1st Start Today

Whether you loved, hated, or felt indifferent about the trade that brought him to the Yankees, you can see Michael Pineda pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05pm EST today. The game will be shown on MLB Network.

I'm sure plenty of people will be waiting to either say "I knew it was a good trade" in support of the trade, or say "I knew it was a bad trade" against the deal. I won't be in either group, because to judge a player based on Spring Training performance is pretty weak. And that goes for what Jesus Montero may or may not do this spring too.

I'm looking forward to just seeing the guy throw in a Yankee uniform, and to see what he has in his arsenal. Although I'm sure we won't see that full arsenal in his first Spring Training start.