Friday, January 24, 2014

BREAKING: Fox Buys Majority Stake In YES Network

Fox has a deal in place to buy the majority of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, more commonly known as the YES Network. 21st Century Fox went from 49% to 80% with the remaining 20% staying with the Yankee Global Enterprises. The YES Network is now a fully consolidated 21st Century Fox entity, George Steinbrenner was truly a businessman and his dreams are paying off literally.

Fox has announced that CEO Tracy Dolgrin will remain in the same role with the YES Network, that is always nice. The purchase has not been finalized, the sale must meet regulatory approvals, but once it is approved the purchase should be finalized by the end of the first quarter in 2014. Nothing has been announced but the YES Network could be re-branded after the takeover into Fox Sports New York or some other variation, and that sucks.

Yankees Trade David Huff To Giants For Cash

The New York Yankees have traded recently designated left handed pitcher David Huff to the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations. Huff did a great job for us last season out of the bullpen as a fifth starter piggy back with Phil Hughes and will bring another left handed option to the Giants team. Huff was DFA'd to make room for the recently signed Masahiro Tanaka. I am not going to lie I was secretly hoping that Huff would clear waivers and come back but that's not going to happen, time to move on.

Bring Maw Den a Peashootah, 'cause #MongoNation is on the move, uhkay? The (in)complete history of #MongoNation.

*all typos are in Zaunglish. Only Mongos would get it. Everyone else, I hope you have a sense of humor, otherwise "get lawst...and do some charity werk, uhkay?"

Yesterday, a case just over six years old finally received closure, as Eric Rivera Jr., the man who murdered Sean Taylor back in November 2007, was sentenced to 57 years in prison. I want to go back to the immediate aftermath of Taylor's tragic death for an entirely different reason however. On December 2nd, 2007, the "sportspope" YouTube account posted a video of Mike and the Mad Dog "dissecting" (a.k.a. drawing the entirely wrong conclusions on motive) the Sean Taylor murder case. Before this, plenty of radio hosts like Don Imus would get tape of Mike and Doggy fighting on the air and laugh and make fun of them, but to me, this video is one of the first RECORDED moments of Mike, well, being Mike on da aih.

I thought that it was ironic that the beginning of what has turned into a colossal social media powerhouse began with Sean Taylor, and today, the day after his murderer has finally been brought to justice and thrown behind bars, Mike Francesa, for the first time, historically drew attention, in a POSITIVE LIGHT, to his vast "cult following," (as he called it) #MongoNation.

I've been listening to Zaun (da artist fawmally known as "Dupp") on WFAN since I was a little kid. I knew he was a must listen after a Yankee championship, a Jet loss, or even better, a Jets win/Giants loss weekend. Never could I have imagined that TEN, let alone, a "yooge" group of people followed, adored, hell (da heck), WORSHIPPED da Spawts Pope like I did. #MongoNation is a family, hands down.

There were the impressionists over the years; people in their cars tawkin Jeetuh in their best Francesa Lawn Guyland accents, the "Racist Francesa" that called into Opie and Anthony every once in a while. There were the parody websites that went on for years since Mike and Dog first got the YES simulcast. Then, Mike Franceser (@mikefranceser) introduced us to a whole new vocabulary: "Georgia Roddy," "Mock Tecks Shearer,""Joper Turnah." Then came the definitive videos from @WFANAudio. But like all fan clubs, it went a step further. One twittuh dared wonder, "There's a Mike Francesa in all of us. What would he have been tawkin about during some of Americar's most historic moments?"

Yes, @BizzaroZaun and WaitUhSeckin Productions traveled back to the past to see Mike compare General Cornwallis to Alexander the Great like Derek Jeter to Mickey Mantle. It was back then that the first John Hancock joke was invented, who woulda thought?! Mike didn't know who Al Albuquerque was in 2011; he didn't know who Harriet Tubman was in 1862! Guys, did you know that before he became a SF Giants fan, Mad Dog was a fan of the Germans?! It's amazing how we learn something new every day.

We've even put Mike in different cities after teams lose in the playoffs. Never have I been more upset than the day the Miami Heat beat the Spurs in Game 7, more because the would-be classic #MiamiZaun hashtag and audio had to be put to bed. Hopefully the Pacers beat them in the Eastern Conference Finals...and hopefully we have #SeattleZaun by 10 p.m. next Sunday. Never have I been more happy then the day I was knighted by @WFANAudio with my Zaun-style nickname, Kneeled Wire.

Over time, we Mike Zaun fans have watched our feahless leader grow from just an ordinary talk show host analyzing batting averages (Albert Belle) to exercising authority over some of the first mongos (ANDY PETTITE IS A STARTIN PITCHAH; HE'S MARIANO RIVERA!) and fellow employees (It's nevah youah, Jim; PETAH, YOOSE YA NOOGIN...uh YA NOODLE HEAH!) His hahd-hittin analysis has transcended time and space, and has even caused some of the best athletes in New Yawk (Revis) to stop in awe and wonderment of Pope Zaun (just kidding, Revis hung up on him.)

Mike has also taught us the value of honor and standing up for what you believe in. No one in the media (that I've seen) has defended A-Rod except Mike. Mike's seen that the baseball machine has sought out a scapegoat for their misdeeds, and has fought with every writer on the air, much to the delight of the fans (great radio!)

If I had to try and describe the relationship between the fans and Mike, I'd call it a brother-brother (Harbaw-Harbaw) relationship. Mike's the little brother that the older brother has to toughen up and make fun of, but if anyone (Michael Kay, Keith Olbermann, ESPN) tries to pick a fight, the fans are the first to step in and defend Zaun. This family of #MongoNation has grown from die-hard Francesa fans to include writers like Bernie Augustine, (Bernie got to interview the @mikefranceser guys for the Daily News) Brian Monzo (Mike's producer), a true friend of #MongoNation interacting with mongos every day, and even introducing Mike to the "Numbah One" Francesacon shirt, (as if Mike didn't already know about it) and even Mike's own family, who as he said loved the shirts!

#MongoNation is such a force that all the Zaun hashtags have repeatedly trended nationally!

This is the incomplete Mongo Nation history. There will be many more years of laughs, song parodies and love for New Yawk's Numbah One. The day he retires will be a day of mourning for us all. Radio will never sound the same without that re-assuring, grandfatherly voice full of wisdom at 1 p.m. telling all of New Yawk (and the country via the YES Network) that Mike's on. We'll still listen on the radio during his brief TV departure, only to be huddled up by our televisions once again to watch da Pope sit back in his chaih, chug some Diet Coke (DC) stare into the camera and remind everyone that he'll be "Back Aftah Dis."

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

P.S. If you haven't got it by now, Mike Zaun="Mike's On"+ a thick Lawn Guyland accent.

Masahiro Tanaka Will Wear #19 For The Yankees In '14

Masahiro Tanaka will wear #19 for the New York Yankees in 2014 ending the debate about Hiroki Kuroda possibly giving up his #18 uniform. Many good Yankees have worn #19 including Bob Turley, Dave Righetti, Whitey Ford for one season, Aaron Boone, Luis Sojo, and Bubba Crosby our starting center fielder.

Williams & Sanchez Place In MLB Top 100 has released their annual list of the Top 100 prospects in baseball and two New York Yankees, Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez, cracked the list. Sanchez makes his spot on the list at #47 while Williams comes in at the #75 spot. Masahiro Tanaka will be eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award this year but was not eligible for this list for whatever reason since he played so much in Japan.

The Twins Byron Buxton tops the list as expected. The Red Sox, Astros, and Cubs have 23 out of the top 100 prospects which speaks volumes to how strong their farm systems are. Sanchez was ranked as the fourth best catcher in all of baseball and Yankees first basemen Greg Bird ranked seventh at his position.

Alex Rodriguez In A Sombrero

This story tell itself...

The '13 Andy Pettitte Connection To '14 Hiroki Kuroda

It has been well documented here on The Greedy Pinstripes and all across the Yankee Universe that Hiroki Kuroda has faded the last two seasons in the Bronx and I think I have the solution to prevent it from being a third times the charm type of scenario. Andy Pettitte was the oldest pitcher in 2013 and did not suffer from the loss of velocity or the loss of command and control of his pitches like Kuroda did, he actually seemed to get stronger as the season went on although some of that could be chalked up to adrenaline. Could we not follow the same protocol and such with this years oldest pitcher in the majors, Hiroki Kuroda, to prevent a similar melt down in the stats department?

Before coming to the Bronx the most innings that Kuroda had thrown in his Major League career with the Los Angeles Dodgers had been 202 IP, although he had only thrown 699 IP in his entire four year Dodgers career. In two seasons in pinstripes Kuroda has already thrown 421 IP and has set a new career high with 219.2 IP in 2012. The number would have been a whole lot more had it not been for those aforementioned well documented melt downs in late August and through September the last two seasons. This could have been a lot more of a glaring problem has Kuroda not pitched six or less innings in seven of his last 10 starts due to the meltdown. Pettitte pitched six or less innings in five of his final eleven starts, August and September, but Pettitte had a 6-5 record in those games where as Kuroda had a 3-7 record down the stretch.

Andy Pettitte on the other hand threw only 185.1 IP in 2013 including a complete game on his final start of his career down in Houston on the second to the last day of the season. While Pettitte's career high in IP in a single season was 240.1 that was way back in 1997. Pettitte had not gone over the 200 IP mark since the 2008 season, including his retirement in 2011 where he did not pitch at all, but his stats did not seem to suffer all that much from it. Pettitte did win a World Series titles in 2009 including pitching in all three of the series clinching games and getting the win with his reduced workload that came with age.

Using Baseball Reference we can see that Kuroda averaged 100 pitcher per start in 2013 and 101 pitcher per start in 2012. Using the same sources we see that Pettitte only averaged 97 pitches per start in 2013 and 94 pitcher per start in 2012. It is also worth noting that before Pettitte averaged 103 pitches in 2009 he did not average over 100 pitches per start since the 2003 season. A few pitches here or there over the course of a long season could be the difference between skipping a start or two, pitch wise, and can make the world of differences. Kuroda went over the 100 pitch mark 21 times in 2013 while Pettitte only did 14 times. It is worth noting also that both men had 11 wins in 2013 so the reduction in pitches should not affect Kuroda as a pitcher that much.

In closing Hiroki is not a spring chicken anymore and has a ton of innings on his arm, treat him like it. Joe Girardi is constantly throwing Kuroda out there like his stud 25 year old ace and not like the 39 year old pitcher that he is. Kuroda should not be throwing complete games much anymore and should not be pushing the 200 IP barrier before September even begins anymore, he is 39 not 29. Kuroda is great but Kuroda has earned the right to be babied and the load on his shoulders lightened as he gets older, not increased. If the Yankees want Kuroda to be fresh all season long and into the playoffs potentially then they need to take a page out of their own books and pretend the #46 is on his back and not the #18 because Kuroda cannot do it anymore for 200+ innings. Eight innings or less, 100 pitches or less, and one more ring and a ride into the sunset for Kuroda and the Yankees.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: # 67 Don Baylor

Don Baylor was the American League Most Valuable Player with the California Angels in 1979 before coming to the New York Yankees in 1983. Baylor was in pinstripes for three seasons from 1983-1985 and won his first of three American League Silver Slugger Awards at the designated hitter position in 1983. Baylor hit 21 home runs and drove in 85 RBI's that season. Baylor received the Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding play and stellar community involvement in 1985, his final year in pinstripes.

67 days until Yankees Opening Day.

Red Sox Johnny Gomes Talking Smack To Yankees

Johnny Gomes and his band of bearded misfits won the World Series last year, yeah we get it. Gomes has been talking smack about the Yankees after going on an offseason spending spree that included bringing in Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Matt Thornton, etc. Gomes was quoted as saying that the Red Sox "still have the belt" after winning their third World Series in 10 seasons. How cute are you Mr. Gomes?

Here are some quotes from Gomes courtesy of ESPN Boston:

“People can go out and sign whoever they want right now,’’ Johnny Gomes said, according to an ESPN Boston report. “Boxing rules, we still have the belt."

"Kind of flattering a little bit, you know, that [a division] rival has to reload as much as they did," he was quoted saying. "We lost some core players; at the same time, this organization is extremely deep. The majority of our core group of guys is back. We’re champs. We have to uphold that title. I don’t think the mindset is going to change.’’

This is cute coming from a guy who just lost his job to a guy who hasn't really played in the majors since 2011. Johnny Gomes please just go sit over there and we will call you when we need you, thanks.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/24

Nada. Again. How boring.. Sign somebody today!