Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Super Bowl XLVIII Predictions

I suck at predictions, let's get that out of the way before we get going with this. This Super Bowl has all the makings of being really awesome, one of the best defenses against the best offensive attack maybe of all time. Both teams, including the playoffs, are 15-3 and seem to be as evenly matched as we could have possibly gotten. With that said I have never wen't against Peyton Manning and I will not start now, Broncos win.

DEN: 34
SEA: 21

As a butt man I always have to go with tails on any coin flip, in case you were wondering.

Franklin Set To Defend Title Returning For 8th Season

(Trenton, NJ)- The Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced on Thursday that Tony Franklin will return to ARM & HAMMER Park to manage the Thunder for an eighth consecutive season. Franklin, already the longest tenured skipper in the Thunder's 20 year history, is coming off his third Eastern League championship.  
Franklin will be joined in the dugout once again by pitching coach and former Major Leaguer Tommy Phelps who returns for a sixth season, as well as Strength and Conditioning Coach Orlando Crance who returns for a second year in Trenton. The coaching staff will include new additions Hitting Coach Marcus Thames, Coach Orlando Mercado and Trainer Lee Meyer
"Tony Franklin is a great asset to the Thunder and our community," said Thunder General Manager Will Smith. "The success that we've enjoyed on the field during his tenure is unprecedented and we're excited to see Tony back to defend last season's championship."
Franklin guided the Thunder to the 2013 Eastern League Championship in a run that included a perfect 6-0 record in the playoffs. He was at the helm for Trenton's back-to-back Eastern League Championships in 2007 and 2008 and has reached the EL Championship Series in five of his seven seasons. He owns a career managerial record of 1,160-1,040 (.527) including a record of 568-457 (.554) with Trenton (records include post-season). The skipper recorded his 1,000 career managerial win and was named Eastern League Manager of the Year in 2012.   
The 2013 Eastern League Championship was Franklin's fourth title as Manager. In 1993, he led South Bend (Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) to the Midwest League championship. Prior to his time in Trenton, Franklin was the Minor League Infield Instructor for the San Diego Padres. His managerial career began with the White Sox organization as the Manager for Geneva (NY) of the New York-Penn League in 1982. Franklin spent four seasons in Geneva, making the playoffs in 1985. After one season with Wytheville (Appalachian League), he guided the White Sox affiliate in the Florida State League, the Sarasota White Sox, to a playoff appearance in 1989. Franklin spent two years as the skipper of the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League, including 81 wins in 1991 and a berth in the Championship Series.
Tommy Phelps will return for his sixth season as the Pitching Coach for the Thunder. Phelps pitched for the Florida Marlins in 2003 and 2004 including a 2003 season in which he went 3-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 27 games (seven starts). He was part of a Marlins team that won the World Series over the Yankees. Phelps pitched in 29 games for Milwaukee in 2005 and went 7-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 2006 with Columbus (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees). Phelps was originally an eighth round pick by Montreal in the 1992 draft. 
New Thunder Hitting Coach Marcus Thames spent the 2013 season as the Hitting Coach for the Tampa Yankees. He played in 640 games over 10 years in the Major Leagues after making his MLB debut for the Yankees in 2002. He played for the Yankees (2002 and 2010), Rangers (2003), Tigers (2004-2009) and the Dodgers (2011). As a Minor Leaguer, Thames spent three seasons in the Eastern League (1999-2001).

Orlando Mercado joins Trenton as a Coach after spending the last three years as the Roving Catching Instructor for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Prior to that he was the Bullpen Coach for the Angels from 2003 to 2010. Mercado played all or part of eight seasons in the Major Leagues between 1982 and 1990 having suited up for the Mariners (1982-1984), Rangers (1986), Tigers (1987), Dodgers (1987), Athletics (1988), Twins (1989), Mets (1990), and Expos (1990). The former catcher spent all or part of 17 seasons in the Minor Leagues including one season in the Eastern League with the Lynn Sailors (1980).

Lee Meyer joins the Thunder as Athletic Trainer following two seasons with the Tampa Yankees. He previously worked one season with the Charleston RiverDogs and one season with the Staten Island Yankees.

Orlando Crance returns to Trenton for a second season as Strength and Conditioning Coach. He served in the same capacity for the Florida Marlins AA affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida in 2010 and previously for the Savannah Sand Gnats (Class A, Mets). 
The Thunder will begin the 2014 season at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday, April 3. Season tickets, group outings, Pic-A-Plans, and Mini Plan renewals are on sale now. Single game tickets will go on sale on March 1, 2014. For more information about tickets, fans should call 609-394-3300 or visit

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original article can be seen HERE

A Closer Look At Brian Roberts

A lot of Yankees fans have shrugged off the team's signing of Brian Roberts. They see a guy that's missed a ton of time in the past few years, and they immediately think of other options at second base. While I understand that line of thinking, as it's hard to lean on a guy that's missed a total of 446 games since 2010 due to injury, we could be in for a nice surprise.

"I love surprises!"

Between 2003 and 2009, Brian Roberts suffered from minor injuries to just about every part of his body. The only big issue came in 2005 when a dislocation of his left elbow led to Tommy John surgery. However, it's worth noting that of all the ailments he's had since then, not one of them had to do with that elbow. And since it's been over eight years since that surgery, I think it's safe to say that Brian's elbow is just fine.

Even though Roberts had issues all over his body in those seven seasons, he missed a total of only 52 games, which works out to less than eight a year. In fact, even if you count regular days off during that time period, Brian ended up appearing in an average of 146 games a season.

And what did Brian do during those seven years? Well, he only hit .288/.362/.430. Oh, and it's worth noting that Roberts was an above average defender at second base as well.

Of course, you can't ignore the fact that Roberts was between the ages of 25 and 31 during those seven years, and you shouldn't expect a 36 year-old coming off various injuries to match those statistics. The point I'm trying to make is that, when healthy, there's every reason to believe that Brian could be a valuable piece to the puzzle that is the Yankees' 2014 season.

And therein lies the catch... "when healthy". Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Brian Roberts has had problems with his lower back, abdomen, lower leg, hip, knee, head, neck, thigh, and face. One of the four surgeries he's had in the last three years was on his hip labrum, which not only cost him 103 days, but is something that can certainly linger. Hopefully the 77 games since without any problems indicates that his hip is good to go.

Then you have the surgery performed on him last May for his right hamstring. Certainly not something to scoff at, although he played 74 games in July, August, and September without missing any time due to lingering effects.

By the way, the other two surgeries were for a root canal and offseason surgery for a sports hernia. Two things that aren't concerning to me.

Four surgeries in three years? Yikes. 

Well, I guess there's some optimism regarding his ability to play after those surgeries. But what about the other large chunks of missed time since the beginning of 2010? Let's take a look...

In the early part of the 2010 season, Roberts suffered a strained abdomen stealing second base. Then, late in the season, he gave himself a concussion due to hitting himself in the head with own bat. The first injury is not an indication of a true problem to me. I mean, Brian could have avoided the ab injury by simply sliding feet-first like most players. It's not something that tells me he's brittle. And as for hitting himself in the head with his own bat? I think we can chalk that up to a momentary lapse in judgement that can easily be avoided.

Unfortunately, the following season, Brian had yet to learn his lesson of not sliding head-first, as he suffered a concussion due to it. Not only that, but he slid head-first into first base. Sliding head-first in and of itself is unnecessary. But head first? Ugh! Please tell me Roberts has learned his lesson.

Most of his missed games in 2012 came from the fact he was still recovering from his previous concussions, and not from something new. Brian came back for a short time when his recovery was finished, but decided to have season-ending hip surgery... which I discussed earlier.

I touched on his hamstring surgery earlier as well, which he had in 2013. What I didn't mention was that that injury happened while stealing second base. Which means a third injury involving sliding. Maybe he hasn't learned, and we should all worry whenever Roberts starts a slide.

Overall though, the only thing that really worries me is the hip issue, as that's something that can come back to haunt him later. The other stuff was suffered due to injuries that any player could have happen. Hideki Matsui missed 111 games in 2006 due to breaking his arm sliding to make a catch in left field, but that didn't make him an injury risk (it was Matsui's knees that were the problem). Sometimes you just run into some bad luck. To be fair, Roberts has run into a butt-load of bad luck.

The severity of such a thing depends on the size of the butt.

You could say that Roberts' body is weak and more susceptible to injury than others, but as long as he plays smarter then he could be fine. By "smarter" I mean not hitting himself in the head with his own bat, not sliding head-first into bases, and being more careful sliding... period. Which are all things that are not hard to change, at least with a bit of coaching.

So while Brian hasn't had a healthy season since 2009, and he's unlikely to match what he did before then in 2014, he could still put up a respectful batting line. I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit .270/.335/.420, which at $2 million would be a heck of a steal.

Meet A Prospect Ian Clarkin

The Yankees used one of their three first rounds picks, this time the 33rd overall, to pick Ian Clarkin out of Madison High School. His Yankees career did not start off as well as he would have hoped after previously that night stating that he hated the Yankees and enjoyed watching us lose the 2001 World Series. Little did he know that he would be apologizing later that night after the Yankees drafted him and the fans back lashed a bit. The big 6'2" 190 lb left hander has huge upside and was considered to be a huge steal for the Yankees even after quotes of him not signing unless he got "life changing money" although I wonder when over $1,000,000 was not life changing but maybe that's the poor guy in me speaking. Either way Clarkin signed above slot and is now a proud member of the Yankees organization.

We all have to remember that Clarkin was drafted due to his upside and not his readiness to step in and dominate now. Clarkin is still considered to be raw with sketchy command but his upside and high ceiling make him worth the risk in the end. Clarkin's fastball velocity sits around 90-92 MPH but will probably sit around 95 MPH when he fully develops physically. While he is considered to be below average with his command, even with his fastball, he still shows signs of life with his command from time and time. His curve ball is considered to be his best pitch right now and will be a plus plus pitch for him if he fully develops it. His 12-6 curve ball right now still needs work as sometimes it buckles knees and other times bounces a few feet in front of the plate. His projection is that he will be a power pitching above average command pitcher but right now he is still fine tuning all of these things.

In my opinion Clarkin's ceiling is as a #2 starter although I see a comparison with Phil Hughes when he is right. Clarkin is a big guy who repeats his delivery well but changed his arm angle and release point too much right now to consider him in the ace range. Then again he is so far away from the majors right now and so much can change between now and the time he will reach the majors so it is anyone's guess at this point.

Clarkin's professional debut was delayed due to, what else, injuries and kept him from playing in every game this year but three. Clarkin had obvious rust issues while putting up a 10.80 ERA in his three starts for the Gulf Coast Yankees 1 rookie team while only logging five innings. In those five innings Clarkin allowed five hits, six runs, two home runs, four walks, four strike outs, and a whopping 1.80 WHIP. Obviously not the start Clarkin wanted to have in his professional and Yankees debut but we have plenty of time for Clarkin to work with our instructors and coaches and get it right. In my eyes I see Clarkin coming up sometime during the 2017 season and full time in the 2018 season. Clarkin projects now to be a top of the rotation starter so the Yankees should do everything they can and have to in order to keep it that way because you cannot teach the skills and stuff that Ian Clarkin possesses.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #58 Ron Guidry

Ron Guidry spent his entire 14 year career as a member of the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Guidry posted double digit wins in nine consecutive seasons starting in the 1977 season. Guidry won 20 games three times in his career, the final time in 1985 when he went 22-6 leading the American League in wins. Guidry also finished in second place for the Cy Young Award voting that season. Guidry was also named a co captain of the team with Willie Randolph. Guidry finished with 170 victories in his career which was good for fourth on the Yankees all times win list for a starting pitcher.

58 days until Yankees Opening Day

Prospects Month: Top 28 Yankees Prospects List #27

Continuing our look at The Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 prospects list as a part of Prospects Month we name our #27 prospect, Ben Gamel!

Here is the complete up to date list. Check back every day as the list fills out and we continue our look at the prospects in the New York Yankees system during Prospects Month here on TGP.

27. Ben Gamel
28. Angelo Gumbs

Exclusive Interview With Beat Writer Robert Pimpsner

Yesterday, as a part of Prospects Months here on The Greedy Pinstripes, we shared out interview with Nick Rumbelow of the Staten Island Yankees and today we interview one of the many men covering Nick, Mr. Robert Pimpsner. Robert is a well dressed, good food eating, MLB The Show playing beat writer for the Staten Island Yankees and does a marvelous job covering the team and the players. Check out what the best dressed man in show biz has to say with us in our interview:

The Greedy Pinstripes: Being born and raised in Staten Island were you a Yankees fan growing up? Or were you brainwashed into being a Mets fan like so many at a young age?

Robert Pimpsner: I was always a baseball fan first.  Growing up in a family of Met fans I do have an appreciation for them but I will forever be a Yankees fan first.

TGP: Did you play any sports growing up as a kid?

RP: Growing up I played soccer and Tee-ball, I was not much of an athlete but tried.

TGP: What made you want to cover baseball from this side of the field?

RP: It is something I fell into.  I always had a love for writing and baseball is one of those things where I can get away from the world so it was just a natural fit.

TGP: Do you or do you not have the best job in the world covering baseball every single day? I am going to go with the former over the latter but I would like to hear your thoughts. 

RP: It is a fun job, something I wish I could do full-time.  I have had many great experiences covering the team and have met a lot of great people.  Nothing beats the first week of the season where you are catching up with the regulars whether it be media members or ticket holders at the stadium.

For the most part there is very high turnover year-after-year in the media contingent.  I am the second longest beat writer covering the team, having been around since 2002.  Only the Staten Island Advance beat writers have been there longer.  With that I enjoy helping out the new writers who are getting their first taste of covering a professional team. 

TGP: How did you get involved with baseball and covering the Staten Island Yankees specifically?

RP: It is actually an interesting story.  Back in 2002 I was pretty good friends with two pitchers on the team, Matt Brumitt and Ryan Bicondoa, and one day towards the end of the 2002 season we were talking by the bullpen before a game and they mentioned that their families were having trouble staying up-to-date on their progress.

This is when I was 13 years old and I was experimenting with web design back then so I came up with the idea for a website.  With that was born.  I ran that website from 2003-2009, I was a junior at St John’s University at the time and decided it was time to move on.  That is when I joined with Gotham Baseball and Going 9 Media who at the time ran

I was with them until 2011 when I started working full-time in marketing.  I tried to stay away in 2011 but the game called to me and I worked only 6 games that year (4 in Brooklyn, 2 in Staten Island) and I decided that in 2012 I would launch my own site again.  In less than a week I got Pinstriped Prospects up and running and it went well for the first year, that was until I lose everything on the sever and my computer as well as all my backups crashed.

I decided to take 2013 to try to rebuild it slowly, I am still working on the new design and look for the website.  While I was working on that I came up with the idea to use the visual storytelling techniques I love to use in advertising to tell the story of the games so I reached out to my close friend Rob at Bronx Baseball Daily with the idea.  We ran with it for the 2013 season and it was a big success.  As of right now I am not sure if Pinstriped Prospects will be ready for 2014 but I am looking at several options on what I might do this year in regards to baseball.  I say stay tuned to my Twitter account as whatever I decided will be announced there.

TGP: Best/Favorite moment covering the SI Yanks? Doesn't necessarily have to be related to the game itself. 

RP: There are several moments that stand out from my time covering the Staten Island Yankees.  I have been there for all the brawls in team history but the most interesting one was in 2006 when Gaylen Pitts was manager of the team.  On AUgust 21st the Staten Island Yankees were playing the Brooklyn Cyclones at Keyspan Park (now MCU Park).  Early on in the first inning Pitts was ejected from the game but by the eighth inning the Yankees had a 21-6 lead over Brooklyn.  Tempers flared in the eighth and both benches cleared.  With the players dueling on the field out came Pitts in a ripped tank top, shorts and flip flops to fight.  That has always been one of the most entertaining moments in team history.

TGP: Ripped tank top, shorts, and flip flops and ready to fight... I have now officially heard it all in sports, thank you Robert. That literally made me laugh, and the wife thought it was "cute" as well. 

TGP: Did you get to meet and speak with Hideki Matsui when he threw batting practice for the SI Yankees this past season?

RP: I had the chance to speak with him but I did not take the opportunity.  As much of a Yankees fan I am I figure I let him be, the media that follows him around pretty much asks any question I could think of.  But it was cool to watch him take BP before the final home game.

TGP: What current and former Yankees have you seen, spoke with, and covered down in the New York Penn League?

RP: Well this list is pretty long, there are many I have met including Yankees GM Brian Cashman, Gene Michaels, etc.  I have been around the Staten Island Yankees long enough to be around Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Preston Claiborne.  The list is long, it was fun sharing the dugout with Phil Hughes during his rehab as well as the other rehabbing players.

TGP: Are you the best dressed beat writer in the history of beat writing?

RP: Well I do have my own unique style.  As you might be able to tell from my Twitter and Instagram I like suits.  It is something that I always loved since I was a kid (I know I am weird).  I say my style is sort of a mix between classic Rat Pack and Harvey Specter. 

I am always the most overdressed person in the press box, while my colleagues are in jeans and t-shirt I am there in a tailored suit complete with French cuff shirts and vintage cufflinks.  Last season I was in the camera wells for most games so I pretty much stuck to a collared shirt and slacks since it does get hot down there, the only downside is cleaning the clay off my shoes every night. 

TGP: Any other hobbies you enjoy doing besides baseball? 

RP: I work full-time in the marketing/advertising field.  That is something I really love to do and I stay very active in it.  In my free time I am always researching the latest in the field as well as trying to learn more about building websites and applications.

I am also a big believer in giving back to the community and with that in mind I volunteer as the Alumnus Advisor for the chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity I founded with my friends in college as well as do a lot of volunteering in the NYC area with them.  I enjoy working the undergraduates a lot as it allows me to teach them some of the things I have learned along the way.

TGP: Scrolling through your Twitter pictures I noticed you made beef wellington and it looks amazing. Are you a foodie?

RP: I would say yes I am a foodie but I am more of a cook.  I love to cook and there is nothing that relaxes me more than coming home after work going to the store to get fresh ingredients and then making something spectacular in my kitchen.  My beef wellington recipe started off as copying Gordon Ramsay’s recipe that I had at his restaurant in Las Vegas but I have since made changes to reflect my tastes and gotten good reviews of it so far.

TGP: How excited are you about this coming season with all the new additions to the Yankees squad?

RP: This is going to be an interesting year for the Yankees on all fronts.  At the major league level I am very excited for spring training and to see what Tanaka can do.  I have yet to see any film of him pitching so I am very interested.  I want to see some more of the young guys get a chance but I also want to win.

TGP: If you were GM for a day, and this doesn't have to necessarily be realistic, what one move would you make?

RP: I want to put together a long-term vision on how to be competitive in the future for years and decades not just individual seasons.  For that I would sacrifice a year or two to build up a competitive minor league system that pumps out quality player after quality player.  But I know that isn’t realistic in New York.  So for a day I would love to see the Yankees use the open spots in the bullpen to let all the young kids pitch.  I want to see Betances in the majors this year and give him a shot out of the pen.

TGP: Most famous person in your cell phone right now?

RP: Ahh I don’t like to reveal that.

TGP: Most embarrassing song in your iPod?

RP: Well I don’t own an iPod (I have a distaste for Apple products) but on my BlackBerry I have some Taylor Swift that some would consider embarrassing.

TGP: Boo! Long live Apple!

TGP: We'll finish with this, where do you want to end up in your career? What is your ultimate goal?

RP: My ultimate goal is to have my own company that is broken down into a sports/entertainment division, a marketing agency division and a publications division.  I am actually starting to put together my business plan for it together and will try to build it slowly.  I invite everyone to check out my personal website/blog at

We want to thank Mr. Pimpsner for taking the time out of his schedule to do this interview for us, it is much appreciated from all the writers here as well as our readers. It is appreciated and we hope you have nothing but luck and success in everything you do both on and off the field. You can follow Robert on Twitter by following @RPimpsner.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/2

On this day in 2009 the world learned just how much of a crook Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig really was. A report was released by the Sports Business Journal showing that Bud's salary for the 2007 season was $18.35 million. This would make him better paid than most of the superstars in the game at that time with the exception of Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Roger Clemens. Conveniently those four were all on the Yankees at the time of the report.

Maybe that is why Bud hates the Yankees so much, the whole "I don't like things bigger than me" thing.