Wednesday, October 1, 2014

After "Crazy" Season, Drew Unsure If He'll Succeed Jeter

Free Agent Shortstop Stephen Drew is unsure if he'll be the one to succeed Derek Jeter next season.

Drew, who hit just .162 with 7 home runs and 26 RBIs in 85 games this year with the Red Sox and Yankees, is coming off a blatantly bad 2014, a fact that definitely makes his recent observation understandable.

“I don’t know who it’s going to be, but whoever it is, you have to realize how special it is to play there and that you’re not Derek,’’ Drew told The New York Post yesterday. “That’s the biggest thing. If you try to be like him — whoever it might be — you’re not him.’’

Indeed that's true. Nonetheless, considering Jeter only batted .256 this season it probably wouldn't be much of a downgrade if Drew were to take over for the longtime Yankee Captain, even if his performance this year was obviously less-than-desirable.

“This year was totally crazy,” Drew said. “I’m looking forward to a normal offseason. But I really like New York. They have something special here. We’ll see how things play out.’’

Going into the upcoming winter, Drew is just one of many players whose future with the Yankees is uncertain, with fellow veterans Chase Headley, Ichiro Suzuki, and Chris Young also falling into that category. Still, since Drew seems to have some offensive potential left it wouldn't be that bizarre if he were to be given a second chance next spring, as doing so likely wouldn't cost the team much money.

Derek Jeter Forms The "Players Tribune" Online Newspaper

Here is the press release from the Players Tribune:

(New York, NY, October 1, 2014) Derek Jeter today announced the creation of The Players’ Tribune, an innovative multimedia digital company where world-class athletes will share their unfiltered, honest and unique perspectives, bringing fans closer to the games they love. Jeter is the company’s Founding Publisher.
The Players’ Tribune will provide fans with unprecedented access to top athletes across every sport. The platform gives athletes the tools to develop and create quality content ranging from first-person written features to videos, podcasts, photo galleries, polls and more, and will cover topics from sports commentary to lifestyle and popular culture. The Players’ Tribune will provide an authentic and holistic perspective from the athletes themselves. In the coming days and weeks, The Players’ Tribune will announce All-Star professional athlete contributors and will enlist more athletes to become part of this new platform.
“I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows,’” said Jeter, in an original letter shared on The Players’ Tribune website this morning. “We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.”
Legendary Entertainment, a prominent producer of film, television and digital content joins Jeter and The Players’ Tribune as a partner providing creative support as well as capital. Legendary was founded and is run by Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull, an avid sports fan, who translated his love of baseball into the widely popular film 42, chronicling the heroic efforts of Jackie Robinson as he worked to break through baseball’s color barrier. Tull is also a Board Member of The Baseball Hall of Fame and part of the ownership group of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Legendary Entertainment is known for producing such blockbuster franchises as GODZILLA, PACIFIC RIM, INCEPTION, 300 and CLASH OF THE TITANS along with THE DARK KNIGHT and HANGOVER series of films. Legendary also operates the online destination, a site designed to showcase all things for the fandom demographic, from news to original content. Legendary also produces content via its Legendary Digital banner.
“I have had the privilege of knowing Derek for a number of years,” said Tull. “His idea of providing athletes with a platform to communicate directly with their fans and the world at large is a forum that we are excited about.”
Gary Hoenig, former Editorial Director of ESPN Publishing and a founding editor of ESPN The Magazine, serves as Editorial Director of The Players’ Tribune and is shaping the team of editors who will help the athletes share their voice on a regular basis. Maureen Cavanagh, former Photography Director for Sports Illustrated, is the Creative Director and Sarah Turcotte, former Senior Writer/General Editor at ESPN The Magazine, is the Executive Editor. Alex Rose, a seasoned sports content strategist, is the company’s General Manager and Mark Grande is the Vice President, Content and Strategy.
“We have the chance to close the gulf between players and athletes and bring us all closer together,” said Hoenig. “It’s a great opportunity to change the playing field in a positive way.”

Looking Back at the Yankees Leaders from 2014

The 2014 season is over and the Yankees finished with an 84-77 record. Let's take a look at how they got there.

Games Played:

149 games for Jacoby Ellsbury followed closely by Brett Gardner's 148 and Derek Jeter's 145.  

At Bats:

Derek Jeter had the most at bats this season finishing with 581.

Runs Scored:

No player scored 100 runs but Carlos Beltran came close with 87. 


Jacoby Ellsbury led the way with 156 hits and barely edges Martin Prado's 151 with Arizona and New York. 


Jacoby Ellsbury led the way with 27 doubles with Prado came in second once again with 26 with both teams.

Home Runs:

The Bronx Bombers were led by 23 home runs from Brian McCann and 22 home runs from Mark Teixeira. 


Brian McCann actually overtook Jacoby Ellsbury's total late and led the way with 75 RBI.


Ichiro Suzuki leads the team with a .284 batting average but did not qualify for the batting race. Jacoby Ellsbury had a .271 batting average for the Yankees which was the best unless you include Martin Prado and his combined .282 average between the American and National League. 


Masahiro Tanaka led the pitching staff in wins by two over Hiroki Kuroda when he finished with 13 victories. Oh, and he missed two months of time. 


Brandon McCarthy lost 15 games this season, most of them with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Hiroki Kuroda lost nine games with the Yankees in 2014. 


Dellin Betances had the best ERA on the team with a 1.40 ERA this season. Michael Pineda finished the season with a 1.89 ERA in limited action. Masahiro Tanaka finished with a 2.77 ERA after getting roughed up in Boston on his last start of the season. 


Brandon McCarthy struck out 175 batters this season combined while Hiroki Kuroda struck out 146. Tanaka missed two months and still came in third with 141 K's on the season. Dellin Betances struck out the most of any Yankee reliever in the franchise's history with 135 in one season. 

David Robertson finished with 39 saves. That 40th save would have mean't millions, literally. 

Derek Jeter Fan Tribute: An Awesome Flipbook

This is totally awesome, whoever did this is extremely talented. Kudos and #RE2PECT

Fixing the Pace of Play Issue

Nine days ago Major League Baseball formed the "Pace of Game Committee" to study the pace of play, with the goal of decreasing the time of the game and increasing the pace of it.

"It's only the 2nd inning?!?!"

For the first time in the history of MLB, the average game time got above three hours this season. At the same time, scoring was at its lowest point since 1976. Those two things by themselves are bad for the game's popularity, but put them together and the game has a big problem.

One problem with the pace of play has to do with instant replay. You've seen it plenty of times this season... A manager will slowly walk out of his dugout to speak with an umpire about a play, while one of the assistant coaches looks at the play to decide whether to challenge it. Eventually, the play is challenged, and the replay is looked at for a minute or so and then decided on. Some feel that a replay official should challenge the play sooner, thus eliminating the previous scenario from playing out... wasting time.

Well, unfortunately the committee, nor MLB, has put anything in place to fix the instant replay thing. However, they have come up with a few new rules to speed up play, and those rules will be tested out during the Arizona Fall League.

Those rules are...
  1. Batter's Box Rule: The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter's box throughout his at-bat, unless one of a series of established exceptions occurs, in which case the batter may leave the batter's box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate. (Exceptions include a foul ball or a foul tip; a pitch forcing the batter out of the batter's box; “time” being requested and granted; a wild pitch or a passed ball; and several others.)
  2. No-Pitch Intentional Walks: In the event a team decides to intentionally walk a batter, no pitches shall be thrown. Instead, the manager shall signal to the home plate umpire with four fingers, and the batter should proceed to first base to become a runner.
  3. 20-Second Rule [AT 17 SALT RIVER FIELDS HOME GAMES ONLY]: A modified version of Rule 8.04, which discourages unnecessary delays by the pitcher, shall apply. Rule 8.04 requires the pitcher to deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball with the bases unoccupied. The penalty prescribed by Rule 8.04 for a pitcher's violation of the Rule is that the umpire shall call “Ball.”
I don't see #1 as a big problem, and feel it will only have a slight affect on the game, but I don't find any problem with it. Sure, there are times when a batter will step out of the box between pitches to rub dirt on his gloves or the bat, or something like that, but it isn't so often that I feel it's a real problem.

While #3 sounds good, Major League Baseball already had something like it in place, but it wasn't enforced by umpires. Therefore, a different rule seems unnecessary. I'm a varsity basketball official, and every year there are certain rules that are made into points of emphasis, and we have to enforce them more stringently. The same needs to be done with this rule for MLB umps. 

Now, as for #2, I'm all for it. While you see passed balls/wild pitches every once in a while during intentional walks, they are not often enough that fans should have to watch the pitcher and catcher play catch for a couple minutes. Just put the batter on first and get on with the game.

Normally, when I see a group make decisions like this so quickly I cringe. Especially when it comes to rules decisions. Oftentimes they are just knee-jerk reactions, and are not thoroughly thought about first. But these three changes either don't mean much (#1), aren't much different than a rule already in place (#3), or make plenty of sense (#2). Plus, being able to try them out in glorified scrimmages, means they can be tweaked more before the 2015 season begins.

Luis Torrens 4th Best Prospect in NYPL

The New York Yankees catching prospect Luis Torrens has been ranked as the fourth best prospect in all of the New York Penn League. The Staten Island Yankees product is the only member of the organization to make the list after playing just 48 games with the SI Yanks. Torrens, just 18 years old, hit .270/.327/.405 with two home runs in 2014.

Torrens was praised for his defense behind the dish and especially for his throwing arm. Torrens really controlled the running game this season in Staten Island. While Torrens' offense is raw it shows signs of life and has many around the league intrigued, including the Yankees brass. Torrens may be the best catching prospect in the entire Yankees farm system, Gary Sanchez and John Ryan Murphy included.

Sporcle Quiz: Name Entire 2014 Yankees Team

Sporcle does this every season and 2014 is no different. There is a fun new game on the web you can play as you try and name the entire 2014 New York Yankees roster. I'll give you a quick hint, the Yankees used 58 players this season to set a new record. I got 53 of them so the bar is set pretty high Yankees family. 

I got the entire positional player list and missed five pitchers, no big names that made me feel like a dummy. Try it out and pass the time while you're at work. Beat my score and post it here. 

Name the entire 2014 Yankees roster - By PinstripeAlley

TGP Daily Poll: Washington Nationals Will Win The 2014 World Series

Since my original pick of the New York Yankees winning #28 in 2014 didn’t exactly go as planned I have to go to my Plan B, the team I had New York taking down in seven games, the Washington Nationals. I believe the Nationals will take home the first World Series in Washington’s history since coming back to the nation’s capital.

Vote in our poll. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/1: Wild Card Weekend

Major League Baseball added an additional playoff team to each league before the 1995 season and named the winner the Wild Card winner. On this day in 1995 the New York Yankees became the first Wild Card team in the history of the American League while the Colorado Rockies became the first Wild Card winner for the National League.

Also on this day in 1961 on the final game of the season Roger Maris hits his 61st home run of the season passing Babe Ruth for the single season record. The Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard gave up the historic home run. Also on this day exactly two years later a baby was born named Mark McGwire. Ironic.

Also on this day in 1949 the Yankees held Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium. DiMaggio took home two brand new cars, a boat, three hundred quarts of ice cream, and a cocker spaniel. On this day DiMaggio was quoted as saying “I like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.”

Finally on this day in 1932 a mere 17 years before the Yankees honored the retiring Joe DiMaggio the Yankees welcome DiMaggio to the club as he made his professional debut with the San Francisco Seals. DiMaggio was 18 years old and was the team’s shortstop that season where he hit .340 with 169 RBI and 28 home runs.