Saturday, January 24, 2015

Remembering Bud Selig as Commissioner

Bud Selig's final day as MLB Commissioner is tomorrow so I wanted to take a quick minute to remember some of the good things about his legacy and what he is leaving in Major League Baseball. Selig was the Commissioner of Baseball for 22 seasons starting in 1992.

When Selig took over there were just 26 teams in the league, now there are 30, and has enjoyed labor peace with the players since the 1995 season. When Selig took over the Yankees had the highest paid player in baseball in Danny Tartabull and his $5.3 million but Bud has helped bring so much money into the game it is becoming more and more common to see $30 million annually for certain players.

Selig "cleaned up the game" while making the game more international with new Japanese posting rules and the World Baseball Classic. Selig may have turned a blind eye to the steroid era, he may have contributed to the cancelling of the World Series and the subsequent demise of the Montreal Expos but overall Selig has been one hell of a commissioner, even if he is a Yankees hater. So today we salute you and wish you well Bud. Thanks for the memories, even when they weren't so great.

OJ Mayo's Top 10 First Base Prospects

OJ Mayo of is at it again releasing his Top 10 prospects at every position and yesterday's position was first base. Naturally we wouldn't be here if a member of the Yankees didn't make the list but thankfully for us Greg Bird is the third best first baseman on the list. CLICK HERE for Mayo's complete list and see below for an excerpt from the article:

3. Greg Bird, Yankees
Speaking of patient hitters at the position, Bird led the Minors in walks in 2013 and has a career .407 on-base percentage heading into the 2015 season. While back issues have hampered him in the past, he's shown more than enough power for the position, including during an MVP performance in the Arizona Fall League in 2014.

James Shields Could Replace Hiroki Kuroda

The most underrated loss this offseason for the New York Yankees was that of Hiroki Kuroda in the starting rotation. Kuroda was the ace of the Yankees staff for his first two seasons while being the rock and the last man standing during his 2014 campaign. Now he is back at home in Japan presumably for one more season before riding off into the sunset and the Yankees are left without that ace, that stopper, those 200 IP and that lock in the rotation. Could that rock be James Shields?

I am in no way an advocate for James Shields in any way because I don’t believe he should receive the moniker “Big Game” after just one playoff start and I don’t think he would be worth the contract. If Shields had an offer of five years and $110 million it sounds like he is either being picky, a liar or he is asking for more and is in no way worth that let alone more. The problem is, and this is of course assuming the Yankees can get him on “their” terms, New York may need a guy like Shields just to survive the season.

We have all had CC Sabathia’s knee, Michael Pineda’s shoulder, Ivan Nova’s UCL, Nathan Eovaldi’s straight fastball, Masahiro Tanaka’s UCL and Chris Capuano being Chris Capuano so there is no need to harp on that any more than it already has been. Does anybody see 200 IP in that rotation? I don’t, not even with Eovaldi due to his performance and not so much any sort of injury, which could make for a lot of use, and overuse, of the Yankees bullpen. New York has a lot of promising arms down there for now and the future and the team should not jeopardize that with a player like Shields still available on the market.

It would hurt to lose the same draft pick for Shields that the team refused to lose for Max Scherzer but the team may be forced to or will be regretting it by June or July. Call it intuition or call it a hunch. 

Seattle Still Getting Their Hopes Up w/ Jesus Montero

Every morning when I am supposed to be working I take a minute to skim the headlines and read the sports news, especially from the USA Today. Yesterday morning I read an article that the Seattle Mariners were still hopeful that Jesus Montero could help the team in the future. Montero, the same guy who was trolled by an ice cream sandwich in a minor league game (he was sent to the minors because he came to camp 40 lbs. overweight and couldn’t hit a lick) by one of his own scouts in Single-A. Yeah good luck with that.

Montero has reportedly lost the 40 lbs. this offseason which is great news for him but, and not to play Devil’s Advocate and rub it in too much, he did not hit a lick before he gained a pound. Montero was traded from the Yankees for RHP Michael Pineda for the same reasons he is struggling in Seattle; his weight and size made his future look unlikely at the catcher position, his hitting would likely make him an average at best corner outfielder or first baseman, his drive and motivation along with his attitude were always being questioned and his hitting was never able to get over the “great” hump out of just being good or average.

The Biogenesis suspension didn’t help Montero’s stock and value last season which has left the former top prospect and catcher as a designated hitter only, and that’s if he even makes the team. Remember Seattle signed Nelson Cruz to presumably be what Montero was supposed to be so it’s going to be tough for the 25 year old Venezuelan and former Yankee to start the season in the major leagues. If he wants to come back to New York though, all things considered, I think I welcome him back with open arms and plenty of forgiveness and understanding. 

Thunder Welcome 14 To Front Office Positions

Lydia Rios brings 22 years of sales experience to the Thunder's Corporate Sales Department

The 2015 season is now 83 days away and the Thunder are proud to welcome 14 members of their front office to new positions for the upcoming season.

A lifelong resident of Hamilton Square and proud graduate of Trenton State College in 1991, Lydia Rios joins the Thunder as Director, Marketing and Sponsorships. Rios served the last 14 years in sales at WPST Radio, most recently serving as General Sales Manager for the station. Prior to her time at WPST, Rios spent seven years in sales with The Trentonian.

"I came to work here because of the small, family oriented business that exists with the Thunder," said Rios. "Knowing the Joe's and Will Smith for so long from our business dealings over the years, this felt like such a great fit and the front office really feels like a family."

In her role as Director, Marketing and Sponsorships, Rios will oversee corporate partnerships, service existing accounts and provide leadership in the team's sales department.

"Lydia's professionalism and management experience are exactly what we need. When Lydia worked for PST, we created a business partnership from opposite sides of the table. She is the best salesperson I encountered. We are thrilled to add Lydia to our staff," said General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Will Smith. "Lydia's familiarity with the marketplace in Bucks, Burlington and Mercer counties will greatly benefit the Thunder and enhance our impression in the community."

Joining Lydia in the corporate sales department is Nick Beers. Beers spent the 2014 season as the Stadium Operations Assistant and was recently promoted to Corporate Sales Executive. Prior to his arrival with the Thunder, Beers served as an intern in Publications with the New York Yankees after graduating from St. John's University in 2013 with a degree in Sport Management. In addition to his experience in baseball, Beers is a certified high school basketball official in New Jersey through IAABO Board 193.

In the group sales department, Jack Rymal, Jon Bodner, Nick Luongo, Dean Fritz, and Chuck Keller have been hired as Group Sales Account Representatives and Michael Heyer has been hired as Group Sales Coordinator for the 2015 season.

Fritz joined the Thunder front office in July of 2014 as a Group Sales Account Representative after his graduation from Temple University's Sport and Recreation Management program in May of 2014. Prior to joining the Thunder, Fritz served as a Football Operations Intern for the Philadelphia Eagles and has interned in Sales and Marketing with Brunswick Zone, located in Feasterville, PA, and in Management with SMG Sportsplex in Warminster, PA.

Rymal, originally from Somerton, PA, graduated from Temple University with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management in August of 2013. He served as an intern in tournament operations for Ripken Baseball in Myrtle Beach, SC and interned for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012 as the Game Day Presentation Intern. Rymal, who most recently served as the Group Sales Coordinator for the Camden Riversharks (Independent) during the 2014 season, is an avid golfer and has completed one hole-in-one in his life.

Bodner, a native of Sewell, NJ, graduated from James Madison University with a degree in marketing in May of 2013. Bodner spent two seasons with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies, Class-AAA), the first in 2011; as Game Day Intern, and the second in 2013; as a full-time Ticket Associate. Bodner played in the marching band at Washington Township High School and at James Madison and has performed in three NFL stadiums.

Luongo graduated from SUNY Albany in May of 2011 and hails from Windsor, NY. Luongo spent two seasons as an intern with the Hudson Valley Renegades (Tampa Bay Rays, Low-A) in 2010, as Food and Beverage Intern and 2011, as Ticket Office Intern. Luongo is a lifelong Yankees fan and witnessed Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and both Jeter and Mariano Rivera's final home games in person.

Keller joins the Thunder after three seasons of experience in minor league baseball. Keller was a member of the Game Day staff for the Asheville Tourists (Colorado Rockies, Class-A) in 2009 and served as Ticket Sales Intern with the Lakewood Blueclaws (Phillies, Class-A) after his graduation from Western Carolina in 2010. Most recently, Keller spent the 2014 campaign with the Camden Riversharks as a Ticket Sales Representative and hails from Maple Shade, NJ where he cared for his pet Piranha, Daisy, in high school.

Heyer graduated from Monmouth University in May of 2014 with a degree in Communications. The South Brunswick, NJ native served as an intern for Clear Channel Radio and Monmouth University's Athletic Department prior to his arrival with the Thunder. Heyer is also an experienced seaman after spending an entire summer aboard a parasail boat off the coast of Long Beach Island in 2014.

In the ticket sales department, Sol Prensky and Sean O'Brien join the front office as Ticket Sales Account Executives and Steve Carpenter as Ticket Assistant.

A native of Washington D.C., Prensky is a 2013 graduate of American International College in Springfield, MA. Sol returns to the Eastern League after serving as a Front Office Intern for the Bowie Baysox in 2009. After graduation from AIC, where he played three sports (Baseball, Rugby and Club Soccer), Prensky served as a full-time Sales Associate for the Sacramento Kings for the 2013-14 season.

O'Brien, a native of Cinnaminson, NJ, comes to the Thunder after serving as an Inside Sales Representative with the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals, Class-AAA) in the 2014 season. O'Brien graduated from Marshall University in 2011 and has visited or driven through 35 of the 48 mainland states.

Carpenter graduated from Loyola University in Chicago in May of 2014 with a degree in Finance and Sport Management. Carpenter, originally from Hopewell Township, NJ served as a Customer Service and Sales Representative for Vivid Seats; an independently owned and operated online secondary ticket resale marketplace prior to joining the Thunder. Carpenter lived briefly in the state of Ohio which led to his rabid fandom of the Ohio State Buckeyes and attended the 2015 Sugar Bowl.

Rob Faulstick and Christina Jennings have been hired as Promotions Assistants for the 2014 campaign and Amanda Rossetti joins the Thunder as the Administrative and Community Relations Assistant.

Faulstick is no stranger to ARM & HAMMER Park after serving as a fill-in emcee and working in the promotions department for the previous two seasons. Faulstick is currently a senior Radio and TV Communications student at Rider University and spent his first two years in Lawrenceville as a member of Rider's Swim team.

Jennings, a native of Wall, NJ, is a senior Marketing major at Delaware Valley College. Prior to joining the Thunder, Jennings wore many hats for Fun Fieldz; a company that brings baseball and fun events to local communities, most recently as the Promotion and Marketing Assistant. Jennings has been involved in sports for her entire life as a competitive horseback rider.

Rossetti graduated from High Point University in May of 2014 with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Sport Management. In her position, Rossetti will coordinate donation requests and assist Boomer and Strike as they travel throughout region during the 2014 campaign. Always punctual, Rossetti did not miss a day of school from kindergarten through her senior year of high school while growing up in Hamilton, NJ and attending Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville.

The Thunder, the Double A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, will begin the 2015 season on April 9 in Erie against the Seawolves. The first home game at ARM & HAMMER Park is on Thursday, April 16. Season tickets, group outings, Pic-A-Plans, and Mini Plans are on sale now. Single game tickets will go on sale on Saturday, March 14. For more information about tickets, fans should call 609-394-3300 or

Eovaldi looking to fix bad habits with Yankees

Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi has an idea of why he struggled so much last season.

The 24-year-old ex-Marlin is planning to use his fastball less when he joins the Yankees in 2015, he recently revealed in a conversation with

Eovaldi believes his heater was part of the reason he surrendered 223 hits last year, the most in the National League. His quickest pitch, widely considered his signature one, tended to reach the high-90s during his tenure with Miami, but didn't seem to affect his stats positively. 

"I feel like in a way, because I rely on my fastball so much and my walks were down, batters were starting to be more selective and wait for the fastball," Eovaldi said. "Toward the end of the season, I started moving the ball in and out a lot better, and I'll continue that this year, mixing in off-speed pitches. I think it'll be a different year, for sure."

Eovaldi went just 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 199 2/3 IP last season, but did in fact improve by his last two starts. He gave up just two earned runs in 13 innings in that pair of outings, still losing both of them.

Eovaldi said he is hoping to duplicate that late-September performance with the Yankees, as well as improve on it. 

"I'm real excited to be in that division," he said. "The Yankees, they either love you or hate you, so I'm looking forward to it. I've been throwing really well this offseason, and hopefully I'll be able to repeat last year and have some more wins and a better ERA while keeping the innings up there."

Eovaldi is expected to be in the middle of the Yankees' rotation next season, likely occupying either the no.3 or no.4 spot. It's probable whichever slot he doesn't fill will instead have CC Sabathia in it, with Chris Capuano following the two of them.

The Yankees cut ties with utlility man Martin Prado and reliever David Phelps in order to acquire Eovaldi's services in a trade December 19, an apparent showing of their confidence in his talent.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/24: Boring Rainy/Snowy Saturday Morning

Nada. Again. How boring… Sign somebody today! Enjoy this new song I have been listening to from a recommendation from a friend, it’s pretty good if you enjoy rock music. Happy Saturday.