Thursday, October 6, 2016

I’m Hungry: Texas Rangers Postseason Menu

This is a feature we normally do in Spring Training and right before the season starts and we call it “I’m Hungry” but after reading what the Texas Rangers will be bringing to the Ballpark in Arlington this postseason I had to do a special edition tonight. Playoff baseball is here and the Rangers want their fans with plenty of energy to cheer and they have released four new menu items that sound crazy, but look amazing. Let’s check them out.

The N.E.Q Sandwich is the first addition and it stands for “Never Ever Quit” and the sandwich may never ever quit tearing up your digestive tract and system. The sandwich is a Philly cheesesteak sandwich stuffed with fried jalapenos, onion rings, waffle fries, mozzarella sticks and queso. This also comes with a Captain Morgan sauce to top it all off making this the ultimate bar and stadium food.

The next food item is the Tamarlington Dog which is basically a hot dog inside of a tamale. Pure freaking genius, people. The dog is topped with chili and nacho cheese.

The third food item is called the Popcornopolis Pita and this item contains smoked brisket, macaroni and cheese and caramel popcorn. Yes, yes and no. I don’t care if you bring me some peanuts and cracker jacks, just don’t mix them. Gross.

The final item on the menu for this postseason is the Atomic Burger and it is exactly how it sounds. Hot. The burger is town pounds of meat with ghost pepper cheese sauce. Ghost peppers are 400 times hotter than a jalapeno. No thank you. 

If the 2017 Season Began Today…..

While the MLB playoffs are in full swing the New York Yankees are home for what should be a very, very long winter. The team came out of the gates sluggish and began 2016 on a 9-17 stretch that ultimately doomed them later on in the season. Next year the team will look to come out strong with their new faces and young players with their eyes on the ultimate prize, the postseason. A lot can and likely will happen for this club between now and Opening Day 2017 but as it stands right now here are your 2017 New York Yankees. The only constant is change so expect that.

The Infield:

Gary Sanchez – C
Greg Bird – 1B
Starlin Castro – 2B
Didi Gregorius – SS
Chase Headley – 3B
Brian McCann – DH

The Outfield:

Brett Gardner – LF
Jacoby Ellsbury – CF
Aaron Judge – RF

The Bench:

Aaron Hicks – OF
Ronald Torreyes / Rob Refsnyder  – INF/OF
Austin Romine – C
Tyler Austin – 1B/OF

The Starters:

Masahiro Tanaka
CC Sabathia
Michael Pineda
Luis Cessa
Bryan Mitchell / Luis Severino / Chad Green

The Bullpen:

Dellin Betances
Tyler Clippard
Adam Warren
Tommy Layne
Jonathan Holder
Nick Goody / Richard Bleier / Other I'm blatantly forgetting
Whoever isn’t the 5th starter

Thoughts? Obvious holes? Areas that need improvement? And….. go in the comments section!

What Went Wrong With The Yankees?

The New York Yankees have failed to make the playoffs for the third time in five years. This is the first time this has happened for the Yankees since before 1995, when they did not make the playoffs from 1981-1984. This season marks the fourth time in manager Joe Girardi’s nine years that the Yankees did not play baseball in October. The landscape of baseball has drastically changed since the height of his powers, but it is safe to say that this performance is way below the standards of George Steinbrenner.

Coming into this season, Yankees fans didn’t exactly have October baseball marked down in permanent marker in the their calendars. Before the season began, predictions for the Yankees ranged all over the map, from finishing way below .500, to a Wild Card team, to possibly making a run for the AL East crown. Yankees fans always have playoff expectations, but they are also realistic. Fans can’t be steaming and that upset that they didn’t make the playoffs, but there are still reasons why the Yankees season ended before game 162. So what exactly what went wrong with the New York Yankees in 2016?

Two obvious reasons come from the play of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Both players had their best seasons in nearly five seasons last year and were the main reasons why the Yankees made the Wild Card game. Teixeira was named an All-Star for the first time since the 2009 World Series season, finishing the season with 31 home runs, 79 RBI, and a .906 OPS (his 2nd highest as a Yankee). Tex’s season was cut short due in August due to a fractured shin. Tex had probably his worst season as a Yankee in 2016, posting a batting average of under .200 for the majority of the season, reaching a low of .176 in June. In August, Teixeira announced his will retire at the end of the 2016 season.

Coming off his 2014 PED suspension, a more-humbled Alex Rodriguez had his best Yankees season in seven seasons in 2015. Rodriguez recorded 33 home runs, 86 RBIs, an .842 OPS, and stepped into the leader role, especially with Derek Jeter no longer with the team. Rodriguez would not come close to that production level in 2016, finishing with only nine home runs, 31 RBIs, and a .200 batting average, leading Joe Girardi to bench him until the team decided to part ways with the slugger in August.

The major regression of Teixeira and Rodriguez was a big reason why the Yankees did not make the playoffs this season, but there are others to point fingers at as well. The Yankees counted on Michael Pineda to be a reliable number two starter, but Big Mike could not live up to expectations. Pineda recorded a career high in innings with 175 innings and 207 strikeouts (6th best in the AL) but also posted a career high with a 4.82 ERA and put up an abysmal record of 6-12. Pineda is one of the most frustrating players because his 207 strikeouts show he has the tools to be a top starter, with his 94 MPH fastball and 85 MPH slider, but he just can’t seem to put it all together and pitch consistently.

Overall, the Yankees relied on old players past their prime to carry them and it simply did not happen. The retirement of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira marks the end of an era, as the Yankees will now begin a youth movement. Brian Cashman did not throw in the towel in July, but he also did not make moves to win this year, which was totally fine by every Yankees fan. Cashman has positioned the Yankees for the future, trading off valuable assets to build one of the best farm systems in baseball.

Any Yankees fan will spin this season as a positive because of the influxation of youth and the fact the Yankees were in the playoff race until late September. However, the goal for the New York Yankees every season is to win the World Series, and they did not come close to reaching that goal.

George Steinbrenner is Finalist for Hall of Fame

An ultimate wrong may finally be written this December as George M. Steinbrenner has become a finalist for Hall of Fame consideration on this year’s Eras Committee ballot. The purpose of this committee, which used to be called the Veterans Committee, is to give a second chance to players and sometimes a first chance to owners, managers, umpires etc. at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The 10-name ballot will be reviewed and voted upon on December 5th.

The 10-name ballot includes Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Mark McGwire, Lou Piniella, John Schuerholz, Bud Selig and Mr. Steinbrenner himself. Obviously Baines, Belle, Clark and McGwire are included due to their playing careers, Piniella and Johnson because of their managing careers and Schuerholz, Selig and Steinbrenner for their time as owners and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

Any candidate who receives 75% or more of the vote (16 members vote in the Today’s Game Era Committee) will immediately join the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Everyone but Mr. Steinbrenner is currently living at the time of this writing. Good luck to all but especially good luck to The Boss!

Recapping the Head-to-Head ALDS Matchups from 2016 w/ Predictions!

If you checked the Scoreboard Watching post this morning here on the blog you know that both ALDS matchups begin tonight and can both be seen on TBS as a part of a double-header. What you may or may not know is how the Toronto Blue Jays have fared against the Texas Rangers this season and how well the Boston Red Sox have done against the Cleveland Indians. Don’t worry ladies and gentleman, I got your back.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers from 2016:

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians from 2016:

So with this said, who ya got? Personally I can’t see the Blue Jays getting past the Rangers this time around, even after an emotional win on Tuesday night. Texas just has too much offense, too much pitching and too many veteran players.

Rangers in five.

In the other ALDS matchup I have the Boston Red Sox advancing over the Cleveland Indians. David Ortiz will work his magic and the youth and veteran leadership mix will be too much for Terry Francona’s squad.

Boston in four.

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference. 

My Fondest Memories as a Yankees Fan of Turner Field

One of the most enjoyable and at the same time one of the most miserable experiences you can have as a fan of Major League Baseball is entering a home team’s stadium that is not your own. What do I mean? Try being a Yankees fan walking into Fenway Park. It’s awesome if you win but it can be absolute and utter hell if you lose. The same goes for Philadelphia I would imagine and I’m sure it can’t be fun being a St. Louis Cardinals fan in Wrigley Field with the Cubs on top but there are a few exceptions to this rule. Away stadiums that are actually enjoyable to go to. That’s one thing I will miss about Turner Field and one thing that I hope travels with the team over to Sun Trust Park in 2017. 

I have to say that the fans inside Turner Field were always so laid back and wonderful that at times it almost felt like being inside Yankee Stadium. I’ve been to stadiums like Shea Stadium and Tropicana Field where you get heckled and boo’d for wearing the opposing teams jersey but in Turner Field I’ve always been treated with the same amount of respect that I ever got in Yankee Stadium, maybe more. When the “Let’s Go Yankees” chants began and eventually drowned out the Turner Field crowd there wasn’t anger and beer thrown, they just let it happen. It was always just a chill place to be and I will always have some fond memories from that place. 

As you know I moved down here from New York while I was in High School and the thing I miss the most is my Yankees with pizza, Chinese food and my family not far behind (and maybe in that order… pizza sucks down here). When I got older and got my own job and car and such I went to Turner Field as much as possible, even if the Yankees weren’t in town. I’d go see the Braves play the Mets, the Nationals, hell I even watched them play the Miami Marlins one time when they were losing 100 games a season. I just loved the experience and the atmosphere. I sat behind home plate, in the bleachers, down both lines and in the outfield. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house. 

I’ve seen so much sitting in those seats inside Turner Field as well. I saw Derek Jeter signing autographs for hours at a time and even got a signed baseball from him once. I saw Alex Rodriguez tie Lou Gehrig on the all-time grand slams list live and in person. I saw Jose Fernandez pitch in either his first or second year, I can’t remember exactly. I saw Andy Pettitte hurl a gem against the team in 2009 and I watched Luis Severino hurl another gem in 2015 in the same game where a fan fell to his death right in front of my eyes while he was heckling A Rod from the top deck. 

Turner Field will leave me with so many memories that I can only hope to bring with me to Sun Trust Park in 2017. I’m sad to see it go but I loved it while it was here. Goodbye to Turner Field (unofficially, the Georgia State college baseball team will use the field in 2017 and beyond) from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes. 

MLB Playoff Scoreboard Watching for 10/6

The American League and National League Wild Card Games are now in the books so now we move onto the Division Series. There will be a few matchups to watch including the rematch from the 2015 ALDS between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers and any game that involves the Chicago Cubs. That team is just fun to watch. Also any game could be David Ortiz’s last so also be on the lookout for that.

Without further ado here is the playoff schedule tonight for your viewing pleasure:

Toronto Blue Jays @ Texas Rangers – Ballpark in Arlington @ 4:38 pm ET on TBS

Boston Red Sox @ Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field at 8:08 pm ET on TBS

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/6: Midges Attack

The New York Yankees made the postseason once again in 2007 extending the team's consecutive streak of making the playoffs to 13 straight seasons as they drew the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. On this day in 2007 the Yankees and Indians played in Game 2 of the ALDS at Jacobs Field in a game that the Yankees had in hand before the eight inning. Joba Chamberlain came in to try and hold the lead and hand the ball to Mariano Rivera but a rare infestation of insects, or midges, appeared and took over the pitchers mound and the field. Joba threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score in Joba's first blown save of the season.

Also on this day in 2005 the Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi won the American League Comeback Player of the Year award. Ken Griffey Jr. won the award for the National League in the first time that the award was given out by the fans vote on Giambi finished the season with a .271 average with 32 home runs and 87 RBI.

Also on this day in 1995 Bernie Williams set one of his many records in postseason history as he became the first player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same postseason game. The Mariners fan who caught the eight inning blast was unaware of the milestone and foolishly threw the ball back onto the field.

Finally on this day in 1985 the Yankees Phil Niekro became the 18th and oldest player in major league history to win 300 games when he shut out the Toronto Blue Jays on the final game of the season. Niekro was 46 years old and 188 days and would ultimately finish with 318 victories.