Saturday, November 12, 2016

UFC 205 Open Thread

I love UFC and I especially love Conor McGregor so tonight is going to be a show for fans like myself. UFC 205 featuring McGregor and Eddie Alvarez. The lightweight champion, Alvarez, and the Featherweight champion, McGregor.  Let's go!!!

Random Thoughts After the GM Meetings

The general manager meetings are done and after a few days of sitting under palm trees in the Sonora
Desert resort not a whole lot got done. This is not uncommon, the big event where players move around the most is usually the winter meetings which take place next month, but it is a bit unusual to see exactly zero trades done during the four day event.

The Yankees have a viable trade piece in Brian McCann, the Pittsburgh Pirates have one also in Andrew McCutchen while the Detroit Tigers will listen to offers on anything that isn’t tied down including Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez. Chris Sale could be had from the Chicago White Sox with the right deal along with a slew of names I’m sure we the fans just aren’t hearing about.

There is an eerie calm around the league right now. Maybe it is the upcoming collective bargaining agreement that is set to expire. Maybe it’s the rumors of the luxury tax threshold potentially rising with any new CBA. Maybe it’s just the fact that the free agent class is weak and these players know it so they are going to take their time, make opposing teams sweat and ultimately bid against themselves in order to get the maximum contract.

I don’t know why but I just get a weird feeling about this offseason. It’s either going to be really great for the Yankees, great being Brian Cashman pulls off a few trades and puts an actual World Series caliber team out there for once, or a really disappointing offseason for the Yankees. One thing is for sure I don’t see how they can go another offseason without signing a free agent to a MLB deal… so stay tuned.

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Bob Turley

Robert Lee Turley, also known as Bullet Bob Turley, was born on September 19, 1930 in Troy, Illinois where he spent his High School days attending East St. Louis Senior High School in East St. Louis, Illinois. Turley was used as both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher there where he caught the attention of Bill DeWitt, the general manager for the St. Louis Browns. Turley attended a workout camp for the New York Yankees before signing with the Browns for a $600 signing bonus in 1948.

Turley pitched for the Browns until the 1955 season when he was traded to the New York Yankees. Turley started off his Yankees tenure with a 17 win season while recording 210 strikeouts and a league-leading 177 walks. Turley led the Yankees staff to a World Series in 1955 against the Brooklyn Dodgers but ultimately fell in seven games. The disappointment didn’t stop there for Turley though unfortunately as he finished his second season in the Bronx with an 8-4 record but with a 5.05 ERA. Despite Turley’s struggles the Yankees were once again back in the World Series and Turley was back to facing off against the Brooklyn Dodgers, this time as a relief pitcher. Turley started Game Six but lost 1-0 against Clem Labine in a pitcher’s duel that forced a second consecutive seven game series between the two clubs. This time the Yankees would get the best of Brooklyn winning the series in seven games. Turley had his first World Series ring.

For the 1957 season Turley developed a curve ball to add to his arsenal and saw immediate dividends with his new pitching throwing the fourth best ERA in the American League, 2.71, and leading the Yankees to their third consecutive World Series berth. Turley won his Game Six start to force a Game 7 but the Yankees would fall to the Milwaukee Braves in seven games, Turley’s second disappointment with the club in the World Series. Turley reinvented himself once again in 1958 as he eliminated his wind up and had his best season of his Yankees tenure. Turley went 21-7 that season including 19 complete games and finished with a 2.97 ERA. Turley still struggled with his command, 128 walks surrendered in 1958, and once again struggled in the World Series against a familiar foe in the Milwaukee Braves. Turley saved the Yankees from elimination with a complete game shutout in Game 5 before coming back in Game Six to get a save I the 10th inning forcing a Game 7. Turley relieved Don Larsen in Game 7 and won his second game in three days with 6.2 innings of relief as he led the New York Yankees to another World Series championship.

Turley won the World Series MVP Award in 1958 while also taking home the Cy Young Award and the Hickok Belt Award which rewarded and recognized the top professional athlete of the year. Turley finished second in the American League’s MVP Award vote losing to Jackie Jensen of the Boston Red Sox to finish out his season. After all the accolades that followed his 1958 season Turley was due for a raise before 1959 and quickly became the highest paid player in Major League Baseball history at the time when he agreed to a deal worth $35,000. Turley started on Opening Day and gave the Yankees a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox but the overuse and abuse on his arm was evident for the remainder of that season. Turley finished the season just 8-11 and the Yankees did not make the World Series for the first time in his tenure, although Turley did bounce back in 1960 recording a 9-3 record with a 3.27 ERA. Turley was back in the New York groove and back in the World Series in 1960 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Turley won Game Two of the series and started Game 7 before Bill Mazeroski hit the home run that walked off the final game of the series and gave the Pirates their World Series victory.

Turley’s ineffectiveness and heavy reliance on his curve ball was explained during the 1961 season when Turley battled through right elbow injuries for much of the season. Turley was reduced to just 15 starts and a 3-5 record and 5.75 ERA before being delegated to the bullpen by manager Ralph Houk. Turley was back in the World Series in 1961 and the Yankees were back to their winning ways defeating the Cincinnati Reds four games to one but Turley did not make an appearance. Turley had bone chips removed from his elbow before the 1962 season and saw a slight improvement in his performance. Turley negotiated with the Yankees to reduce his salary from $28,000 to $25,000 and only gave the Yankees 69 innings and a 4.57 ERA after his bone chip problem flared back up during the season.

The 1962 season would be Turley’s final season in pinstripes and it was one to be remembered for ole Bullet Bob. Turley was named the American League’s player representative for the union and Turley watched, watched being the key word as he did not pitch, as the New York Yankees defeated the San Francisco Giants for yet another World Series victory. Turley was sold to the Los Angeles Angels following the 1962 season with the condition that Los Angeles could return him if they were not satisfied with the deal. Turley lasted until July of 1963 before the Angels released him and allowed him to sign with the Boston Red Sox where he would finish his playing career.

Turley finished his career with a 101-85 record and a 3.64 ERA in his 12 seasons, most of which with the Yankees, including five World Series championships. After the 1963 season Turley agreed to remain with the Boston Red Sox as their pitching coach before ultimately ending his career in the International League with the Atlanta Braves. Turley moved to Alpharetta, Georgia for the final two years of his life before falling to liver cancer at age 82 in Lenbrook, a retirement community in Atlanta, Georgia. Turley was survived by his second wife, Janet, three children, seventeen grandchildren and a whole lot of Yankees fans. Rest in peace Bob as we remember you today.

Meet a Prospect: Joe Mantiply Edition

The New York Yankees claimed a left-handed reliever from the Detroit Tigers named Joe Mantiply as the Yankees search and goal to restock their bullpen begins. Mantiply will likely be one of many members to join the Yankees bullpen in some way, shape or form this offseason so let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Joe Mantiply Edition.

Joseph Newman Mantiply was born on March 1, 1991 and while playing amateur baseball in Virginia he caught the eye of the New York Mets in the 2009 MLB Draft with their 48th round selection. Mantiply decided to head to college rather than take the step from High School to professional baseball and ultimately attended Virginia Tech University where he was once again drafted by the

Philadelphia Phillies in the 28th round of the 2012 Draft. Another drafting and another decision to return to school for Mantiply but after his senior season the Detroit Tigers came calling in the 27th round of the draft in 2013.

In four seasons in the Tigers minor league system the left-hander has put up a 2.44 ERA including 13 starts while only giving up 11 home runs in 239.1 innings of work. Mantiply can start or be a reliever for the Yankees and his value comes with his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark and keep runs off the board, something any team needs.

In order to make room for Mantiply the Yankees designated Branden Pinder for assignment. He will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2017 season anyway so expect a new minor league deal to follow for the Tommy John recipient.

Welcome to the family Joe.

The Day I Met Yankees Great Bob Turley

On this day in 1958 Yankees reigning World Series MVP Bob Turley wins the American League Cy Young award. Warren Spahn would take second place by one vote with Milwaukee this season. Turley posted a 2.97 ERA with a 21-7 record with the Yankees while winning two games in the World Series.

In an interesting side note I actually met Turley one time in Blue Ridge, Georgia when I was working for a construction/residential cleaning crew. We went in and did a clean at his house after he remodeled his basement. I did not originally know who he was, all his memorabilia and such was not up since the basement was being remodeled, until I went to pick up a check from him after the fact. I only spent five minutes tops with him and honestly I did not know who he was when he told me, all I knew was that he played for the Yankees. I shook his hand and never got the chance to speak with him again before he died in March of 2013.

It pays to know your history and that is why this blog posts so much of it. Learn from the past ladies and gents.

Weekly AFL Check In: Gleyber Torres

The top prospect in all of the Arizona Fall League right now wears a Scottsdale Scorpions hate and a New York Yankees jersey. His name is Gleyber Torres and he is awesome. The Yankees shortstop prospect turned second baseman was one of three members of the organization to represent the team in the AFL All-Star Game and he has picked up where he left off since.

Check out his stat line. Happy Saturday!

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/12: Andy Finishes Second

On this day in 1996 Mariano Rivera probably cost Andy Pettitte a Cy Young Award after the Blue Jays Pat Hentgen wins the award. Hentgen would get a total of 110 points while Pettitte garnered 104 points in the vote. Mariano Rivera finished in third place including one first place vote that, if it had gone to Pettitte, would have made the difference in the award coming home to the Bronx. We'll take the World Series ring and settle I guess.

Also on this day in 2014 the New York Yankees sent Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson. This deal, one year in, is a win-win for both clubs.