Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Disappointment in Pete Rose Cannot Be Put Into Words

As many of you know I tend to side with the minority on a lot of subjects, and definitely not always on purpose or just to be different, regarding Major League Baseball. I supported all the steroid users, especially Alex Rodriguez, and I supported adding Pete Rose not only back into baseball but I supported putting Rose into the MLB Hall of Fame. You can imagine the disappointment I feel today when I read the new Outside the Lines posts on ESPN stating that the league now has proof that Rose bet on games while playing in them, not just as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. My ultimate argument was that Rose only bet on the Reds to win games, so technically he did what he was being paid to do anyway, and that Rose’s Hall of Fame induction should judge him as a player and not as a manager. Both of those theories are now out the window and I have to say I’m pretty heartbroken about it.

If Rose had any shot of getting back into Major League Baseball now that Rob Manfred is the Commissioner of MLB that shot went out the window with Mike Bertolini’s long-lost notebook. The Hit King’s quest for reinstatement is over and so is my defense of Mr. Rose. I hate to end a day that started out as a celebration of 1,000,000 views with such a somber tone but I have to, I don’t have the energy to post anything else tonight, I feel like I lost and I didn’t really have a horse in the race in this matter.

Oh well, try and enjoy your night Yankees family and we’ll be back to good spirits tomorrow!

Yankees Roster Moves for 6/24

Yet another day and another full set of roster moves for the New York Yankees, let's get caught up:

Brendan Ryan has been added to the 15 day DL with an upper back strain. Is this a phantom DL move or is Ryan really injured, again? Time will only tell.

Jose De Paula was designated for assignment by the team.

Ivan Nova was activated off the 60 day DL.

Stephen Drew was activated off the paternity list.

Branden Pinder and Diego Moreno were optioned to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Alex Rodriguez Didn't Taint The 3,000 Hit Club

When Alex Rodriguez hit a home run in the top of the 1st inning off Detroit’s Justin Verlander there was a mixed bag of reactions. Many were happy for Alex and for his accomplishment but some, including Zack Hample who caught the 3,000th hit, were not so happy about the milestone. There were many opinions thrown out there that ranged from the mindset that he would have reached the plateau anyway without PED’s to that he is a lying, cheating scumbag that has ruined the legacy that is the 3,000 hit club. While 28 players have reached the milestone before Alex you cannot say with a straight face that all 28 of them didn’t do their own part in tarnishing the legacy themselves.

Pete Rose leads Major League Baseball history with 4,256 hits in his career and will join the likes of Rafael Palmeiro, who failed a steroids test, and Rodriguez in the all-exclusive “I hit 3,000 hits but I’m not going to the Hall of Fame” club. Rose was banned from the sport for betting on games while he was a manager of the Cincinnati Reds and new evidence suggests he may have been betting on games heavily while he was still playing in 1986. Palmeiro finished with 3,020 hits in his career but will be more remembered for him wagging his finger at a Congressional committee stating that he never used steroids, period. Less than five months later the positive test hit the news and my collection of his baseball cards were worthless.

Ty Cobb finished his career with 4,189 hits after bragging that he killed a drifter in 1912. Cobb also once jumped into the seats to beat up a disabled heckler that we once covered in our “This Day in New York Yankees History” blog. Cobb also confessed that games were fixed in 1919 by the Chicago White Sox when Tris Speaker, who finished with 3,514 hits, was also involved. Speaking of illegal activities Eddie Murray, who finished with 3,255 hits in his career, was hit with insider trading charges back in 2012 by the SEC who reported that Murray had received roughly $235,314 in illegal profits.

Not everyone is going to be Derek Jeter. Some are going to lie, some are going to cheat and some are going to steal. Alex was not the first to give the 3,000 hit club a black eye and he probably won’t be the last so stop acting like he’s the anti-Christ. Thank you. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies 6/24

I get excited about almost every Yankees game because I love the sport and I love this team but I am extra excited about this one as it marks the return of Ivan Nova off the disabled list. Fourteen months is a long time to wait for a pitcher to come back from a Tommy John surgery but the wait is over as Nova is deemed completely healthy and ready to return to a mound near you. What did the Yankees get him for his welcome back present you ask? Just a matchup against Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies inside the Bronx and Yankee Stadium is all. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees head west to take on the Houston Astros after this afternoon’s game while the Phillies go anywhere but here so it will be a while before the Yankees return home to the stadium. You have no excuse not to have your Yankees Tickets in hand for when the team returns home to the Bronx. By clicking the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog you can get those tickets in hand for when the team comes back to Yankee Stadium. If you can’t make it live then that’s not a problem, simply jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) or the comments section of the site to interact with us during each and every Yankees game.

I’m pumped for this game so while I may not be as active as I normally am on Twitter rest assured I am in some corner of work working watching this game on the MLB At Bat app on my iPhone. Go Yankees!

Tempering Expectations for Ivan Nova Today

Ivan Nova finally makes his return to a major league mound this afternoon after missing the last 14 months with Tommy John surgery. While Nova will presumably be pumped up as will his teammates and fans I think we all need to temper our expectations for Nova today and for the right hander going forward. Now I’m not saying the Yankees fan base is impatient and I’m not saying they will turn on you, temporarily at least, after one bad outing or inning (okay, yes I am saying this but I mean it with the utmost respect and love) but I am saying that the Bronx can be a tough crowd to pitch in front of when you’re not doing well wearing the pinstripes.

Let’s remember that the last things to come back for a pitcher after having his ulnar collateral ligament replaced in his elbow are the velocity and control. Nova may struggle with control this afternoon like he did in his last rehab start with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Nova may not be able to locate his breaking stuff and may not be able to blow away pitchers with a low 90’s fastball, we all need to prepare ourselves for that. Nova is not going to be the 16 game winner that he was a few seasons back in his first start off the disabled list and he will more than likely be inconsistent from inning to inning, from batter to batter and from start to start, it happens.

What will not help Nova, who if you follow him on Twitter or have been following him throughout his career, is to boo him, to tag him in hateful tweets and to generally be disrespect and a nuisance. Nova wears his heart and his emotions on his sleeve and will undoubtedly be nervous this afternoon. Show him some love while tempering your expectations for him and we will all be just fine. If you can’t do it for me, do it for the team. The Yankees need Nova back healthy and effective in the worst way if they want to make the postseason in 2015 and that climb and process begins in just two hours here in the Bronx. Frankly, I can’t wait.

Welcome back Nova!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies 6/24

For the final time this week the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies will play a game head-to-head inside Yankee Stadium. Today is an extra special day for Yankees fans as today marks the return of Ivan Nova off the disabled list. Nova worked himself all the way back from Tommy John surgery and will pitch this afternoon as the Yankees temporarily expand their starting rotation to a six-man rotation. The man opposing Nova today may be a future Yankee if he is traded at this year’s July 31st trading deadline, Cole Hamels. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Nova finally makes his return from Tommy John surgery after missing the last 14 months after the ulnar collateral ligament was replaced in his right throwing elbow. Nova last pitched for the Yankees on April 19, 2014 before hearing a pop in his elbow while facing the Tampa Bay Rays. Nova has never faced the Phillies in his career and is good for around 95 pitches this afternoon in the Bronx.

  • Hamels missed his last start on Friday due to a mild strain in his right hamstring but conveniently recovered just in time to face off with the New York Yankees this afternoon. While that’s great news for the Phillies who are hoping to trade him before the July 31st trading deadline this has the potential to be a disaster for the Yankees who could have, and should have frankly, swept away the Phillies rather than losing this series.

The Yankees head west, young man, after the game this afternoon to take on the first place Houston Astros and start a road trip. New York tends to lay down against the teams they are supposed to beat and then tend to bring their “A” games against the tougher teams in the league so this four game series with Houston could be fun for Yankees fans. New York has to get past the Phillies and Cole Hamels today though before they start picking out a new pair of cowboy boots to wear while walking around downtown Houston so let’s hope the team comes into this game with that mindset to beat a good pitcher. Go Yankees!

The Greedy Pinstripes Reach 1,000,000

We’ve done it ladies and gentleman, The Greedy Pinstripes has reached the milestone that is 1,000,000 views on the blog all-time. We may not have done it the prettiest way possible or the quickest way possible but we did it nonetheless. I mean it when I say “we” because it’s not just me, or Bryan Van Dusen, or Bryan Knepper, or Jack Niemuth or Ben Embry or any of the highly talented writers that have or currently write for the blog because none of this would be possible without you, the readers.

From patrick (always with a little p) to Ken Reed. From Mr. Hans to Jeff Levin. From all 3,100+ Twitter followers (shameless plug @GreedyStripes), to the people who bookmark the site and read us daily to the people who just happened to stumble upon us, WE did it. 1,000,000.

From our very first post, What do you resolve to do in 2012?, to our most popular post, Andy Pettitte tells the Andy Pettitte Story, to a post that I couldn’t have gotten people to read if it came with a $20 incentive, Countdown to Pitchers and Catchers which had a total of TWO views, we did it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. This is OUR day, let them have cake. And Starbucks, I really like Starbucks. Enjoy and thank you!

Weekly Check In: Greg Bird

Another week off the disabled list and another week of taking walks and hitting bombs for the Yankees top first baseman prospect Greg Bird. The Yankees, for once, are being aggressive with their prospects regarding call ups leaving many to wonder if Bird is next. New York has already called up Luis Severino and Aaron Judge to Triple-A and if it had not been for the back injury I believe Bird would already be there as well. For now Bird is biding his time and hitting home runs in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder just waiting on his time to make the drive to Scranton to play for the Scranton RailRiders. I believe he will get that call either this month or next, he’s close.

Bird would essentially displace Kyle Roller on the depth chart in Scranton and would give the team a legitimate first base prospect and backup if Mark Teixeira’s neck injury becomes more of a problem then the Yankees are expecting it to be and leading the fans to believe.

If Bird could add some batting average to this slash and stat line he’d be scary for opposing pitchers:


What the Yankees Can Learn From My Son's Little League Team

Earlier tonight my son's U10 little league team finished their regular season a perfect 11-0.  It would likely have been a 12-0 season had the monsoon not come to the Columbus area last Saturday (am I right or am I right Van Dusen?)

The thing about a U10 team is that you never know what you are going to get out of them until the middle of the season...much like the current MLB Yankees roster.  In our case, my son Gabriel plays on the little league version of the Yankees, but for a lesser known Association, Hilliard Baseball.  I serve as one of the assistant coaches and the third base coach.  I have had the privilege of coaching many youth over the years but this team is a special group of kids that enjoy the game and most importantly thrive under proper guidance.  So it got me thinking...what could the MLB Yankees learn from the HBA Yankees?  Here's my list:

1. Fundamentals are key.  If you don't have the fundamentals down, you won't survive long in the big leagues.  What are the fundamentals you ask? Good consistent pitching, good defense, good baserunning, and being able to hit in all situations.  Fundamentally sound teams win the majority of their ball games, just look at the St. Louis Cardinals...that's why they are near the top of the NL Central each and every season.  I wouldn't necessarily connect the New York Yankees with fundamental baseball to be honest...more of a bloop and a blast type of's like John Sterling says...if the Yankees homer they'll probably win (did I seriously just quote John Sterling???)

2. You have to have an ACE.  We have a pitcher on the team that has pitched in each of our 11 games this season.  He's only allowed to pitch 3 innings per game, but in those 32 innings pitched he has collected 85 strikeouts.  That's 2.65 strikeouts...PER INNING.  And his K to BB ratio was somewhere around 17.0 with 2 walks coming on HBP.  Aces throw strikes...and they also locate pitches (high, low, outside) to strike guys out once they establish they are willing to swing at balls.  Our 10-year old ace has figured that out...maybe C.C. Sabathia should start taking notes?  Who is the ace on the Yankees this year...?  Is it Pineda...Eovaldi...Tanaka...? Here's hoping the next go-around in the rotation answers that question.

3. Aggressive Base Running Pays Off.  One of our duties as base coaches is to make sure that we aren't in force out situations.  This requires communication the man at the plate and the confidence in the players on the base path.  One way to accomplish this feat is to have the batter take the first pitch in order to allow the baserunner to advance on a poorly thrown ball.  This of course could put your batter in a hole, but what guy in the majors can't hit with an 0-1 count?  I mean really, if you can't hit (ahem...Gregorius) you shouldn't be in the batting order.

4. Situational Hitting is Paramount.  How many times have the New York Yankees failed to score someone from third base with only 1's one of the most frustrating things to watch or listen to as a fan.  All that is needed is a fly ball to the outfield and that runner is plated.  In the last 3 years, the mantra of the Yankees has been that they can't score runners in scoring position.  The Binder rarely uses a hit and run due to the feeling that "we have to let the Bombers go for the fence..."  One of the things I concentrated as a 3rd base coach this season was having the kids bunt or put the ball in play to the opposite field in order to move runners or to give the best opportunity to score guys from 2nd and 3rd base.  Heck just tonight, we had a suicide squeeze while up 12-0 against the opponent just to see if the kid could do it.  Newsflash...the bunt was successful and the kid at 3rd base beat the tag at the plate by a step...both kids were prepared for the challenge.

5. You Can't Teach Hustle...or Can You?  This isn't a Pete Rose line, but he sure did hustle.  What does the word hustle mean to me?  When I hear that word I envision Brett Gardner.  I've written about him in the past being the prototype for what young ballplayers should aspire to be.  At a very young age, kids will form habits that will stick with them for a lifetime of baseball.  If they don't learn (i.e. being told to run out every play or get a lead off of the base after every pitch or to charge a groundball) they won't just develop that skill on their own.  My son's team doesn't have the best fact probably only one of them (re: the Ace Pitcher) would have been declared an All-Star player prior to the season, but their ability to work hard and grind out at-bats and run as fast as their little legs can from base to base has made them the best team out of 18 teams in the Hilliard Little League.  Besides Gardner, Ellsbury, and Rodriguez, is there a sense that the New York Yankees are a "hustle" team?  I seriously doubt it.  Teixeira, McCann, Beltran, etc strike me more as a "let's try not to get hurt" player at this point in their careers.

6. You Have to Score Runs to Win.  This should be obvious.  I would hope that The Binder knows this by now.  The Bronx Bombers haven't exactly lit up the scoreboard in the last 3 years and whoah...they didn't make the playoffs each of the last 2 seasons.  Since 1993 of which the Yankees have seen a resurgence in their prowess, they have only scored an average of less than 5 runs per game in 6 seasons.  In 2001, they had an average of 4.99 and they made the World Series (1 out away from 4 straight titles), so we'll forgive that stat.  The other 5 seasons?  All under Joe Girardi's guidance including the 4.77 runs/game this season. The worst was in 2014 where they had an awful 3.91 runs/game...worst since the 1990 team that finished 7th in the AL East.  The HBA Yankees have scored a total of 149 runs in 11 games...that's 13.55 runs/game for anyone scoring at home.  Oh...and the HBA Yankees hit a lot more doubles than home runs...just to be clear.

7. Your Pitching Staff Needs to Be Deep.  I already mentioned that the Ace of the HBA Yankees eats up batters at an alarming rate and usually pitches 3 innings each game.  But when that starter is forced to come out, you need to have pitchers that can consistently throw strikes and get the batter to put the ball in play to make outs (this relies heavily on a stout defense of course).  In the closest game of the season this year, the HBA Yanks were in the midst of a 0-0 pitching duel for the first 3 innings with the HBA Dodgers.  Each pitcher only allowed less than 3 base runners and had 8 strikeouts a piece.  The difference in the game was that 3 more pitchers for the Yankees (including my son I must add) kept the Dodgers scoreless while timely situational hitting allowed the Yankees to eek out 5 runs.  It was the only game that lasted the full 6 innings but it only took 1 hour 30 minutes.  The problem with the MLB Yankees is they really don't have a consistent rotation or middle relief that can get the ball to the Betances / Miller tandem to close out games.  Thank God that Esmil Rogers is gone but David Carpenter and Chris Martin also gave up a lot of runs this year.  It's getting better with Shreve, Wilson, Pinder, and Mitchell--hopefully that trend will continue.

8. Don't Let Your Opponents Score.  As impressive as the 149 runs scored by the HBA Yankees is, the more impressive stat to me is the 23 runs allowed in those 11 games or 2.1 per game.  Not many teams will beat you if they only score 2.1 runs.  Of those 23 runs, 17 were scored in the first 4 games when we really didn't know what the team could do...the closest margin of victory in those games by the way was 6 runs.  The MLB Yankees by contrast have allowed 4.44 runs/game so far this season and have allowed 10 or more runs an aggravating 5 times....JUST IN JUNE!  Of course, the ability to diminish runs is greatly affected by your defense.  The Yankees (ahem...Gregorius....ahem...Headley) are quite lacking in this department.

9. Catchers Can Make the Pitchers.  This is not a knock on Brian McCann...I think he does a decent job behind the plate.  It's one of the areas that the Yankees have been better than most teams in the majors for a long time.  One of the themes for the HBA Yankees this season has been the play of the catchers, most notably the ability to set up behind the plate (location, location, location) and to quell the ability of baserunners to steal with consistent catching of the fastball and quickly locating any passed ball.

10.  You Can Always Learn More.  These kids on the team are good at baseball, but much better at retaining instruction.  We usually only have to critique their batting stance, defense, or baserunning a few times before they start habitualizing our instruction.  Brett Gardner must be learning something new everyday with the way he's hitting lately.  Maybe he's been hanging out with Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez.  One thing that the HBA Yankees have done this year is competed as a team...there are no big egos (or salaries) and each kid congratulates the others and they genuinely enjoy each other's company.  I'm sure that doesn't happen very often in the majors...unless there is beer and chicken wings in the clubhouse...and that is just a recipe for disaster, ehh Tito?

My kid is the tall one with glasses in the back row...
Overall it's been a blast coaching my son in baseball this season.  We took two summers off from the sport due to a bad experience in Tennessee with one of his coaches. But in the interim we worked a lot on fundamentals...batting stance, pitching, fielding, and throwing.  He wears the #7 in honor of Mickey Mantle (his Grandpa's favorite player) and loves to play first base just like Don Mattingly (my favorite player).  This season he has been stationed in the cleanup spot collecting an average of 3 hits per game including 8 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs along with approximately 35 RBI.  He was selected to compete on the All-Star team as well out of the 18 teams in the league.  Throughout the whole season I have never heard him boast about what he's done or say an unkind word to any of his teammates or opponents.  I couldn't be more proud of him and all that he is accomplished so far this season and look forward to the day when he could be wearing the real Pinstripes and maybe teach those guys a thing or two about how to play baseball!

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/24: Burnett K’s Four in One Inning

On this day in 2011 the Yankees AJ Burnett became the first Yankees pitcher to strike out four hitters in one inning when he did it against the Colorado Rockies. AJ Burnett started his sixth inning by striking out Chris Iannetta and followed it up by striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Nelson, only Nelson reached first base after the pitch went wild. Todd Helton would come up next with a runner on before AJ struck the future Hall of Famer out swinging.

In that same game in 2011 a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, 29 year old Michael Kacer, catches a foul ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson in Yankee Stadium. This was significant and eventually went viral and was all over ESPN because Kacer lost an arm during a rocket attack and made the catch with one arm. The catch was the top play in SportsCenter's Top Plays segment.

Also on this day in 2005 when Bernie Williams dropped a ball in center field allowing the New York Mets to become the first National League team to hit three sacrifice flies in one inning. Catcher Ramon Castro's sac fly tied the game at 1-1 before Jose Reyes' fly ball was dropped by Williams. Mike Cameron then flied out to right field allowing a third run to score.

Also on this day in 1992 Fay Vincent permanently suspended the Yankees pitcher Steve Howe for repeated drug offenses. Howe was caught buying a gram of cocaine in the last straw for the commissioner. In November of that year an arbitrator overturned the lifetime ban and allowed the former Rookie of the Year to enjoy one of his best seasons in 1994 when he saved 15 games and had a 1.80 ERA for the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1970 the Yankees pitcher Steve Hamilton throws what is now known as an eephus pitch, maybe the first I don't know, to the Indians Tony Horton and Horton fouled it off. Horton was shocked by this pitch and asked Hamilton to throw it again. Hamilton obliged and the second foul ball ended up in Thurman Munson's glove. The eephus pitch is born? Maybe! The Folly Floater was born.

Finally on this day in 1962 the longest game in New York Yankees history was played between the Bronx Bombers and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees Jack Reed hits a home run in the 22nd inning, his only home run of his career, to help the Yankees beat the Tigers in Tiger Stadium 9-7.