Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Four Off-Season Priorities For The New York Yankees

While the Yankees have conducted their organizational meetings this week, I have given a lot of thought to what I think they should be focusing on down there in Tampa.

They should be concentrating on many things, but in my opinion, these four should be at top of the list:

1. Acquiring or trading for a new shortstop:  JJ Hardy never really floated my boat, so I'm glad the Orioles swooped in and took him off the radar. What I'd like for them to do is to look into the availability of the Cubs' Starlin Castro.  The Cubs have a glut of shortstops in their system and Castro is only 24 years old. With all the catching depth the Yankees have, they should be able to work out something that will put Castro in pinstripes.

2. Shoring up the starting rotation:  The Yankees already have more than enough starters to fill a starting rotation. The question, however, is the health of those starters. They need to add one. However, I'm afraid of the big pitchers that will enter free agency next month. They are all over 30 and will demand huge money. Why not go the bargain route and sign Brandon McCarthy?

3. Bringing in a backup 1B: And I'm not talking about Alex Rodriguez.  The speculation right now is that Mark Teixeira will have a bounce-back season in 2015, when he'll be another year removed from his wrist surgery. I'm not buying it.  Call for backup.

4. Buying out Alex Rodriguez: I know that this isn't likely to happen, but I want it to. If you've listened to the latest podcast, you know why.  It was okay for Rodriguez to screw up once, especially when he said, "Judge me from here on out."  However, he doesn't deserve a second chance, in my opinion. He's a liar and a cheat, a complete fraud.  That's why I'm using this hashtag on Twitter: #BuyOutAROD.

Those are my priorities. I wish they were the Yankees' as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Podcast #42- The 2014 Yankees Season: Wrapping Things Up & Saying Goodbye

In this final podcast of the year, I present a postmortem of the 2014 Yankees season, a cheer for Derek Jeter and a big fat jeer for Alex Rodriguez.

Leave your comments below or email me at with your feedback. You can also hit me up on Twitter at @LadyWriting.

Talk to you in 2015!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Some Takeaways On The Recent Hal Steinbrenner Interview

I realize that I am late to the party on this one, but I only just had a chance to view The Michael Kay Show's Hal Steinbrenner interview.  Kay and Don La Greca did a great job with the son of The Boss, asking tough questions that were answered, for the most part, pretty well.

Some takeaways:

1. When asked if he would shop the free agent market, Steinbrenner said that, the plan was to look for a shortstop and a pitcher.  A pitcher.  It does not sound like the Yankees will go after both Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, as so many in the media predicted during the 2014 season.  Hopefully the one pitcher they do sign is Brandon McCarthy.

2. Steinbrenner was asked to comment on Mark Teixeira' feelings about his playing time--the fact that he feels he's getting too old to play everyday.  He first said they needed to be "more forceful" with Teixeira, but then backed down, saying they were really going to find out if he was absolutely sure he couldn't play on a given day. They should have been doing that all along, in my opinion.

3. He's getting all the facts before deciding whether to fire anyone.  I think that's fine. If and when he does get around to firing anyone, I think two people need to go: 1B/infield coach Mick Kelleher and 3B coach Rob Thomson.  The Yankees ran the bases like little leaguers in 2014 and, if it hadn't been for mid-season additions like Chase Headley, Martin Prado and Stephen Drew, their infield defense would have finished last in the American League.

4. He and the entire organization realize that improving the team's player development department is a top priority.  They understand that these are not The Boss' New York Yankees.  The future belongs to the kids.

Again, it was a good interview. Lots of questions were answered and a lot of blame was accepted. It was a huge step in the right direction.

Mixed Reaction To Jeter's New Website

The responses yesterday to Derek Jeter's new website ran the gamut: from negative criticism to plain confusion.

Notice that I didn't include positive feedback. That's because, as far as I could tell, there wasn't any. In fact, most of the feedback received after the launch of The Players' Tribune was along the lines of verbal head scratching. The biggest questions being asked were, "Isn't this the same thing as Twitter?" and "If it is like Twitter, how can it be unfiltered?"

Jeter's choice of the word "unfiltered" is, of course, the crux of the matter. What does he really mean by it?  At least one reporter who covered him during his 20 year career appeared to feel slighted by the word. Others were quick to get technical, pointing out that having editors and producers on the website's staff means that the content will not be unfiltered.

Perhaps I'm too much of a fan, but when I read Jeter's first post yesterday, I understood "unfiltered" to mean not taken out of context by the mainstream media.  He wants to talk directly with the public without the media, purposely or inadvertently, misconstruing what he has to say. By starting this platform he will be able to do it.

On the other hand, if Jeter's Twitter chat yesterday was any indication of what's to come, disappointment will run rampant, and The Players' Tribune will be a failure. A joke by Mike Lupica notwithstanding, Jeter's fear of cats, and answers to the other fluff questions he chose to answer--"chose to" being the key words here--do not make for great content for a site devoted to just that.

It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Derek Jeter Gift Meter: Boston Red Sox

Going into the final series of the 2014 season, the Boston Red Sox downplayed their plans to honor Derek Jeter, giving some the impression that no gifts would be included in the ceremony.  Obviously, they played things very close to the vest.

1. A pair of LL Bean duck boots featuring the Yankees interlocking NY logo, presented by Brian Butterfield, one of Jeter's minor league coaches.

2. A pinstriped second base, presented by Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia.

3. A metal placard with the word RE2PECT painted on it, presented by Red Sox players David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts.

4. A check for $22,222.22 for Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation.

Analysis: If you look up the phrase "save the best for last" in an encyclopedia, a picture of this farewell ceremony would accompany the article about it. After getting it wrong with Mariano Rivera last year, the Red Sox came back big time with Derek Jeter. There is absolutely nothing to complain about.  From appearances by all the living team captains in the history of Boston sports to the founder of the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the performance of "Respect" by "The Voice" contestant Michelle Brown-Thompson, this was the best Derek Jeter sendoff of the entire season.

Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being perfect and 1 being garbage--  10

So, there you have it.  The Derek Jeter Gift Meter is complete. For a complete look back, click here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Derek Jeter Goes Out On Top As Yankees Wrap Up Season

Watching Derek Jeter walk off a baseball field for the last time as an active player was one of the most painful experiences of my baseball life. It was that painful because I knew that I’ll never see him lead the Yankees onto the field again, never see him stare in from SS waiting for the next pitch and never see him tug the rim of his helmet in the batters box moments before he sends a pitch into RF.

The Captain has played his final Major League game and, on Sunday afternoon, I was overcome with tears, a crying headache and disbelief that Derek Jeter’s career is really over. Even though he told us more than 162 games ago that this would be it, somehow it still didn’t feel real. Not until Thursday night when Derek Jeter slapped a game winning RBI single and earned his first Gatorade shower in his last game at Yankee Stadium did it start to sink in. The tears started then and continued right up until he walked off the field and into the visitors dugout at Fenway Park for the last time.

As I watched Jeter tip his cap one more time and hug his teammates, I thought to myself, “Don’t leave Captain. Don’t leave.” Part of me doesn’t want to find out what baseball is like without him. I don't want to imagine the Yankees without #2 running out to SS, leading the charge to another post-season berth. I can't face the litany of questions staring at my favorite team now that the distraction of Jeter’s farewell is complete.

Then I watched as the YES Network kept showing Jeter’s face in the dugout. There was the Captain, laughing, smiling and clapping the shoulders of his teammates. He looked relaxed. He looked composed. He looked ready to go. Ready to say goodbye.

And I realized that Michael Kay put it best during that broadcast when he said, “Well, there’s two ways you can look at it. You can be sad that it’s over…or you can just be elated that you got a chance to watch him for 20 years.”

Derek Jeter gave the Yankees and their fans his best for 20 years. Now he’s ready to move on, ready to remove that heavy crown and move on to another phase of his life. So now I choose to be elated, to be happy for him and, no matter how much it hurts, to let him go.

There will be moments of doubt over the winter as I wonder whether Joe Girardi lost the clubhouse with his late season tongue lashing, whether Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran will ever hit well enough to carry a line-up or whether the Yankees pitching can be as successful as it was in 2014. All of that is for another day. For now I’ll just say farewell Captain. And thank you.