Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yankees' Mark Teixeira & His Priorities: They Mean Only One Thing

This morning Mark Teixeira helped to co-host ESPN Radio and ESPN2's popular morning program, "Mike & Mike." He was scheduled to appear on the show for three of its four hours.

It's the postseason, but the Yankees aren't in the playoffs so, you can't begrudge him the opportunity.  Tex has plenty of time to do TV and radio shows right now.

What about during the baseball season? Teixeira didn't make a multi-hour appearance on any shows this season (that I know of).  However, he was involved in many other off-field activities, including acquiring and managing real estate and monitoring a juice bar investment. You have probably read Wallace Matthews' article, which mentions other off-field activities Teixeira has participated in during his career, which include appearing on "Entourage" and performing in a Broadway show.

But Matthews also mentioned that some Yankees personnel are wondering if Teixeira has his priorities screwed up. They wonder if baseball is less of one than everything else he is doing is. Couple that with what I am calling his infamous comment about no longer being able to play everyday anymore--at the age of 34.  Add to them the fact that Teixeira has only two more years left on his deal with the Yankees. Can you see where I'm going?

Mark Teixeira's current contract will be the last of his career. He will retire from baseball after the 2016 season.  I will be shocked if this does not happen.

Let's hope that Teixeira will have the desire to hit the opposite way during these last two years. However, I'm not holding my breath.

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 ladybatting@gmail.com 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.