Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reality Check

News flash: Four wins in a row is not a tear. A six game deficit with sixteen games to go is not something to get worked up over. I understand that the Yankees are in a bit of a slide, but the Red Sox just won three straight against perhaps the worst team in baseball in the Mariners (see Tuesday night's post). They are basically doing what they're supposed to be doing.

They also lost two straight - and a series - to the Oakland Athletics. And they got swept by the White Sox. You know, if they had actually executed instead of mailing it in against those non-contenders, maybe they'd be in some kind of pennant race. But they'd have to pick up more than one game every three games. Do the math. And expecting to go 6-0 against New York is something borne from Red Sox fans who have obviously not watched ANY of the 2010 Red Sox team.

Also, Francona's not throwing Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick out there if priority #1 is getting back into the Wild Card.

Other fun stuff:
-Notable to add just to keep track of the JD Drew injury pantheon: He has missed four straight games with a sore ankle. No word on whether the sore ankle was the reason he was dogging it on the basepaths and got thrown out rounding first base a few nights ago. I suppose Drew was fortunate that this fell into the "tree falling in the woods" category.
-Anyone who followed my writing before How Youz Doin remembers that I was a huge Dan Johnson fan for years, jumping on the bandwagon his rookie season when he hit like .450 for a month. Johnson and Nick Swisher were central offensive figures to the last night of the Oakland A's dynasty. It was bittersweet to see him sink the Red Sox season this year, as he never really panned out. It was sweetsweet to see him pummel the Yankees though.
-Pat's gonna hate me for even bringing up the issue, but y'all might want to talk about Derek Jeter's histrionics after not getting hit by a pitch Wednesday night. It was essentially the same as a basketball flop, a Tom Brady flop against the Ravens last year, and everything ever done by the Italian soccer team. Gamesmanship? Sure. Cheap. Sure.
-However, it was not a violation of the rules whether written or unwritten, unlike Arod's karate chop or Howie Clark incident. Umpire's job to get it right. He probably should have just kept his mouth shut after the game, though.
-A lot of this also has to do with reputation. Arod would have been crushed big time on that, but largely in Boston, at least, Jeter has been defended. That's because he's been doing everything right for the last 15 years.
-It reminded me a bit of when Pedroia was clearly tagged out but was called safe during a game in 2009, I think against Toronto. There's a pretty hilarious picture of him giggling while the second baseman was arguing with an umpire who clearly missed a call.
-Bottom line is that he probably should have just run to first base and let it be sorted out instead of engaging in what this was: an act of desperation to get on base.
-Already two posts ready in draft either for next week or for my vacation week. Exciting stuff.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV,

I would be more interested to hear what Pat thinks about Jeter's poor performance this season and how long after this season the Yankees should humor him by keeping him as their every day shortstop. Then again, having a DH hit .260 with no power for $20mil a year isn't that appetizing either. This is going to turn into a Varitek type situation very quickly.

Of course we won't hear from Pat about this. Likely the excuse will be that "I'm too emotionally drained" or "We're in the middle of a pennant race and I'm not talking about next year" or "I'm busy because I'm in my third year of law school"....school mind you.

And we think the Red Sox mailed it in.

Bandi

Anonymous said...

DV

Anybody who has watched this Sox team knows that the deficit they are faced with is insurmountable. At no point this year have they shown they are capable of making the type of run that they need to make the playoffs.

With that said, the fact is that they COULD do it. Crazy things happen. They have a lot of head to heads with the Yankees. After they got swept by Chicago they looked like they were headed for 82 wins. Now? Nobody really thinks they will make the playoffs, but people are going to watch tonight and see what happens. Could the Sox get hot against the Jays and Orioles at home? Yes, they could. Could they trim two games off the Yankees lead by the time they play New York. Yes. Then they'd be four back with six against New York. It's not likely. And even if that scenario does play out, the Yankees will probably crush the Sox. But the fact is that there is much more intrigue now than there was two weeks ago and for a season that was completely lost, it's a pleasant surprise.

As for Derek Jeter--the guy is getting a break because, as you said, he's done things the right way for so long. People want to call what he did cheating and it's not. It is gamesmanship. But, I'm a little surprised because it was a desperate move and it was not classy. I did expect more from him than that. It doesn't change my opinion of him very much, but I will say that I was a bit disappointed.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Emotionally drained is the new sore glove hand.

I doubt Pat will even address the Jeter situation, as he said it was a non-issue over a text message last night. The overarching underperformance would be an interesting take to have.

PF said...

the only reason this situation has gotten as much attention as it has is because it's derek jeter. the only other player in the game who would draw this kind of reaction would be rodriguez, and it would be even worse. the reason we know this is because we see other players do the exact same thing - not get hit with a pitch but sell it like they did - and we don't hear about it. which is fine, it's part of being who those two players are and playing for who they play for, we simply just have to acknowledge that it has very little to do with what happened and a lot to do with who was involved. if this was robinson cano or brett gardner nothing would have come of this besides a few replays. certainly i doubt dv would be devoting a section of a post to it.

because the reality is doing what jeter did is no different than a second baseman selling a phantom tag even though he knows he wasn't close, an outfielder saying he caught the ball even though it was a clear trap, a defender in basketball yelling and flopping backwards to try and get a charge even though there was barely any contact, a running back or receiver slowing down the second they get out of bounds to try and draw contact and get an extra 15 yards on a late hit call, the list goes on and on. it is, as gunn points out, gamesmanship.

the worst argument i've heard is that jeter wouldn't have done it if he was having a typical offensive season by his standards. his team is down a run and he's trying to get on base. when he's going at his career average of .314, he's still not getting on base 61% of the time. this year he's not getting on base 67% of the time. is that extra 6 times out of 100 really going to make him not try to get on base via selling a hit by pitch that wasn't? i don't think so. especially because he's not a power hitter, so even when he's going good when he stays in there the most likely thing he is to do is get to first base. and the odds are still against him, so the smart baseball play is to try to get on first any way that you can, no matter how you're playing.

if that's desperation, so be it, i like my athletes desperate. i'd much rather have the guy who is trying to get on first any way possible and let the umps decide when he's not going to first than the guy who doesn't push the envelope. gunn also mentions classy and expecting more from him, but i'm not sure what either of those things have to do with it. again, this is the type of thing virtually every athlete does in one way or another, and i'm not sure why jeter should be held to any different standard.

PF said...

as for beyond this season, i think jeter should get a thank you contract. part of it is that he deserves it, part of it is that i think he'll have a bounceback offensive season next year. but "thank you" is a long way from "this is what we would have paid you 5 years ago". he hasn't played well enough to deserve that this season. had he, he probably would have forced the yankees hand. but thank you is not a blank check. just take a look at the season's rivera and posada had before they got their thank you contracts, and what they got paid. considering how different jeter's contract season has gone from theirs, it's difficult to justify him getting much more than them. he is more iconic than posada, but not much more than rivera if at all, and he certainly isn't any more important than him, that is if rivera isn't more important than jeter. i think the yankees should start at 2 and hope to settle on a 3 year deal. one interesting idea i saw recently from jon heyman was paying jeter a lot less now but guaranteeing him money after his career was over. i forget what the number was that he suggested but it was something like $10 mil a year for 10 years after he retired. this helps jeter because he's getting a bigger contract, while also not occupying such a large portion of the team's payroll while he's still playing, allowing the yankees spend it in other areas and presumably making it more likely for them to win while he's there. it helps the yankees because after he retires he'd be getting paid as a non-player employee, and non-player employee salaries don't count against the luxury tax. so instead of paying jeter $1.40 on every dollar or whatever it is now, they'd be paying him $1 on every dollar, which will be a pretty substantial savings given the amount of money that could be involved. i think this is brilliant, and because of the longevity with which he will be getting paid is the ultimate thank you contract. i'm not sure if jeter would agree, or if the yankees will even try such a thing, or if it is even possible, but i think it's a great that could suit both parties nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

PF,

Thank you for the comment. It was very interesting and insightful. I would agree that a thank you contract is warranted as long as it's not out of control. If Jeter bounces back at least somewhat offensively it will a non-issue.

If he doesn't then I think the more interesting discussion becomes what you do with him in the lineup. How has his defense been this year? Do you think that he can be an everyday shortstop for 3 more years? However I would tend to agree with you- I think he'll probably find a way to bounce back next year.

Bandi

Ross Kaplan said...

I honestly cannot count out the Red Sox until the Yankees beat them in their next series against each other even with Youk-Pedroia out for the season.

This has admittedly been a weird season for me not having watched this few games since my childhood due to a combination of Bar prep, travels, packing/moving and other shenanigans. I mean I honestly thought Ortiz had dropped off the face of the earth so I was shocked to discover how close he was to putting together another 30/100 campaign.

What I can tell from the few Yankees game I've watched recently, is that this team is going nowhere in October if the pitching doesnt pick up soon. And yes I realize I'm all over the place tonight but its been a while since I last commented so deal with this stream of consciousness style till I get back in the groove.