The Yankees raised the white flag, brought in the kids and still maintained the buzz around the ballpark. Plus, what the Cubs and Donald Trump have in common
-Rod who? The omnipresent sluggers nickname, so long on the tip-off of our tongues, seemed long gone by the time two ballyhooed Yankees prospects bounced into the Bronx on Saturday. And so what was supposed to be a weekend awash with nostalgia Alex Rodriguezs departure, the honor of the 1996 World Series champion Yanks and a Monument Park plaque for Mariano Rivera, became much more about tomorrow than yesterday. A
The Yankees, for all their win( some 27 World Series titles ), have suffered in the past. Their most famous collapse came in 1965, when an empire that brought 10 titles, 15 pennants in 18 seasons, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and a host of Yankee upper-class, crumbled to the core.
The Bronx Zoo squads of the late 1970 s and early 1980 s Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry and later Dave Winfield brought four pennants and two titles before they faded. That 1996 squad restored order, is carrying out an epoch that seemed more like the glory years, even if they could never perhaps match the ring counting: 24 winning seasons, 18 play-off appearances, seven pennants and five titles.
Now, eventually, the
Core Four are gone, -ARod is gone, and other peripheral links to their last title are fading.
The Yankees have actually been in a transition mode for several years and have continued to stay competitive, but now the 2016 season becomes well and truly about rebuilding, which doesnt necessarily add up to doom, gloomines and losing.
To the astound of many, the energy around the stadium didnt drop off after -ARods big send-off quite the contrary. Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin sizzled in their first game in pinstripes Saturday, both making home run on debut. Gary Sanchez is on the verge of pushing Brian McCann out of the catching position and into a DH role. Clint Frazier, acquired at the trade deadline is their No1 prospect at Triple-A and already is acting like the next coming of -ARod, trying to pick up
social media superstar Jen Selter on Instagram.
Frazier is still in Scranton, but he plainly expects to be in the Big Apple shortly, perhaps when the rosters expand in September.
So are a host of other Yankee prospects that have assured their farm system already beefed up over the last few seasons further enhanced at the trade deadline.
In just a few days we learned that theres more to the Yankees future than just waiting for Bryce Harper in 2019. Their dealing of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran yielded 10 prospects, plus Adam Warren , now playing a key set-up role in the bullpen. Three of those were top prospects, Frazier, shortstop Gleyber Torres and pitcher Dillon Tate.
The Yankees system is stacked, which doesnt always measure up on a big league level. So the question is, can the Yankees stay competitive during their latest transition? Turning such a trick would make a mockery of tanking squads such as the Astros and Braves, clubs that chose a long, arduous road filed with pain and suffering while rebuilding.
Comparing smaller marketplace rebuilds to the all-powerful Yankees might seem flawed, but its not always about the money: Brian Cashman turned an acquisition of Chapman for their sixth and 10 th-ranked prospects into the top rated Torres at a cost of merely over$ 5m. If the infielder turns into a starring down the road it will be an inexpensive steal.
Right now it looks like the Yankees cant lose, even when they try to. After dealing away their biggest chips, New York are playing with a buzz at their ballpark, an outside shot at the post-season and a well-defined road map towards the future.
Video of the week
Once upon a hour, there was rumor that the reason for the fouled territory bullpens inside AT& T Park in San Francisco was that the architect forgot to set them into the design. Humorous, but horse patootie. As it happens, the pens, which are so tight that relievers have no choice but to sit with the team in the dugout, were put there to allow fans to insure who is warming up in a move designed to bring more intimacy to the game experience.
Those bullpens also brought us Monday night, when Hunter Pence tripped over the right-field pitchers mound, fell on his back, and still managed to make a ridiculous catch.
Honorable mention to Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin,
whose glove is keeping up with his abruptly smoking bat .~ ATAGEND Quote of the Week
Im extremely hurt, the way things are being handled. Im not calling anyone names, but this is really frustrating and disappointing. This has been my favorite organization going back to when I was a kid, because of Rickey Henderson, and Ive enjoyed playing here so much, and Ive set it all out there Up until recently, its been tremendously enjoyable.
Oakland Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp, who needs to play in 130 games for his 2017 $ 13 m vesting option to kick down. The 36 -year-old has appeared in 93 of Oaklands 119 games thus far, isnt confront lefties and hasnt been pinch-hitting. Whos closer to victory: Donald Trump or the Cubs?
This is a week that the Cubs are actually closer to being Donald Trump than an actual baseball squad.
On Sunday night, Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman pitched an incident-free ninth-inning against the
St Louis Cardinals. Then the Wrigley Field DJ went to his archive, excavating out Smack My Bitch Up, a 1990 s way from The Prodigy. While its true that a parent probably doesnt want to explain what smacking up a bitch is to an overtired nine-year-old pre-teen on a Sunday night, the selection becomes much worse when considering that Chapman served a 30 -game suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident.
The Cubs fired the DJ and apologized for the actions of their employee, one who recklessly called attention to their acquiring of a player accused of choking his girlfriend.
This sort of straight-up provocation is right in Trumps wheelhouse, a Grade-A 100% Trump move. And come to think of it, deeming Trumps past statements on women, Im of kind surprised we havent heard that way at some of his campaign events. So with Trump carrying all the momentum of
dominant poll numbers in Alabama, and the Cubs suffering through a rough PR blip, Le Grande Orange gets the win this week. How did the children piss off Goose Gossage this week?
Well, some believe it may not be baseball players, but rather, Usain Bolt whos rattling his cage these days.
If Goose wouldnt take to Bolts galas after winning, then what would he think of Kirabatis David Katoatau dances after losing?
Nine believes in order
1) Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully once said: In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened. Those famous words, uttered as he called
Kirk Gibsons classic World Series home run, can also be applied to one Bartolo Colon. In a year that Big Sexy ran deep for the very first time in his long career, Colon has added another missing link to his arm-length rsum: a stroll. It took 282 career plate appearances, but the beloved 43 -year-old Mets hurler laid off a high 3-2 fastball during what was actually an extremely impressive at bat against Arizonas flame-throwing Robbie Ray. The impossible had finally happened.
The next milestone for Colon? A stolen base.
2) Giancarlo Stanton, bopper, home run champ, launcher of moonshots: out for the season after a serious groin injury on Sunday. The topic is, do the Marlins, who find themselves right in the thick of the National League wild card race, actually require him to vie? This season, Miami are actually 12 -4 without Stanton in the lineup and 50 -5 3 with him. In 2015, the Fish were 30 -4 4 with Stanton ripping, and 41 -4 7 with him sitting. So during that span, Miami are two games over. 500 without him and 17 under with him.
While losing a bat the caliber of a Stanton may seem like the death knell for play-off baseball in southern Florida, were talking about a team thats been competing despite an offense thats scored the fourth fewest runs in the NL. Their they are able to win is not entirely attached to their lineup, or the at-bat of Stanton.
3) Another team right in the play-off hunting are the
Pittsburgh Pirates, a twice scorned franchise still reeling off the back of their recent wild card play-off defeats.
The Pirates are desperate for a chance to lose their third wild card game, and have been showing signs of coming around after a thwart season. Their mishmash rotation received a youthful injection that has changed the outlook substantially. Jamison Taillon is possibly the best rookie hurler in baseball, while fellow rookie Chad Kuhl has also helped solidify a starting five that abruptly seems more than legit. Ryan Vogelsong is back from trauma, the freshly acquired Ivan Nova is enjoying NL baseball and superstar Gerrit Cole is steady despite being illuminated up his last start: thats a far cry from a group that included Jon Niese, Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano this season.
With the bullpen steadily adjusting to the loss of closer Mark Melancon, and a core of Francisco Cervelli, Andrew McCutchen, Jung Ho Kang, Sean Rodriguez and even David Freese, all scorching over the last week, there are signs that the Bucs may be equipped to build the play-offs for a third straight season after all, especially after heading out west and defeating the Dodger and Giant in back-to-back series.
4) Rob Manfred appeared as a
guest columnist on ESPN.com on Wednesday to point out that baseball is changing quicker than ever, and that its the commissioners obligation to manage change so that the beauty of our game is preserved in a way that future generations continue to embrace the sport. Heres a few points Manfred made:
In 1975, the average game was 2 hours and 30 minutes. Now the average game is three hours. Back in 1988, the average major league club employed 17 pitchers over the course of the season. In 2015, the average club used 27 pitchers we are seeing less of our superstar starting pitchers, more postpones for pitching changes, and less action at arousing points late in video games. Players are making home run at a record pace, but the number of balls put in play is at a historic low. There have been more strikeouts this season than in any other season in baseball history since 1871.