Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This is post 500. I have been at this for 500 entries.

This one follows a Red Sox and a Patriots loss. C'est la vie.

Let's take a look at some key things from this year...

The Patriots lost a heart breaker in the Super Bowl. Right now everybody is calling it the worst loss in Super Bowl history. While I'm not thrilled the team lost, it's not like they got blown out. They were edged out by a team that came in with a good game plan.

In time, that 2007 season will be remembered in the same way that the Bills four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl are now remembered. Once called the biggest losers in the NFL for going 0-4 in consecutive Super Bowls, the Bills are now talked about as having achieved something no other team did. They're talked about in terms of achievement, not failure. I firmly believe the same will happen for the Patriots, it will just take some time.

Watching the Pats this past weekend, the team has its work cut out for them going into the bye. There were those who talked about how the Bill Belichick probably would like to be getting right back into it next weekend, but I think the bye comes at a good time. This gives the Pats a chance to retool a defense that got virtually no pressure on Chad Pennington in the game against the 'Phins, a chance to retool a defense that had gaping holes in their zone in the secondary, and were brutally bad at tackling.

There will be no extra days off in Foxboro during this bye, and for good reason.

Diamond Dogs...

"Chamberlain had become the most dominant starting pitcher in baseball and Wang has been a 19-game winner every year," Steinbrenner said. "You lose those two guys, it's rough. If the Red Sox lost (Josh) Beckett and (Jon) Lester, the whole national media would be crying about it. We lose two guys better than Beckett and Lester and you don't hear anything." - NY Daily News, August 12, 2008
I won't even get into Hank's delusions regarding the quality of his pitching staff, but I will note that as The Hoodie would say, you play with who's out there, they've got to step up.

With a $200+ million payroll, you damn well better have the depth to deal with injuries, and for all the injuries the Yankees have had, the Red Sox have been just as banged up.

No starts from Curt Schilling.

Missed starts by Beckett, and Daisuke Matsuzaka and an ineffective Clay Buchholz.

David Ortiz missed almost 30 percent of the season and has played with a nagging wrist injury.

Mike Lowell has missed more than 25 percent of the season and played with a nagging hip injury.

JD Drew will have missed close to 30 percent of the season with a bad back.

Manny Ramirez, pretty much half the season due to...well, being an asshole and getting traded.

Julio Lugo missed significant time - about 25 percent of the season, due to injury.

Kevin Youkilis has missed games due to injury as well.

Jason Varitek has flirted with the Mendoza line all season.

That's six of the Sox starting nine and three of the starting five in the rotation missing games due to injury. What do you suppose Hank's reason is for why the Sox stayed near the division lead while the Yankees struggled? Or why the Rays continued to win despite losses of key players for significant stretches?

I know what I saw - the difference was that the Sox, and even the Rays, had youngsters that contributed and their GM's made moves that helped. Paul Byrd instead of Sydney Ponson. Jason Bay instead of Ivan Rodriguez.

The Yankees have six players ranked in the top 25 in payroll, including Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and Derek Jeter - the top three on the list. When the Sox traded away Manny, they traded away the only top 25 payroll drain on their payroll. That Brian Cashman...helluva GM.

Hank went on to insist that the Yankees will contend next season, but that's not going to happen unless they go out and get some starters and some relievers - because trying to put Joba Chamberlain, a pitcher whose injury issues caused him to drop in the amateur draft, in the starting rotation is still the height of foolishness. Meanwhile, the Sox are well positioned with the first four spots of the rotation set, and guys like Justin Masterson and Manny Delcarmen coming along.

Yes, the Yankees are better in the minors than they have been, but the Red Sox have built up serious depth there as well - the Sox' youngsters have shown the ability to come up big in the majors when called on. The Yanks....well, we saw how well Phil Hughes did helping the team.


the blue state blogger said...

Hank Steinbrenner is what Phil Gramm actually had in mind when he made that "nation of whiners" crack.

Kevin Smith said...


Dave said...

In Cashman's defense (and I cannot believe I am doing this) the problem with a lack of young talent has been Steinbrenner signing FAs for years. Olney just did a piece on this at ESPN. Between 1997 and 2005, the Yankees produced only 10 position players who saw time in the majors. They totaled less than 1000 at-bats between them.

I am praying Cashman leaves the team, because if he gets a few more years in the Bronx, the Yankees farm system will get healthy again.

Kevin Smith said...

The flip side of that is the fact that his mid-season moves are hit or miss at best - this year's being attrocious, and the fact that he doesn't seem to know when his young talent is ready for the bigs.

With a bottomless check book, he should have the success he had.

I think it speaks volumes that the New York papers are writing about wishing the Bombers had Pedroia instead of Robinson Cano.

I get what you're saying, but I would be curious to see if Cashman really could put together a playoff team for 150 million or less like the rest of the league. I'm not convinced he can.