Thursday, July 8, 2010

Game 85: Off To Sea Once More

Just a week ago the Yankees were looking to salvage one victory from a sinking three game set against the Mariners in the Bronx. Today they begin a new four gamer, this time on the Mariners's home turf. They will have to face Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez again, but they get a crack at Jason Vargas first as Andy Pettitte matches up with him tonight.

Vargas is a bit of a soft-tosser, with a fastball averaging about 87mph, but as we've seen with guys like Dallas Braden and Jamie Moyer earlier this year, that doesn't mean he'll be a push over. For what it's worth (not much) the Yankees faced him last July and scored four runs off of him in four innings but the Mariners still won the game.

The last series with the M's was a bit of a wreck, but with any luck the Yanks will be able to walk away with this one with more than one victory. It would certainly behoove them to get on the board tonight, before the big guns come out Friday and Saturday night.

As I was walking down the street I met big Rapper Brown.
I asked him if he would take me in, and he looked at me with a frown.
He said, “Last time you was paid off, with me you chalked up no score,
But I'll take your advance and I'll give youse a chance to go to sea once more.”.
[Song Notes: This is a traditional song which Jerry Garcia and David Grisman adapted for their awesome album Shady Grove.]


Not tonight.

"Send Swish" Succeeds... At Annoying The Sh*t Out Of Everyone

Hey Yankee fans! Check out the team's website this morning and tell me what the first thing you see is.

Is it a recap of last night's game, which most people who are up early on East Coast time would probably be interested in seeing? Why, no, it's yet another message from the Yankees telling you to vote Nick Swisher into the All-Star game to go along with the - not kidding - THIRTEEN other mentions of the Final Vote and TEN pictures of his face on the front page before you even have to scroll down.

We have:
  1. A gaudy background design telling you to "Send Swish" and visit, even though you are already there.

  2. A banner ad on top of the site.

  3. Underneath the main picture, there is a link to this page created for the "Send Swish" campaign.

  4. And a link to an article Bryan Hoch wrote about all the support Swisher is getting (with a video interview).

  5. And a link to an article about Brian Cashman coercing children into stuffing the ballot box under the guise of charity work.

  6. Another link to an article by Hoch on the status of the vote (Swish is in the lead!!1!). I'm sure Bryan is having a fucking blast writing all of these!

  7. And a link to where you can vote under that.

  8. And a contest (for two regular season tickets and an autographed ball! (/makes wanking motion)) that you could potentially have a 1:10,000,000 chance of winning if you vote for Swisher.

  9. Another link to Swish's campaign headquarters.

  10. On the right, there is the video with him and his surfboard that you would have to have been living in a hole not to to have seen ten times already.

  11. Under that, there is a second link to the support article.

  12. And a second link to the status article.

  13. And yet another link to where you can vote.
This is in addition to the four or five emails the Yankees have blasted out, the shameless plug in the recap, the innumerable on-air mentions, more articles that Hoch has probably been forced to write at gunpoint, and pretty much every Yankee blog happily joining in this massive, elaborate PR circle jerk to maybe see Swisher play a couple of innings in an exhibition game over someone who is more deserving.

To be clear, it's not really the Yankees who are at fault here. They are just doing what they do best: flexing their considerable resources to gain an advantage over the competition. I'm sure the Red Sox campaign for Youk is equally exasperating. The true culprit here is the concept of the "Final Vote", which is baseball's equivalent of having a play-in game for the 64th spot in the NCAA Tournament - a stupid attention grab that means next to nothing.

Sure, all of the All-star voting is essentially a popularity contest and teams are all too happy to promote their own guys ad nauseam as soon as they have the chance, but the Final Vote takes everything that is wrong and irksome with the process and shoves it down your throat constantly for four days straight.

I get it, "Let's rally around our guy". Swisher is having an excellent year. In terms of WAR and wOBA, he trails only Robinson Cano on the team. He's never been an All-Star and since he's a corner outfielder, he's not going to get all that many chances to be one. From his perspective, the opportunity to rally the Yankees' massive fanbase around his candidacy is probably his best shot of ever being able to add the feather of playing in the Mid-Summer Classic to his cap. He seems to sincerely want it, too. But I don't care.

I'm not voting, and if I was - and I know this is tough to believe - I would vote for Kevin Youkilis (you know, the guy who is the best player among those available). He's been worth nearly a full win more than Swisher this year (with Paul Konerko, Michael and Delmon Young trailing well behind) and, as much as we hate him, deserves his third straight All-Star selection more than Swisher deserves his first. Furthermore, when push comes to shove, if the AL needs a pinch hitter in extra innings of the ASG to win homefield advantage in the World Series, I'd much rather see Youk at the plate than Swish. Wouldn't you?

Game 83 Recap

[WE data via FG]

Not In The Highlights:
  • The Yanks loaded the bases in the first inning with one out but Posada and Thames struck out to end the threat.

  • A-Rod fell down trying to catch a pop up in foul territory
  • A.J. Burnett build on his last strong outing against the Blue Jays with a seven inning, two run effort last night. He only struck out two batters but induced 11 ground balls and allowed just five hits and two walks.

  • In the fourth inning, despite the fact that Francisco Cervelli erased a leadoff single by Marcus Thames with a double play, the Yanks managed to plate five runs. Ramiro Pena and Derek Jeter both chipped in RBI singles and Mark Teixeira launched a three run homer off of Gio Gonzalez to center field.

  • Stop the presses, Damaso Marte pitched a full fucking inning!

  • Joba Chamberlain allowed a single to lead off the ninth inning but erased it with a double play and escaped without allowing a run.
Up Next:
  • The Yanks fly up the coast to Seattle for a four game set with the Mariners which will lead them into the All-Star break.