Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ever To Excel

I've never been shy about dropping references to my alma mater here, whether it's been talking about the Beanpot, recapping their outdoor hockey game at Fenway, or making passing references to their football team all fall. I realize that, with the exception of Joe, it's of little to no interest to the vast majority of the Fackers, but I appreciate your humoring me, or at least ignoring it politely.

But today Fackers, today is a day where you all should rally behind Boston College. At 6:00, BC will play their annual exhibition game against the Red Sox. You may not care about BC, but I know that there's no love for the Sox in these parts.

The Eagles have little chance against the Sox. They've never beaten them, and about the best things got was three years ago when Johnny Ayers, who was also the punter on the football team, led off the game with a double off Daisuke Matsuzaka in his first Red Sox appearance.

But the BC baseball program has gained a higher profile in recent years. Catcher Tony Sanchez was the fourth overall pick in last year's draft; pitcher Mike Belfiore was a supplemental first round pick, and two other Eagles were selected in the later rounds. Last year's team qualified for the College World Series for the first time in forty two years and battled national power house Texas for seven hours and twenty five innings before losing the longest game in collegiate history. It's a long shot, but if Manatee Junior College could beat the Pirates last year, maybe there's hope for the Eagles tonight.

For the Sox, former Twin Boof Bonser gets the start after missing all of 2009 with a shoulder injury. I had hoped the Yankees would kick the tires on Bonser when the Twins DFA'd him in the offseason. Not because he's any good - he's not really - but because he sports the same nickname that's followed me for more than fifteen years. I briefly had visions of me getting a player t-shirt with my nickname on the back without looking like a total loser in the process, but it's just not in the cards. To make matters worse he's gone to the worst possible team. So that's it for you Boof: you're dead to me now.

Game starts at six and will air on NESN. To get your school spirit going for tonight here are the Dropkick Murphy's with the BC fight song.

"Making" Jeter A "Yankee For Life"®!1™!!1!©!

Tired of the talk about Derek Jeter's upcoming contract negotiations? Well, you're in luck! Kevin Kernan has a mind-bendingly redundant and asinine column in this morning's Post that bypasses Jeter's current situation and orders the Yankees to somehow make him part owner of the team after his career is over (but offers no blueprint of how that might be accomplished).

Why? Because, Jeter apparently needs to be a "Yankee for Life" and Kernan purports that making him an owner of the team is the only way to accomplish that.

Allow me to summarize the entirely (and inanity) of Kernan's article with four short, verbatim excepts of it:
  • The Yankees need to find a way to make Derek Jeter a Yankee for Life. There's really only one way. At some point the Steinbrenner family would have to take him into the ownership group.

  • The Yankees and Jeter will come together on a new deal at some point, but Jeter needs to be a Yankee for Life and there is a way to make him one. The Yankees need to work out a deal with Jeter where they allow him to become part of Yankees ownership after his playing days are complete.

  • Jeter needs to be a Yankee for Life.

  • Where will that ownership path take him? It should take him through The Bronx. Jeter should be a Yankee for Life.
Pop quiz, Kernan: How much of the team does Yogi Berra own? Yes, he played for and managed other teams, but does that diminish his legacy as a True Yankee 4EVAR®? Larry Bird is the President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers, do you think fans of the Celtics remember him any less fondly?

The Yankees don't need to "find a way to make Jeter a Yankee for life". The fact that Kernan is demanding that Jeter be magically granted an ownership stake in the team is a testament to the status he holds in the franchise regardless of whether they cut him in to it financially or not. Nothing needs to be done to make Jeter a lifelong Yankee except maybe give him another contract and invite him back to Old Timer's Day when it expires.
One thing is certain, Derek Jeter attains his goals. So you can be sure he will be an MLB owner somewhere.
Another thing that is certain? That is fucking ridiculous.

What if Derek Jeter's goal is to build a baseball stadium on the Moon and play his team's games there? Well, the rest is just a formality, right Kevin? THE WILL OF DEREK JETER CAN NEVER BE DENIED!
Jeter will be a championship owner just as he is a championship player.
The formula worked perfectly for Michael Jordan.

Craig walked through the logistics of making Jeter a part owner earlier this morning and there might be some potential for that. But Jeter has expressed interest in "calling the shots" and pooling together every dime he has made and then some isn't going to buy him any real authority in the Yanks organization. Making him a token, honorary sort of owner of the team is a fine idea, but the notion that any stake he is given will make him "Boss II" as Kernan says is patently ridiculous.

If Jeter wants to have actual control over a team (and doesn't want to be a GM), he's going to have to find a bunch of extremely wealthy investors who will hand him tons of money without asking for a say in how the team is run, target another franchise besides the Yanks or both.

Let The (Spring Training) Games Begin

Good morning, Fackers. Today we take the next baby step along the path to actual, meaningful baseball. After two full weeks in camp for most pitchers and one week for the majority of the position players, the team is now ready to play some live baseball against a real opponent. Well, real might be stretching it considering that said opponent is the Pirates, but you know what I'm trying to get at here.

Of course, the action today is going to be significantly different than a regular season game. In addition to the fact that pitchers are scheduled to pitch in predetermined blocks of a few innings, they won't be throwing a their full array of pitches - most notably their breaking stuff. The lineups are bound to have a few players that aren't going to be on the roster come Opening Day, and that number will steadily increase as the game wears on. It's an just exhibition or scrimmage or dress rehearsal, but after a long winter with very little in the way of live baseball action, it's a welcome reprieve to see your guys on the field.

Last night, Joe from River Ave. Blues cautioned us not to pay attention to the stats from Spring Training but simultaneously reminded us to enjoy the games for what they are:
I encourage everyone to watch spring training baseball for the pure enjoyment of the game. I do not, however, encourage anyone to draw insights from what they see in these games. The pitchers and hitters are still working back into their grooves. A.J. Burnett, for example, will not throw his curveball in his first few spring starts. I’m sure the hitters will all be focusing on what they’ve worked on with Kevin Long and figuring out what works. How can we judge these players if they’re not playing the same way they will when the season starts?
Similarly, our buddy Craig isn't going to bother with his hilariously-titled morning round up, And That Happened until the regular season rolls around:
Yes, it's baseball, but it's a decidedly different beast than the game we know and love. Things happen in spring training like, say, a team benching all of its regulars at the last minute because it rained three hours earlier. Veterans don't make road trips very often and play golf while their teammates sweat. Pitchers go two or three innings max until at least the end of the month. What happens in those games may be interesting, but the games as a whole are not meaningful. They're certainly not the sort of thing that makes a guy want to dig down and analyze the heck out of a box score, ya know?
By the time Opening Day arrives, we are going to be sick of watching Spring Training games. We'll be able to hear the regular season knocking on the door and will be more than willing to leave the meaningless scrimmages and drills of Florida in the dust. However, today around 1:00 will be a great time to embrace the sights and sounds of the game without having to care too much about what happens on the field.

Note: Our friends over at Bronx Baseball Daily are hosting a live chat for the game, and it should be a good chance to yak it up with some like-minded folk. Stop on by.