Monday, March 29, 2010

Mid-Monday Linkaround

Marty Foster originally called this linkaround out, but lucky for you guys he was overruled.
Just before the Yankees and Tigers got rained out yesterday (washing out yet another of Andy Pettitte's Spring Training tune ups) Robinson Cano hit a ball to deep left-center field. It was already raining pretty steadily and Austin Jackson was in pursuit of the ball heading towards the wall. He couldn't quite make the catch but recovered quickly and hit the relay man. Eduardo Nunez was on first base when the play started and was in between second and third when our old pal Marty Foster raised his hand to signal the catch had been made. Nunez saw this and scurried back to first base, passing Robinson Cano - who was standing on second, very confused - in the process. Nunez would have been out but the umps huddled up, acknowledged Foster's error and determined that Cano would be given first base while Nunez could stay on second. It was a pretty egregious mistake that certainly cost the Yanks a couple of bases and possibly a run but Joe Girardi didn't seem too concerned:
Marty said with the rain he just didn’t see it. I just (said), ‘Whatever, let’s just keep moving.’ It’s a judgment call I believe. I said, ‘You can call them both out as far as I’m concerned.’ Just keep going.
Something tells me we won't be hearing that again from Girardi anytime soon.

A.J. Burnett looked good against the Tigers on Saturday, throwing 6 2/3 IP, and allowing one run on 3 hits. It took Burnett 91 pitches to get it done and it would appear that he's pretty much ready to go. Just one final tuneup before he faces the Sox next Tuesday.
Chad Gaudin signed with the A's, joining Edwar Ramirez, Brett Tomko and Dan Geise as hurlers who have been cast off by the Yanks only to be picked up by Billy Beane in the last year. Is Oakland the new Pittsburgh? But there's already an Oakland in Pittsburgh. (/head spins, explodes)
Chris from i-Yankees suggests that the Yanks should trade Joba Chamberlain. In a way it would be the perfect time to flip him before his value diminishes as a reliever, but I'm not sure the Yanks could get enough in return to make it worth their while.
Coach thinks player will have a great year. Not exactly an objective take, but Kevin Long has high hopes for Brett Gardner this season.
Speaking of Mr. Long, he sustained an injury during the paintball outing on Friday illustrating exactly why it was a good idea to have the players go to the arcade.
Detailed in several different places this weekend was the fact that opinions within the organization differ widely on Joba Chamberlain's future. Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, Dave Eiland and Billy Eppler have all had their say in the media in the last week or so and their thoughts on the situation certainly don't all align.
Cliff from Bronx Banter tried to use some Bomber Bucks to buy tickets to a few games this year and was less than pleased the results. Much of the backlash over the economics of the New Stadium has subsided but Cliff ends his post with some strong words about what the Yankees have done at the expense of the average fan. I can't say I disagree, but now that I live 2 1/2 hours away from the Stadium, I care significantly less about the ticket situation than I used to.
Jason added three new authors to the IIATMS brigade and only one of them is a Yankee fan. When you are affiliated with ESPN, you can make those kind of power moves. I'm looking forward to some interesting pieces from Larry, The Common Man and tHeMARksMiTh.
Jonathan Mayo of offers up 10 Yankee prospects to keep an eye on this year. The once-highly-regarded Alan Horne is not one of them because he's going to need surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff.
For some reason, TMZ had the scoop that the Yankees would be receiving their rings during their home opener on April 13th.
Greg Fertel put together an excellent prospect profile on Zach McAllister over at Pending Pinstripes. Greg doesn't think we'll see ZMac in the Bronx until the rosters expand, but he's one of the few legitimate starting pitching prospects in the higher ranks of the Yanks' system.
Nick Carfado of ranked all 30 of baseball's managers. The list is based more on results than tactical prowess to my eye so don't get too offended when you see Terry Francona five spots higher than Joe Girardi.
Steve Slowinski from DRays Bay expresses some frustration about the fact that Spring Training is dragging on but finds some encouragement before the post is over. Hang in there folks, we are inside of a week now.
And finally, for those Derek Trucks fans out there, the members of his new project with his wife Susan Tedeschi have been announced. There are some familiar faces from the dTb and ABB and they'll be making their debut at the Savannah Music Festival this Thursday.

Fack Youk Field Trip: Bell Centre

Bonjour Fackers. Pardon my French; I spent the weekend in Montreal for a college buddy's bachelor party. It will take quite some time for my sleep patterns, liver, bank account, and sense of dignity to recover. The file on this weekend has been permanently sealed, but I am at liberty to disclose that our waiter at the steak house Friday night looked exactly like this guy.

As I've touched upon here several times in the past, I'm a big hockey fan as is the groom to be. So Saturday night naturally entailed a trip to the Bell Centre to see the Canadiens play the Devils. It isn't nearly as historic as its predecessor, but with so many of the NHL's most fabled rinks - the Forum, the Boston Garden, Maple Leaf Gardens, Chicago Stadium - now just memories, the Bell Centre, with 24 Stanley Cup banners and 17 retired numbers filling its rafters, has to be considered hockey's foremost cathedral.

As Yankee fans, we're familiar with having our team play in a historically significant venue. We're fortunate enough that when the new Yankee Stadium opened this past year it was christened with a championship. The Bell Centre is currently in its thirteenth season as the Canadiens' home and has yet to add a new Stanley Cup banner to its collection.

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't even see those banners Saturday night. Our seats were in the third to last row of the arena, and the suspended press box blocked our view of the rafters. No cup banners, no retired numbers (including the #7 of Howie Morenz, distant relative of the Yankees' 1995 #1 pick Shea Morenz), not even the banner commemorating the Expos' retired numbers of Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, and Tim Raines.

Despite our nosebleed location, the view was still pretty good. The atmosphere was outstanding; the arena was packed and the crowd was extremely into the game; the Canadian national anthem may have been the best part of the night. Just as the Yankees do at the Stadium, the Habs are certain to remind you of their storied history, with an outstanding pre game presentation listing the names of every player in their history interspersed with highlights of the likes of Jean Beliveau, Denis Savard, and Patrick Roy. The fans were extremely friendly, especially considering most of our group were Devils fans. I think the obnoxious Jersey Shore reject in the row in front of us helped in drawing to himself whatever ire may have been directed at us otherwise.

Lastly, because I'm sure friend of the blog Jonah Keri will be curious about it, yes, there was a Youppi sighting. He's so barely discernible in the picture I took that it's not even worth posting, but he was last seen hitching a ride atop a zamboni at the end of the night.

One last hockey note: the NCAA tournament started this weekend, and like its basketball counterpart, it was not without drama and upsets. RIT, alma mater of my good friend Lutkus and my friend Matt's girlfriend Rachel, which wasn't even a Divison I program a few years ago and was one of the bottom two teams in the tournament, upset national powerhouses Denver and New Hampshire to reach the Frozen Four. Meanwhile Boston College beat Alaska Fairbanks 3-1 and then took a 9-7 barnburner over Yale to advance to their fourth Frozen Four in the last five years and ninth in the last thirteen.

Thus concludes my weekend hockey round up. Come this time next week we'll have real live baseball to discuss.