Friday, July 16, 2010

Game 89: Inspiration

When this evening's game gets under way, barring any inclement weather, it will be the first 7:00 ET start the Yankees have had since June 30th - everything since then has either been a day game, a late night west coast start or an off day. It will be the Bombers' first home game since the 4th of July, which was also George Steinbrenner's birthday. The atmosphere will no doubt be enhanced this evening as there are plans to honor the Boss as well as the Voice of God during ceremonies which are scheduled to begin at about 6:45.

As was the case when they left off last Sunday, CC Sabathia will be taking the hill for the Yankees. Getting the first start after the break lines the Big Fella up for the best shot at 20 wins among him Hughes and Pettitte, who both have 11 victories. Given that Sabathia is sitting with 12 and figures to get the most chances from here on out (15 or 16, perhaps), if he pitches well, that milestone should be well within his grasp.

CC will be squaring off against James Shields and the Rays, who are two games behind the Yankees in the standings, meaning that this series could potentially transfer the lead in the division. On the other hand, it might give the Yankees a chance to establish a little breathing room from themselves.

Even though this isn't technically the start of the second half - as it is so often referred to as - it does represent somewhat of a new beginning for the Yanks. They are now officially without the one person who is responsible for making them the team they are and the most recognizable voice associated with the franchise. Let's hope the Yanks can find some inspiration in the recent losses of Sheppard and Steinbrenner and start the rest of the season off on the right foot.

I barely knew the guy, but shit it hit me fairly quick,
We all forget how much life should be admired,
Sometimes we all forget how our music does inspire.


Yankees: The Yanks have called up Juan Miranda to take Kevin Russo's place on the 25 man roster and he gets the start at DH tonight.
Jeter SS
Swisher RF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Granderson CF
Miranda DH
Gardner LF
Upton CF
Crawford LF
Longoria 3B
Pena 1B
Zobrist 2B
Shoppach C
Aybar DH
Kapler RF
Bartlett SS

Friday Linkstravaganza

They are making Negro Leagues stamps? Awesome.

Without getting into subjective things like game calling and pitch framing, Mike from River Ave. Blue attempted to quantify the defensive contributions of Major League catchers, with emphasis of course on Jorge Posada and Francisco Cervelli. Using stolen bases, caught stealing, wild pitches and passed balls, Mike created cRSAA/180 (Catcher's Runs Saved Above Average per 180 innings). A key point: it's a good thing Cervelli is hitting, because he's not the defensive whiz he was in the minors.

According to a survey conducted among MLB players by Sports Illustrated, Joba Chamberlain is the most overrated player in the league and by more than double the next closest guy (A-Rod, obviously). Translation: guys who play for other clubs really don't like him and resent the attention he got when he first broke into the league. Does he get more recognition than he deserves because of his unique name and what he did in 2007? Absolutely. Do people who look at baseball objectively overvalue what he does? I don't think so.

Sparked by a conversation on Google Reader about a paragraph on Rob Neyer's blog by two of the guys from IIATMS, Moshe Mandel from TYU talked a little bit about what makes a team "championship-caliber". I agree with Moshe: we don't need to get ahead of ourselves, but if the Yankees don't deserve that distinction right now, then no team does.

Speaking of those gents from IIATMS, they, along with a few others, wrote a trade deadline primer which you can purchase here for $10. It's packed with information about where the Yankees stand and who they might be looking to fill some of the gaps in their roster with.

According to TiqIQ, who has a really cool partnership with River Ave. Blues, the secondary market prices were climbing for Friday night's game even before it was announced that the Yankees would be honoring George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. The fact that is the first home game since the 4th of July on a Friday night certainly is helping raise those prices.

Is it just me, or does The Boss deserve a better commemorative patch than this. Bob Sheppard's, on the other hand, is pretty sharp.

Red Sox fans payed tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard and were respectful about it. Seriously.

Hey look, the All-Star Game got the lowest ratings of all time. It might have been the interminable pregame ceremonies or the 8:50PM ET start, but I'd like to think that, without a hook like the last year of Yankee Stadium or something, mostly because of the infinite pitching changes and cameos by position players the ASG really just sucks. This isn't Little League, not everyone has to appear in the damn game.

You probably noticed that the radar gun was lighting up on Tuesday night. The appropriately-named Mike Fast at The Hardball Times looks into whether or not the readings were accurate.

In response to an email from a Twitter follower, Jonah Keri put together "a few" (more like a dozen) thoughts on some of the deeper (social, racial) implications of the Yunel Escobar for Alex Gonzalez trade.

Minor league maven John Sickels projected Major League character Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn's career statistics. Unsurprisingly, his propensity for free passes kept him from being truly dominant.

Ben Nicholson-Smith from MLBTR had an excellent profile of Daniel Nava, who signed with the Red Sox for a whopping $1 back in 2008 and is producing for the Big Leauge club now.

Not golf-related, but Wright Thompson has a typically great feature piece up at about the history of St. Andrews. A nice companion piece to some early morning British Open viewing, I say.

Perhaps you heard about the suicide bombings that took place in Kampala, Uganda that targeted a viewing of the World Cup final at a rugby club. Well, my sister is actually in Kampala right now. She was nowhere near the bombings and is just fine, but if you'd like to read her reaction to the attacks, here it is.

My buddy Frank has tickets to the Lacrosse World Championships, which had to be reshuffled because English officials initially wouldn't accept the hand-written passports presented by the Iroquois Nation's team.

It's not at all sports-related, but here is a great story about the guy did an incredible amount of research before he appeared on Price is Right and whose appearance culminated with him guessing the exact price of the Showcase Showdown. But was it just preparation and luck? The producers of the show think the fix was in.