I mentioned here that I’m already hearing comments about the Yankees “buying” (or, at least, trying to “buy”) a World Series title. And if you look at it objectively, just from the point of view of total payroll and revenues, then you should be able to understand why some people feel that way. Of course, understanding is not the same thing as agreeing. The reality is that it takes more than just money to win the World Series. Yes, a high payroll team like the Yankees can afford to sign the Sabathias and the Teixeiras. But that doesn’t mean that those expensive players will be the right pieces to the puzzle. Randy Johnson had a much lower postseason ERA when he signed with the Yankees than CC Sabathia did when he came to New York, but so far this postseason, CC has performed far better than the Big Unit did in his postseason starts in pinstripes. An expensive puzzle is just junk if the pieces don’t fit together, but
an inexpensive puzzle can be a work of art when all of the pieces fit
I’ve been thinking about this a bit more, and I’ve done a bit of research. Take a look at the World Series winners since the Yankees last won, and their total payrolls for those years*:
2001 Diamondbacks – 8th highest payroll
2002 Angels – 15th highest payroll
2003 Marlins – 6th lowest payroll (only the Indians, Padres, Brewers, Royals, and Rays had a lower payroll)**
2005 White Sox – 13th highest payroll
2006 Cardinals – 11th highest payroll
2008 Phillies – 12th highest payroll
Look at that list…only one of those teams was in the top ten for highest payrolls in the year that they won the World Series. By contrast, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox had the 2nd highest payrolls behind the Yankees.
The Yankees have had MLB’s highest payroll every season except one since their mid-90’s “dynasty” began in 1996. The only season they didn’t have the highest payroll was, ironically, in 1998 when they had one of their best seasons ever. (The Baltimore Orioles had MLB’s highest payroll in 1998…and finished 4th in the AL East, 35 games out of first place.)
What does this prove? Money (i.e., one of the top payrolls in MLB) can help a team to sign the players it may need to be successful, but it doesn’t necessarily help to “buy” a World Series title. Winning takes more than money…that’s a fact that the Yankees have certainly proven for the last 8 years. It takes:
- good players (some of whom do make the most money, and some of whom do not)
- team chemistry (some people roll their eyes at that…I think those people are fools)
- and often, a little bit of luck
By the way, it should be noted that the 1997 Florida Marlins — whom many people (including me) have used as an example of a team that “bought” its World Series title — had the 7th highest total payroll in 1997. The Marlins did bring in a lot of players from outside the organization (free agency, trades, whatever) for the sole purpose of winning a World Series, and then gutted the team over the next two seasons because they could no longer afford to keep their best players. But even they did not have the highest payroll in baseball that season…nor were they even ranked in the top 5 as far as total team payrolls were concerned in 1997.
Does having lots of revenue and a high payroll help a team to be successful? It can. Does it guarantee that a team will win this:
Nope. There are no guarantees. Even a commanding lead in a LCS doesn’t guarantee that a team will get to the World Series, much less win it. Just ask the 2004 Yankees.
* Source: USA Today Baseball Salaries Database
** Note: one other source — baseballchronolgy.com — ranked the 2003 Marlins as having the 5th lowest payroll; the Indians were ranked higher.
The Yankees lost to the Marlins on Sunday, 6-5, and more importantly, lost starter CC Sabathia when he left the game in the 2nd inning with tightness in his left biceps.He didn’t seem to think it was anything serious, saying that he’d felt tightness between starts before.
Joe Girardi filed an official protest with the commissioners office on Monday over a Marlins a double switch substitution mix-up in the 8th inning. We’ll see what, if anything, comes from that protest.
Alex Rodriguez had reserved approximately 100 tickets for family and friends in his return to his hometown, but he didn’t give them much to see, going 1-4 with two strikeouts. He did hit a 2-run single in the 3rd inning, but he also struck out to lead off the 9th inning.
I’m betting that the Yankees will be thrilled to see the end of interleague play for this season.
EDIT: I forgot to include the standings last night…must’ve been too sleepy! LOL
Current AL East Standings:
W L Pct GB
Boston Red Sox 42 27 .609 —
New York Yankees 38 31 .551 4.0
Toronto Blue Jays 38 38 .535 5.0
Tampa Bay Rays 37 34 .521 6.0
Baltimore Orioles 32 37 .464 10.0
The Yankees must be getting tired of interleague play this season. They lost to the Marlins, 2-1, dropping their interleague W-L record to 5-6.
Facing his former teammates, A.J. Burnett lasted 6 and 1/2 innings, giving up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Josh Johnson outpitched Burnett, going 7 innings and giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Overall, the Yankees offense was anemic, and the defense wasn’t exactly stellar either. Angel Berroa and Johnny Damon had errors, but neither error led to Marlins runs.
Once again, Alex Rodriguez was not in the starting lineup. He did, however, enter the game in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter, drawing a walk. It was his first regular season at bat against the Marlins in his hometown. The crowd cheered through his entire at bat.
Of course, part of the reason for all those cheers may have been because of the large contingent of Yankee fans who once again filled the seats at Land Shark Stadium. (Is that not one of the worst names for a ballpark in the major leagues?!) The Yankees fans usual chants were answered by Marlins fans with the cow bells that were handed out at the gates. Attending this game probably required several Advil…particularly for Yankees fans, considering the final score.
Current AL East Standings:
W L Pct GB
Boston Red Sox 41 27 .603 —
New York Yankees 38 30 .559 3.0
Toronto Blue Jays 37 33 .529 5.0
Tampa Bay Rays 36 34 .514 6.0
Baltimore Orioles 31 37 .456 10.0
I’m not sure what’s worse…being 0-8 vs. the Red Sox or losing 2 out of 3 games to the worst team in baseball. The series against the Nationals was pretty bad, but the Yankees recovered from it quite nicely, defeating the Marlins, 5-1. Playing in front of a crowd that was mostly Yankees fans who had traveled to Miami, Andy Pettitte pitched extremely well, giving up just 1 run (a home run to Cody Ross) on 3 hits, with 1 strikeout in 7 innings. Brian Bruney and Brett Tomko combined for 2 hitless, scoreless innings. Derek Jeter, Angel Berroa (playing for for the slumping Alex Rodriguez), Nick Swisher, and even Andy Pettitte hit doubles for the Yankees. There’s nothing like an American League pitcher getting a hit (a double, no less) to bump up the fun factor of interleague play! And Pettitte’s double resulted in an RBI, so he helped his own cause. It’s a good thing that the Yankees were able to score those 5 runs and limit the Marlins to just 1 run, because they left 24 runners on base.
Although the Yankees had not performed will in their last two interleaugue series against young, unfamiliar pitchers, they redeemed themselves against Sean West, who lasted just 4 innings while giving up all 5 of the Yankees runs on 10 hits. Like Pettitte, he had 7 strikeouts.
Good decision by Joe Girardi to bench Alex Rodriguez. Let’s hope he comes back stronger, with a renewed ability to actually get some hits.
Good job, Yankees!
Current AL East Standings:
W L Pct GB
Boston Red Sox 40 27 .597 —
New York Yankees 38 29 .567 2.0
Toronto Blue Jays 37 32 .536 4.0
Tampa Bay Rays 35 34 .507 6.0
Baltimore Orioles 30 37 .448 10.0
Nationals starter John Lannan pitched just over 8 strong innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, and despite giving up 2 home runs, Lannan — a Long Island native who was a Yankees fan as a youngster — got the win as the Nationals defeated the Yankees, 3-2. Adam Dunn hit his 18th home run of the season, former Yankee Nick Johnson got his 2nd triple of the season and had 2 RBI, and former Yankees prospect Cristian Guzman was 3-5.
Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang had his best start of the season, surrendering just 3 runs on 6 hits over 5 innings. Johnny Damon was 2-4 with a home run, and Robinson Cano hit a home run. The Yankees pulled within one run in the bottom of the 9th, but it wasn’t enough to pull out a win.
(This is where my split personality with regard to baseball kicks in……)
The Yankees lost to the Nationals?! Are you kidding me?? The freakin’ Natinals?!?! Those guys suck so bad, they can’t even spell the name of their team! Who the hell is John Lannan, and why couldn’t the Yankees get more than 4 hits off of him? They got 9 hits and scored 9 runs off of Johan Santana but could only manage to score 2 runs off Lannan. Once again, the Yankees managed to make a nobody pitcher look much better than he really is. And Cano was the hero last night, but he was a different story tonight, grounding into a double play to end the game. It’s humilating to lose to a 17-46 team…the Yankees should have blown these guys out. Worst of all, the Yankees lost ground to the Red Sox, who defeated the Marlins tonight.
OMG OMG OMG!!! The Nats beat the Yankees?! Are you kidding me?? I’m definitely a Lanna-fan, and I knew Lannan would pitch well…I just didn’t think he’d pitch as well as he did tonight. He had took a no-hitter into the 5th inning! How exciting must this game have been for him, with his family there at the Stadium to watch him pitch. Cristian Guzman had a great game, and I thought Nick Johnson was going to need oxygen after his triple. Thank goodness I suck at prediciting the outcomes of games. LOL
Two down, one to go…….
OK, I wore my Mussina Yankees jersey and my Nationals cap for this game. I was ready for whatever would happen tonight!
My prediction about the score of tonight’s game was wrong…and CC Sabathia didn’t pitch a complete game…and it wasn’t Kip Wells who replaced Shairon Martis. But I was right about Martis pitching well — I certainly didn’t expect him to leave the game with a lead. And I was definitely right about his effort being wasted when the Nats bullpen entered the game. Ironically, Ron Villone was the last pitcher I expected to give up the lead, since he has pitched quite well for the Nationals this season. Oh, and I absolutely did not expect Anderson Hernandez to hit that home run — just the second of his MLB career — off of Sabathia. My jaw nearly hit the floor when that thing left the park! I knew that 1-run lead wouldn’t last…and I was right.
Overall, this game turned out better than I thought it would. I really expected a blowout, so I’m pleased that the Nationals were not humiliated, and I’m pleased that the Yankees won to keep pace with the Red Sox, who defeated the Marlins.
One down…two to go………
Hanley Ramirez’s second hissy fit of the season deals with the fact that he was hit by a pitch in an interleague game against the Blue Jays. Not only did the Marlins win that game, they swept the series. But Hanley was peeved that none of the Marlins pitchers retaliated against any Blue Jays batters.
Basically, instead of enjoying the win and the sweep, Ramirez chose to act like this.
(There seems to be a lot of this going around lately…..)
The Big League Stew blog makes a good point — why should the Marlins retaliate against an interleague opponent that they won’t face again this season?
Jeez…this latest hissy fit, and the one he had earlier in the season, make me wonder if Hanley Ramirez needs to wear Pampers under his uniform instead of a cup.
Same…um, Stuff…Different Day, where the Nationals are concerned.
It’s been an up and down season so far for John Lannan. He pitched brilliantly against the Braves on the 22nd only to watch Garrett Mock and Mike Hinkley combine efforts to surrender the game winning run in the 9th inning. But then he didn’t pitch particularly well against the Phillies last night, giving up 3 home runs in 5 innings. He pitched poorly in losses to the Braves and Phillies earlier this month and then pitched well against the Marlins (getting an ND when the bullpen blew the save). I have a feeling it’s going to be that type of season for John. I just hope the bullpen doesn’t keep imploding in the games when he does pitch well so he can actually get some wins!
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Another bullpen shake-up — “closer-by-committee”? Great…so what the hell does that mean…whoever displayed the least amount of suckitude in the previous game will close the current game? [begin sarcasm] Sounds like a brilliant plan to me! [end sarcasm] Whatever they do, the Nationals cannot, and must not, use Joel Blownsaverahan as their closer…EVER. He performed adequately in the closer role last year, but after 3 blown saves in 5 opportunities so far this year, his confidence is shot. A closer with no confidence is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Speaking of the bullpen:
Struggling Nats get Kensing in trade with Florida
PHILADELPHIA (AP) –The struggling Washington Nationals have acquired right-hander Logan Kensing from the Florida Marlins for pitching prospect Kyle Gunderson.
Nationals assistant GM Mike Rizzo announced the move on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Kensing is 7-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 108 career games spanning five seasons with the Marlins. He’s expected to be in uniform for the Nationals when they wrap up a series Wednesday night at Philadelphia.
To make room on the roster, Nationals also optioned right-hander Jason Bergmann to Triple-A Syracuse. They also transferred outfielder Roger Barnadina to the 60-day disabled list.
Bergmann had a 3.60 ERA in three relief appearances after getting recalled on April 20….
Lemme get this straight…the Nats optioned a pitcher with a 3.60 ERA in 3 relief appearances (1.40 WHIP and .167 BAA) to Syracuse to make room for a newly aquired pitcher with a 9.82 ERA in 6 relief appearances (2.59 WHIP and .412 BAA)? WTF?? Why has Joel Hanrahan not yet been given a one-way bus ticket to Syracuse?! I suspect that the only reason why Hanrahan is still on the 25-man roster is because he’s out of options. But so the hell what?! If he’s optioned and exposed to waivers, and another team is stupid enough to claim him, that’s THEIR problem. For that matter, why was Bergmann optioned instead of Saul Rivera? Options, maybe? Again, so the hell what!
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The Washington Nationals have activated shortstop Cristian Guzman from the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A Syracuse. Thank goodness Guzman is finally back (with, I hope, a fully healed hammy). The Nats need his defense! Not that he’s exactly a gold-glove shortstop, but in 11 games, Gonzalez had about 25 errors. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration…he only had 6 errors…it just seemed like 25.
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Oh, and one more thing before I head out of here……
Yes, I know this is MLBlogs and not NHLblogs, but that’s just too bad! 😉
Congratulations to the Washington Capitals, for overcoming a 3 games to 1 deficit against the New York Rangers to win their playoff series! GO CAPS!!!
NATIONALS 3, BRAVES 2 — YEEEEAAAAAAHH!!!!!
A win is sweet for the Nationals no matter how they get it. But this one was particularly special because it marked the major league debut of the Nationals’ top pitching prospect, Jordan (Don’t Call Me Ryan) Zimmermann. Zimm2 completely lived up to his hype, giving his team 6 strong innings. He allowed two runs and six hits, with three strikeouts and a
walk. He was cool and relaxed on the mound, even after giving up a home run to Matt Diaz in the 4th inning. This guy is going to be fun to watch this season.
Zimm2 was originally supposed to make his debut on Sunday against the Marlins. I was very pleased about that, because that game was part of my season ticket plan. But when last Wednesday’s game vs. the Phillies was rained out, that pushed Zimmermann’s debut back one day. I really wanted to see this kid for myself, so a friend and I got tickets for Monday’s game against the Braves. Mother Nature threatened to ruin our plans once again, because it rained pretty much all day. The rain let up a bit a couple of hours before game time, but more rain moved in, and the start of the game was delayed by just over two hours. It didn’t matter to us though…we had to see Jordan Zimmermann’s debut. He was definitely worth the wait.
Mind you, we left at about 10:30, in the middle of the 5th inning. I HATE to leave a game early and very rarely do so, but we took the subway to the game, and Metrorail stops running around midnight. We wanted to make sure that we could make our connections and not miss the last train out. The score was tied at 2 when we left, and we missed the Jesus Flores single in the 6th inning that scored Elijah Dukes. But that’s OK…the important thing is that the Nationals won!
It should be noted that the Nats’ revamped bullpen not only did not allow any runs but also didn’t allow any hits. Joel Hanrahan, who had two blown saves in a row against the Marlins, entered the game in the 9th inning and got his first save of the season.
Oh, and this win coupled with the Marlins’ loss puts the Nats just 8.5 games out of first place, with 150 games to go! LOL
Miscellaneous Other Stuff:
I finally finished uploading my Nationals’ opening day photos to Flickr. If anyone is interested in seeing them, please click HERE.
I mentioned here that I don’t like the new statues at Nationals Park. I thought that maybe they’d look better in person…but alas, they really don’t. And I am not the only one who doesn’t like them. According to this article in the Washington Times, Walter Johnson’s grandson doesn’t like them either:
Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, arguably the best pitcher in baseball
history, fanned 3,509 batters while winning 417 games with the
Washington Senators from 1907 to 1927. Yet Johnson’s grandson and
biographer, Henry Thomas, is more concerned these days with another
He thinks the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and
sculptor Omri Amrany whiffed completely with the Johnson statue that
was unveiled last week in the center field plaza at Nationals Park. Or
perhaps hit a foul ball.
Thomas’ one-word description of the towering, bronze sculpture, as posted on the Nats’ Web site: “hideous.”
So there you go. It’s not just me.
The Yankees beat the Indians, 7-3, despite being no-hit through the first 3 innings by former Yankee Carl Pavano (a/k/a “Glass A**” on my message board, because of his injury history). Pavano was surprisingly tough against his former team, allowing just one run off 4 hits in 6 innings. The Yankees finally managed to take the lead in the 7th inning, when Jorge Posada hit a 2 run home run, which was disputed by Indians manager Eric Wedge. Thanks to the addition of instant replay in baseball this year, there was an 8-1/2 minute delay to check the replay of Posada’s HR. Thank goodness there are limits on what can and cannot be disputed and reviewed by instant replay…otherwise games would last for 4 hours!
The Washington Nationals, on the other hand, were once again swept by the Florida Marlins, after the bullpen blew a save for the third game in a row on Sunday afternoon. At least this game didn’t go into extra innings, which is a good thing since I was there and had to pee. I sat with my legs crossed all through the 8th and 9th innings, hoping (a) for a miracle from the Nats in the bottom of the 9th, and (b) that I wouldn’t wet my pants. Unfortunately, there was no miracle win, and fortunately, I did make it to the rest room in time to prevent an embarrassing accident. *Note to self: don’t buy any more Diet Cokes in souvenir cups in the 6th inning.*
Additional Nationals news:
After assistant general manager Mike Rizzo stated that “the incompetence of the bullpen was drawn to a head today,” right-hander Saul Rivera and catcher Josh Bard were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, and right-hander Steven Shell and left-hander Wil Ledezma were designated for assignment. The Nationals will purchase the contracts of pitching prospect Jordan Zimmermann and veteran right-hander Kip Wells from Syracuse, as well as recall right-handers Garrett Mock and Jason Bergmann from Syracuse. Zimmermann will make his first major league start against the Braves on Monday. I have tickets for that game, so I’m pumped about seeing Zimmermann. As for the other moves, I’m surprised to see Shell go and closer Joel Hanrahan stay. I think these moves are pretty much like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic…but something had to be done, so we’ll see what happens.
The one good thing that happened today is the signing of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman — the so-called “face of the franchise” — to a new long term contract, reportedly worth $45 million over five years. Although Zimmerman is my favorite Nationals player, I’m not entirely sure he deserves that much money just yet. He’s really only had one great year (2006). He hasn’t really lived up to his “face of the franchise” hype, either at the plate or in the clubhouse as a vocal leader. But he is, by far, the most popular Nationals player, judging from the number of #11 t-shirts and jerseys seen at Nationals Park. Although the money may be a little bit excessive, it’s good to know that the Lerner family, who owns the Nats, are willing to spend some money to keep one of their top players around for a while.
I won’t have much time to post anything here over the next couple of days. I’m going to the Nats/Braves games on Monday and Tuesday, assuming the rain doesn’t cause problems with the games. I must be really dedicated or just a glutton for punishment, attending three Nats games in a row. Ah, but the Nationals don’t consider me to be dedicated enough, so I guess I really am just a glutton for punishment!