Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Posts Tagged ‘2010 New York Yankees’

Karma, meet The Bronx. The Bronx, run for cover.

Posted by Bill Koch on October 20, 2010

Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it Yankees fans?

Now you’re getting a little taste of how the other half has lived for all these years while you were racking up those World Series titles that you love to talk about so much. Tuesday night was a pretty good lesson for everyone in The Bronx that the Baseball Gods won’t always be on your side, no matter how much you spend to buy their affections.

Game 4 of the American League Championship Series hit the new Taj Mahal like a tidal wave and put the Texas Rangers 27 outs from the chance to play for their first championship in franchise history. That 10-3 shellacking must have made George Steinbrenner turn in his grave. It doesn’t look like New York can do anything to stop a team that flashes claws and antlers as warning signs, hilariously mocking baseball’s traditions and its winningest franchise in the process of building a 3-1 series lead.

Your chances went begging when Josh Hamilton turned back into Roy Hobbs, Joe Girardi fell asleep at the wheel, the umpires declined to save you when Lance Berkman allegedly went deep and David Robertson got the call out of the bullpen. It’s a perfect storm of deliciousness that tastes better than all the chowder in Red Sox Nation.

A.J. Burnett was the man to come to the rescue? That must be what Girardi thought when he greedily left the overpaid righthander in the game in the sixth inning to face Bengie Molina. There’s no chance that Girardi would have turned down the chance to hold a 3-2 lead after 5.2 innings from Burnett after 17 days of rest if you had offered him that scenario before the first pitch. He must have forgotten about the 5.26 ERA and the fact that he skipped the $80-million man in the ALDS, and he must have remembered quickly when Molina slashed a three-run homer into the night.

That bullpen was going to shut it down from there? Not with arsonists like Robertson, Kerry Wood, Boone Logan and Sergio Mitre coming through the doors with gas cans in their hands and lit matches waiting. Someone put Mariano Rivera on a milk carton – he’s been MIA since the Twins series and can’t go two innings every night.

This rotation was going to get it done? Not with C.C. Sabathia looking average in every area but waist size, the shell of Phil Hughes taking his medicine in a Game 2 pounding and Burnett throwing fastballs down the dick at exactly the wrong time. Cliff Lee isn’t yours just yet.

What happened to Mark Teixeira in this series? That gunshot that hit his right hamstring in the fifth inning and dropped him to his knees, putting him out for the rest of the postseason, couldn’t have been random. If anything, it saved him from going 0-for-25 by the time this is all said and done. Someone must have figured that the most professional and dedicated Yankee that there is had suffered enough by going hitless in his first 14 at-bats.

Not even the next Jeffrey Maier could save the Yankees, further embarrassing Major League Baseball in the process. The league clearly hasn’t learned anything in the last 15 years, as evidenced by the handful of embarrassing missed calls during this postseason that could have easily been overturned through the use of instant replay. Maybe that’s when the Baseball Gods decided that enough was enough, saving the Rangers from Bud Selig and his cronies’ failure to act after some guido from Queens and three of his fellow thugs mugged Nelson Cruz at the right field wall to suck Robinson Cano’s home run into the abyss known as the Yankee Stadium bleachers. Armando Benitez is still on suicide watch somewhere because a 12-year-old kid reached out and made the catch of his life in 1996, and it looked like it was going to happen all over again until order was restored.

Where was everyone going in the ninth inning? Were the 50,000 fans in attendance that eager to go outside to the ghetto and get mugged on the walk back to the subway? Or did they sense that something had changed? They were probably running for their lives, because this never used to happen to New York. Something else might be working against the Yankees now, and it goes well beyond the power of the Rangers.

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A-Rod, Boras divorce

Posted by Bill Koch on September 3, 2010

Alex Rodriguez dumped Scott Boras. End of story.

We don’t understand why this is such a big deal. Rodriguez already signed his final professional contract – that 10-year, $275-million heist that he perpetrated on the New York Yankees. That deal takes Rodriguez until he’s 42 years old, and he’s not playing anymore after that. He’s got enough money to live 10 additional lifetimes, but six more G4s and a fleet of Bentleys that would make the Sultan of Brunei jealous. Boras got his standard eight percent cut of the deal, threw it in the bank and went back to hanging in his field box at Angels Stadium and at his waterfront lair in Newport Beach, Calif.

Was there any reason to think that this relationship would last? Both men are mercenaries out to make the most money possible over the course of their lives. That’s why Rodriguez signed with Boras in the first place, and that’s why Boras pursued and signed Rodriguez as a client. Rodriguez has no loyalty – his jump from Seattle to Texas to The Bronx was entirely driven by greed and ego. His personal life is dotted with cheating, broken relationships, a failed marriage, PED use and general alienation of most of the people around him. Boras, to Major League Baseball’s owners and general managers, is a living, breathing, negotiating version of Satan himself. These guys were destined to end up together and destined to drift apart. There’s no story here to tell.

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Red Sox close the book on 2010

Posted by Bill Koch on August 1, 2010

Theo Epstein

The charade that has been the 2010 season finally came to an end for the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Boston’s front office finally admitted defeat by doing absolutely nothing to bolster its fading product on the field. David Ortiz’s late heroics aside, the Red Sox are stuck in the mud while the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays continue to open up the gap in the American League East and Wild Card races.

This has nothing to do with Theo Epstein’s inability to make something happen at the deadline. He’s shown that he’s not afraid to make a big deal in previous years – just think back to Nomar Garciaparra (2004), Eric Gagne (2007) and Victor Martinez (2009). The crystal clear message this time is that this version of the Red Sox is so broken that it would require multiple major moves to fix, and Epstein is unwilling to completely gut his farm system on the unlikely chance that Boston could make up seven games in the standings over its final 55 against a pair of quality opponents.

This Red Sox team was always doomed to fail. Injuries are going to end up being the convenient excuse that the Pink Hats, Theo and The Trio (John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner) and This Manager will use, but Boston was never going to have enough talent to overcome the Yankees and Rays. Its application of the pitching-and-defense philosophy was flawed from the start, and only a surprising offensive effort from its makeshift lineup has kept the Red Sox from sinking like the Seattle Mariners have in the American League West. John Lackey has been a bust, posting new career worsts in ERA, WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings, strikeout-to-walk ratio and strikeouts per nine innings. Mike Cameron has broken down like most 37-year-old outfielders tend to do, and Boston has permanently damaged its relationship with Jacoby Ellsbury by sweeping him aside like yesterday’s garbage to accommodate its new center fielder. Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre, the alleged vast defensive upgrades on the left side of the infield, are on their way to career highs in errors.

Some people saw this coming from the start. It wasn’t too difficult to figure out that this Red Sox team wasn’t going to have enough to make a serious push for its third World Series berth of the century. Epstein finally admitted as much by letting things play themselves out on Saturday and turning his attention to 2011. He acquired Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a 25-year-old catcher who has failed to live up to his considerable hype as a prospect in both the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers organizations, with an eye toward replacing Jason Varitek or Martinez if neither can be re-signed. Epstein is currently hindered by the luxury tax threshold, a $170-million ceiling that the Red Sox don’t want (or can’t afford) to cross. He probably can’t wait to shed the $42.3 million that Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Varitek, Jeremy Hermida, Julio Lugo, and Billy Wagner currently count for on the 2010 payroll. It’s going to be up to Epstein to spend that money wisely to add the hard-hitting corner outfielder, additional bullpen arms and consistent extra bat off the bench that this club so desperately needs. He clearly didn’t think that he could get anything productive done at this year’s trading deadline, and his lack of action says all you need to know about what he thinks of this current group of Red Sox that he has assembled.

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Our confession about George Steinbrenner

Posted by Bill Koch on July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner

We here at Ramble On would like to take a minute this morning to acknowledge the passing of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. The Boss, who had been in failing health in recent years, died of a massive heart attack while vacationing at his Tampa home. He was 80 years old.

As fans of the Boston Red Sox, we were obliged to hate Steinbrenner and everything for which he stood. The head of The Evil Empire bought the Yankees for $8.7 million in 1973 and turned them into the powerhouse that currently exists, almost willing baseball in The Bronx back to prominence through the menace in his voice and the incredible power of his seemingly endless wealth. New York added seven more World Series championships during his reign, most of those coming while the Red Sox were stuck in their 86-year drought that ended in 2004.

We have a confession to make today, and it’s probably not something that we ever could have said while Steinbrenner was alive – we would have loved to have had him as an owner in Boston. That would have been too much to admit and concede to Yankees fans during the time that they had to enjoy every advantage The Boss could give them. Steinbrenner was a man who valued winning over everything else and had the financial means to make it happen. He spent big on almost every available free agent, plowed money into his front office, developed stars like The Core Four of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte and dominated the action during every baseball offseason from the day he walked in the door. He was the driving force behind the construction of the new Yankee Stadium, a baseball version of the Taj Mahal that will keep the Yankees flush with cash and on top of the unchecked MLB financial system well into this century. The fact that he was banned from the league on two different occasions wouldn’t have mattered to us. We would have sold our souls for even one World Series ring during all of those years of suffering.

New England sports fans have seen the other side of the equation, namely during the disgraceful eras of John Harrington and Jeremy Jacobs. Harrington presided over the Yawkey Trust, the financial arrangement that controlled the Red Sox for the better part of two decades and allowed Fenway Park and the franchise to fall into decay. Boston’s run to the World Series in 1986 and its subsequent appearances in the ALCS seem like luck compared to today’s steady winning and planning headed by John Henry and his group. Harrington didn’t give a damn about the fans and proved as much with his callousness and reclusiveness.

As for Jacobs, he’s been the anti-Steinbrenner while owning the Boston Bruins for almost four decades. Under Jacobs’ control, the Bruins have never won a Stanley Cup and likely never will now that the salary cap has brought parity to the NHL. For years Jacobs had a distinct financial advantage over his competition thanks to the diehard Bruins fans, the constant sellouts at the Boston Garden and his own considerable personal wealth. He refused to spend the extra money on additional players that could have given franchise greats like Ray Bourque and Cam Neely a championship that they so richly deserved after the amount of blood, sweat and tears that they sacrificed while wearing the black and gold. Jacobs hid behind Harry Sinden from his Buffalo estate and enforced a tight-fisted, stingy policy when it came to new contracts for his own star players and bidding on potential impact free agents. Steinbrenner never would have stood for such a thing. For that, he earned our loathing – and, secretly, our admiration.

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