Yes, today the Yankees will welcome to Tampa the Philadelphia Phillies. Bartolo Colon - further along than the other pitchers due to playing winter ball - will start, while Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, David Phelps, Hector Noesi and Eric Wordekemper will also get work in. All the regular hitters (save for Russell Martin) should get about two ABs, followed by prospects and fringy players. Look for the game thread at noon.
- It gets worse and worse for the crosstown club. MLB reportedly loaned $25 million to the Mets in November to "cover operating expenses." This comes on the heels of a lawsuit seeking $1 billion (with a B) on behalf of investors that were duped by Bernie Madoff. Speaking of whom, if there was one article of Mets clothing I would wear, it'd be this.
- "Discomfort" in Andrew Brackman's groin will sideline him for at least a few days. He'll be reevaluated Sunday but won't pitch again until the middle of next week at the earliest.
- Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are having trouble bringing to the screen a film version of the wife-swapping incident between two Yankee pitchers in the early 1970s. Said Affleck -
"I've come to have a little more respect for the Yankees. There are some of those guys . . . that look like good guys . . . But as an institution? Disdain. Contempt." About the movie's subject matter, he said: "Guys [bleep]ing each others' wives -- that's those Yankees."
- Speaking of Bostonians, the Red Sox investigated Carl Crawford's personal life before offering him a contract. Said GM Theo Epstein -
Our scouts just did a real thorough job on background, that's all. [We] felt like we got to know him real well, that's all. I told him we got to know him real well and we really respected the decisions he made, even away from the park.
Crawford was "creeped out" by the idea. Do you think it's ethical to check a potential employee's personal life? Do you want the Yankees doing the same for their players?
- A great article on the friendship between Spring Training stalwarts Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry.
- Don't get too down on Joba just yet. Guidry was treated similarly in the mid-1970s before finally getting a fair shot at starting. We know how that turned out.
- Beyond the Box Score sent this article to me because it pertained to run scoring vs. run prevention, and how the Yanks appear to have one of the best offenses in baseball but also a very shaky starting rotation. To sum up: preventing runs correlates more to winning than scoring runs.
- Can the Cardinals learn from the mistake the Yankees made by signing Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year contract? The Press Box makes the claim that signing Albert Pujols to a long-term deal is not the slam-dunk many think it to be.
- Elite players are less valuable now than they used to be, primarily because the odds of making the playoffs are higher now than ever before, meaning the value of a win is lessened -
Babe Ruth in his prime could increase a randomly chosen team's chances of winning it all by 35%; Barry Bonds helped by merely 7%. Strong evidence indeed that a great player has become less valuable in recent years.
We've seen in recent history how "fringe" teams, that get hot at the right time, end up winning the title.
- What do some of the best hitters of the modern era think is the toughest record to break?
Pete Rose, Wade Boggs, George Brett, and Ichiro Suzuki may have different theories, practices and idiosyncrasies about what makes them among the most accomplished baseball hitters of all time, but two things that they and other superstar sluggers unanimously agree upon: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941 is both the greatest hitting exploit in the game's history and an unbreakable feat.
From the upcoming book on DiMaggio's life.
- A great read on the Yankees' Spring Training history.