Wednesday, September 26, 2007

October Baseball



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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:54 PM 1 Heckles

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why The Yankees Need To Win The East

Playoffs? No problem. First round? Big problem.

The Yankees, barring nuclear fallout, are going to the playoffs. As of now they have a 5 game lead in the wild card over the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers and 2 behind Boston in the East.

According to playoff rules, the wild card team plays the team with the best record in the league. If Boston holds off and is the top team in the AL, then the Yankees, if they win the wild card, cannot play Boston in the first round as two teams from the same division cannot face each other in the Division Series.
So then, the Red Sox would have to face the third best team in the majors, the Cleveland Indians, who already won their division.
That leaves the Yankees to play against the AL West champion Anaheim Angels.
This is the big problem.
The Angels are the only team to have a winning record against the Yankees since 1996.
In 2002, the Angels defeated the Yankees and went on to win the World Series.
In 2005, the Angels defeated the Yankees and went on to the Championship Series.
2007 seems likely that these two teams will play against each other again, and if history repeats itself, the Yankees will be sent home early. Anaheim has a 4-2 record over the Yankees this season.

If the Yankees pull of a 1978 comeback and win the East, then they will play Cleveland in the first round. This would be a much sweeter match up as the Yankees are a perfect 6-0 this season against the Tribe and a first round match up could send the Yankees to the Championship Series.

If Boston and New York end up in a tie, the Yankees would win the East as they have won the season series against Boston 10-8. No more one-game playoff, no Bucky Dent, just a title.

So, to recap; if New York wins the wild card, chances are they will face the Angels in the first round, best record or not.
If New York ties or goes ahead of Boston in the East, then they have a great chance of playing Cleveland in the first round.


AL East: Boston Red Sox (playoff berth)
AL Central: Cleveland Indians (clinched)
AL West: Anaheim Angels (clinched)
Al Wild Card: New York Yankees

Yankees vs Angels
Red Sox vs Indians

NL East: New York Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs (!)
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: San Diego Padres

Diamondbacks vs Cubs
Mets vs Padres


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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 4:36 PM 0 Heckles

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hated Yankees

From ESPN Page 2:

17. Ed Whitson, New York Yankees: High-priced free agent mercilessly booed and heckled by Yankees fans both for his on-field failures and for breaking manager Billy Martin's arm in a bar fight. To this day, Whitson refuses to sign any pictures or baseball cards showing him in a Yankees uniform.

18. Kenny Rogers, New York Yankees: Ed Whitson with fewer death threats.

19. Jeff Weaver, New York Yankees: Kenny Rogers with fewer death threats.

20. Kevin Brown, New York Yankees: Two incidents stand out in Yankees fans' memory -- Brown breaking his hand and missing the end of the 2004 season after punching a wall in anger, and Brown returning for the playoffs that season, only to last less than two innings before getting pulled in the Bombers' loss to the Red Sox.

21. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees: Sure, they love him now. But just wait until he goes 49-for-50 with 49 homers and 150 RBIs in the playoffs, only to make the final out of Game 7 of the World Series. Then we'll know that A-Rod the Choker never left us.

22. Kyle Farnsworth, New York Yankees: Google "Kyle Farnsworth" and "The Dugout" and you'll gain a better understanding of the Yankees' goggle-wearing arsonist. It's hard to say what would be a bigger long shot for Professor Farnsworth: an All-Star appearance or a Mensa membership.

23. Hideki Irabu, New York Yankees: When your team's owner calls you a fat toad in the media, things probably aren't going so well.

24. Kei Igawa, New York Yankees: Yes, he's another Japanese pitcher who was horribly overpaid by the Yankees, then failed miserably on the mound. On the plus side, he's pretty slim.

25. Carl Pavano, New York Yankees: He's been totally unfair to Yankees fans -- most of the players on this list have the courtesy to actually play once in a while and receive their boos.


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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:36 PM 2 Heckles

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yankees Trivia

The Yankees used a total of 13 different starters this season, 8 of them rookies.
Of the eight, name FIVE.
Kei Igawa
Philip Hughes
Tyler Clippard
Matt DeSalvo
Jeff Karstens
Darrell Rasner
Ian Kennedy
Chase Wright


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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:37 PM 3 Heckles

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Proud Chamberlains

Last night's game was a close one, but when Joba Chamberlain came on to pitch, the camera's zoomed in on Harlan Chamberlain, Joba's father, and you could see the proud look on his face through tears and cheers.
This is from the Yankees official site and I had to share it with everyone:

Harlan Chamberlain started crying.

He had watched his son, Joba, "hundreds of times" in person. He played catch with him every day when Joba was growing up, watched him in high school and junior college. He saw him become the ace at the University of Nebraska and help the Cornhuskers reach the 2005 College World Series.

But he had never seen him like this -- watching him pitch in a Major League game, live, from the stands. Harlan, who has polio, is confined to a wheelchair.

He doesn't travel often and has watched his son pitch for the Yankees only on Major League Baseball's Extra Innings television package. But when Joba and the Yankees came to Kansas City, Harlan had to make the trip from his Nebraska home.

And when Joba entered the seventh inning of Friday's game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Harlan became emotional.

"I will never forget this night," Harlan said. "September 7, 2007. To actually be here was pretty neat. It was a real blessing."

Joba continued his incredible scoreless streak, tossing two shutout innings. He allowed just two singles and still hasn't allowed a run in the Major Leagues. Through 11 appearances, Chamberlain has tossed 14 1/3 scoreless innings. These two, though, were actually a little bit easier for Chamberlain.

"We had a tight game going on and it is a situation where I want to be in," he said. "Doesn't matter what is going on. It is a big game for us no matter who we are playing."

About six hours before his son appeared in the game, Harlan pulled into Kauffman Stadium. Along with family members and friends, Harlan made the three-hour trip from Nebraska to Kansas City.

He reached Kauffman about four hours before first pitch and spent time with a Sports Illustrated photo crew, met Yankees manager Joe Torre and talked with lefty Andy Pettitte's father.

Joba was certainly happy to see his father -- as well as most of the state. Joba and Royals third baseman Alex Gordon are longtime friends, teammates and Cornhuskers legends.

In 2005, Chamberlain went 10-2 with a 2.81 ERA and Gordon won the Golden Spikes Award as collegiate baseball's player of the year.

Neither player knew how many tickets he asked for. Chamberlain couldn't even estimate the number -- "I haven't even counted; I just put my name and number next to a list" -- and Gordon received a barrage of phone calls and text messages asking for tickets.

Because the Cornhuskers football team is traveling this weekend, this Yankees-Royals series is the must-see event for many Nebraskans. Harlan put the number of Cornhuskers fans in attendance on Friday night at 10,000.

However, no fan was likely happier than Harlan.

"I think that if you stand, like, 35 feet away, you can probably see his smile," Joba said with a smile and laugh.

Harlan has always helped Joba. He taught him all he could about pitching.

"What I know about pitching will fit in a thimble; what I don't know will fit in the Smithsonian," Harlan said.

But Harlan did teach his son one piece of advice -- advice that helped Joba hone a dominating fastball.

"'If you throw a curveball, I will take you right out,' and he never did," Harlan said. "A kid growing up, a curveball is not something that he needs to be throwing.

Harlan saw Joba take his talent to Nebraska, win 16 games in two seasons and be picked as a supplemental first-rounder in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

When -- on Aug. 15, 2006 -- his appendix failed, it appeared that Harlan may not be able to see his son pitch again.

"When your appendix blows up at 54 years of age, there is a lot of other stuff that happens," Joba said. "When a 21-year-old man's appendix blows up, you are in and out of the hospital, but when you are a 54-year-old man who has polio ..."

Harlan's body didn't react well to painkillers. But he kept fighting, didn't give up. He wanted to continue living -- and continue watching his son play.

"A year later, he is finally back to where he was, and he is finally 100 percent," Joba said.

Harlan could watch his son skyrocket through the Minors. First, there was the 4-0 record and 2.03 ERA in seven starts at Class A Tampa. Then, 66 strikeouts in 40 innings at Double-A Trenton. Finally, 18 strikeouts and one walk in eight shutout innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

And then the Majors. Harlan watched his son pitch 10 games and throw 12 1/3 shutout innings.

"I knew he would always make it," Harlan said. "I felt in [my heart] that he would always make it, but to move this fast, it is always surprising. He has jumped right in and become a part of it, and the rest is history. Now we just make new history."

Harlan saw on TV the incredible ovations and "Joba, Joba" chants his son received at Yankee Stadium. He wanted to see his son play in person, and this weekend offered an opportunity.

When he arrived at Kauffman Stadium, Harlan was greeted by Torre and his son's teammates. Torre approached Harlan, who extended his hand. Torre asked Harlan to call him "Joe."

"When each of the players came up and introduced themselves to me, it meant a great deal to me," Harlan said. "It was indeed an honor to meet [Torre]."

Harlan enjoyed another incredible experience when his son came in to protect a 3-2 seventh-inning lead. Joba threw 98-100 mph consistently and pitched a scoreless seventh.

"I understand somebody told me that he hit 100 six times and 101 once," Harlan said. "That is bringing [it] up. It amazes me, whether it is Joba, or [Carlos] Zambrano or [Joel] Zumaya."

In the eighth, Chamberlain faced his former teammate, Gordon, with one out. A few days ago, Gordon told him to throw him a first-pitch fastball. That is exactly what happened.

It was 100 mph. Gordon swung and missed.

"I got my first pitch to hit, and I was swinging," Gordon said. "You can't let those go by against a guy with this kind of talent."

Gordon eventually singled, but Chamberlain finished the inning with no damage. After Mariano Rivera closed out the ninth, Chamberlain met his dad and family, capping a night his father would never forget.


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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:48 AM 0 Heckles


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