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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Bill Madden: Mediocre Yankees and Mets just part of MLB’s offensively challenged, endless games

And scroll down to where Madden squeezes out a foundation deposit for the ‘77-’78 world championship Yankee teams.

Now that Alex Rodriguez has been revealed to have even been doping as a Yankee, and in particular his 2007 MVP season, should the title of Greatest Yankee Third Baseman revert to Graig Nettles? That would be the Graig Nettles who spent 11 seasons as a Yankee (as opposed to seven for recently plaqued Tino Martinez) and was a five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner, defensive hero in the Yankees’ victorious 1978 World Series against the Dodgers. The same Graig Nettles whose 250 career homers were sixth on the all-time Yankee list when he retired. And, yes, that would also be the same Graig Nettles who does not have a plaque at Monument Park and who wasn’t invited to Old Timer’s Day this year, the same day his best friend, Goose Gossage, got his own plaque in Monument Park. I suppose there’s some reason why Nettles is now persona non grata with the Yankees, just like his fellow ’77-’78 world champion Yankee hero, Sparky Lyle, who only won a Cy Young Award for them. But whatever it is, the Yankees need to get over it, with both of them. Life is too short, and Nettles was one of the most popular Yankees and the greatest player at his position for them. Is it something about the ’77-’78 Yankees they now somehow want to distance themselves from? Catfish Hunter, the cornerstone player of those teams, Hall-of-Fame historic Yankee as the first free agent in modern baseball history, George Steinbenner’s first free agent, is nowhere to be found in Monument Park either.

Repoz Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. NattyBoh Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4744601)
Maybe PED's would help improve offensive production, but Bill is the BBWA's Cerberus on that issue.
   2. bfan Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4744603)
Yankees are starting a corner OF (3rd best hitting position in baseball, behind 1B and LF) with a .318 slugging percentage, a .660 OPS and an 86 OPS+, which are improvements over last year. What do they expect? You basically take a hitting position and put it at about what catchers hit, and expect a good offense?
   3. BDC Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4744651)
All I can say is that anyone disappointed in ML offense this year doesn't have to watch teams hit against the Texas Rangers.
   4. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4744667)
And, yes, that would also be the same Graig Nettles who does not have a plaque at Monument Park and who wasn’t invited to Old Timer’s Day this year,

Even a broken Madden clock is right twice a day. How does Tino get a plaque while Nettles has been airbrushed out of Yankee lore?
   5. formerly dp Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4744685)
I'm going to keep beating this drum: after his 2 homers yesterday, Wilmer Flores is up to .362/.367/.766 since his demotion. Even with a Vegas discount, those are impressive numbers. I know he hasn't hit at the major league level yet, but he hasn't gotten more than a small handful of consecutive starts, and was playing on two bad ankles during his callup in August. This is a team giving regular at-bats to Chris Young, Eric Young, and Bobby Abreu-- they've got to be able to find a spot for his bat; he has nothing left to prove at AAA. They've been starting him all over the infield since the demotion, so it's not clear there's any sort of a plan here. It looked like Wright was headed for the DL, and Flores would have had a few weeks at 3B if that happened, but Wright's back on the field now, and the Mets are going forward with their 6-man OF rotation.
   6. Buck Coats Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4744687)
Hey, they retired his number 30 years ago!

Just, you know, not for him.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4744690)
Yet DFA'd Alfonso Soriano and traded Vidal Nuno today were given plaques as they left the clubhouse for good.

Soriano, ok, 2 tours of duty - but the Nuno one has to sting...

   8. BDC Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4744693)
Soriano is available? That's a change.
   9. formerly dp Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4744696)
Soriano is available? That's a change.
The Cubs are looking a little thin in the OF right now...

What're the most likely landing spots for him at this point? He had a pretty amazing 2013, hard to believe the magic's vanished completely...
   10. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4744699)
When the magic vanishes, it's usually sudden.
   11. Dolf Lucky Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4744740)
Based on a sample which is admittedly prone to recency and selection bias, I feel like there is a steady drumbeat of "baseball is broken" stories on air and in print this year.

I contend that the changes from any one year to the next are so small that it would be impossible for any single observer to identify these changes, much less a small army of "experts" who want to "fix" the game.

My question is if folks think there is some concerted effort pushing these stories, and if so: why and by whom?
   12. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4744748)
Not concerted in a "there is a man behind the curtain" sense, no. It's groupthink on the part of the segment of media who will all be dead 20 years from now, and I doubt there is any underlying provocation beyond the fact that most people, when they get old, come to view the world that's passed them by as defective.

I do think two of the common complaints are legitimate and will eventually need to be addressed and will be addressed: excessive strikeouts and excessive wasting of time between pitches.
   13. McCoy Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4744752)
When you get paid to write you write. Regardless of whether or not there is a story there.
   14. I Am Not a Number Posted: July 06, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4744764)
"Mediocre journalism just part of MLB’s offensive coverage, endless inanity"
   15. Canker Soriano Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4744780)
Didn't Nettles get suspended when he broke his bat and superballs came flying out of the end of it?

Or did that happen when he was with SD, and so it wouldn't tarnish his Yankee legend?

(That said, Nettles was a hell of a 3B.)
   16. Bruce Markusen Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4744783)
Canker, the incident happened in the early 1970s, while Nettles was still a Yankee. It's always been a myth that superballs came flying out of the end of the bat; it was small pieces of rubber, likely from ground-up superballs, that came flying out.

I'm sure that incident has nothing to do with him not being invited to the Stadium. I can only guess that he had a falling out with the Yankee brass (the Steinbrenner family?) that perhaps stemmed from a failed coaching tenure in New York. As a borderline Hall of Famer, Nettles should definitely have a plaque at the Stadium. The Yankees need to put these small squabbles aside.
   17. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4744788)
Mediocre Yankees

Meciocre Yankees?? Jesus H. Christ on a giant pogo stick. The Yankees have been a winning team for 21 consecutive years now, they have made the playoffs an incredible 17 times in those 21 years, won 7 pennants, and won the whole shebang 5 times.

Mets fans and media maybe have some justification to complain and be upset about their team's performance. But Yankees fans and media? Just shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!
   18. Canker Soriano Posted: July 06, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4744823)
Canker, the incident happened in the early 1970s, while Nettles was still a Yankee. It's always been a myth that superballs came flying out of the end of the bat; it was small pieces of rubber, likely from ground-up superballs, that came flying out.

Hmm, for whatever reason I remembered this as being in San Diego.

I was joking as to whether I thought it was the reason he wasn't invited back - there have always been people in the past who got on the wrong side of Steinbrenner and became personae non gratae for returning to Yankee Stadium in an "official" capacity. I guess that's probably still true even though old George is no longer with us. It would be nice to see him get a bit more recognition than he does for his contributions to those late 1970s Yankee teams.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 06, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4744838)
I was joking as to whether I thought it was the reason he wasn't invited back - there have always been people in the past who got on the wrong side of Steinbrenner and became personae non gratae for returning to Yankee Stadium in an "official" capacity. I guess that's probably still true even though old George is no longer with us. It would be nice to see him get a bit more recognition than he does for his contributions to those late 1970s Yankee teams.

Well, Nettles' nickname was "Puff", but Joe Garagiola always referred to him as "Poof", and I can only imagine what King George thought when he heard that.....

But yes, Nettles was a True Yankee who deserves official recognition of some kind for his role on those Bronx Zoo teams. Solid all around player who should have a plaque up there with Paulie and Bernie and the rest of them.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:32 PM (#4744869)
Wasn't it Albert Belle who had the superballs bounce out? (Yes, I hate it when players like Graig Nettles and Albert Belle ...)

Based on a sample which is admittedly prone to recency and selection bias, I feel like there is a steady drumbeat of "baseball is broken" stories on air and in print this year.

More than usual? "Baseball is broken" has to be one of the more common themes for baseball columnists. Whether it's "I'm tired of all the HRs" or "I'm tired of all the Ks" or "What happened to the stolen base?" or "The games take too long" or "The WS ratings are down! The WS ratings are down!" or "That dirty Union and their greedy members" or "OMG, half the league can't compete and we all know the Yanks are going to win the Series every year" or "Kids aren't playing baseball anymore" or "Blacks aren't playing baseball anymore" or "If only those stat nerds hadn't forced teams to use pitch counts" ... the current pointlessness and/or the impending doom of baseball must be the theme for at least half of the "meta" articles published every season.

This year the topic de jour is strikeouts and low-scoring. Next year it will be all those damn shifts. Two years from now it will be all those stupid beards (if they're still around) or how much things were better when they had all those stupid beards (if they're gone).

   21. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4744871)
Wasn't it Albert Belle who had the superballs bounce out? (Yes, I hate it when players like Graig Nettles and Albert Belle ...)


No, Albert Belle had his bat confiscated by the umpiring crew, but steroid cheat Jason Grimsley crawled through the duct work at new Comiskey Park to retrieve it. The Indians were later ordered to produce the pilfered lumber, which tests revealed to be corked.
   22. Dolf Lucky Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4744882)
@20: fair enough. What struck me as odd this past week was two separate sports talk radio hosts asking for suggestions for baseball rules changes. Struck me as forced, but maybe it's just typical July banter.
   23. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4744917)
Fortunately the Yankees don't need A-Rod back, especially with Solarte being so great. At least that's what I've been told all season by Yankees fans.
   24. Good cripple hitter Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4744919)
No, Albert Belle had his bat confiscated by the umpiring crew, but steroid cheat Jason Grimsley crawled through the duct work at new Comiskey Park to retrieve it. The Indians were later ordered to produce the pilfered lumber, which tests revealed to be corked.


I wanted to read more about Grimsley's duct-crawling, and I managed to find a hilarious-in-hindsight blog post from 2004 that summarized the story with:


What we learn from this story is that Grimsley is an exceedingly loyal teammate who will go to great lengths—and sometimes illegal ones—to help his team. But at 205 pounds, he is a good amount bigger than his 180-pound self of ten years ago, so crawling through cramped passages may not be a part of his skill set anymore.
   25. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:51 AM (#4744944)
@22: I think the problem at this time of the year is that baseball is really the only game in town. Despite the very minor rumblings on twitter, NBA free agency hasn't truly kicked off yet (and might not until Lebron signs), NFL training camps are dark, the Stanley Cup still smells of beer and champagne, the US is out of the WC, etc. Radio guys have to figure out a way to fill hours of airtime right now with only 1 sport really going on.
   26. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4745023)
Fortunately the Yankees don't need A-Rod back, especially with Solarte being so great. At least that's what I've been told all season by Yankees fans.


Citation needed.

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