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Monday, June 04, 2001

Rocket unlikely to face the Mets

I have despised the Yankees since I can remember. At first, my dad taught me, then I came to dislike them for all my own reasons. I will admit, there was a smidge of envy tied into my emotion. As much as I disliked the Yankees, I respected them. Today, however, how can any Yankee fan look at their team the same way? Mussina backs down from Pedro and Rocket backs down from grabbing a bat.

The Clemens thing may be the smart thing, the safe thing. It certainly isn’t the Possessed Rebel, eye black wearing, Ninja Turtle shoelace thing from the Clemens we knew in Boston. I wonder if Rocket will even show his face in Shea. It would be safer to stay in his hotel or even at home. There is a word to describe this kind of action, which I am prohibited from using in this forum.

The Mussina action is indefensible. It is contrary to the essence of sport: Gimme your best and I’ll give you mine and let’s see who is still standing. You would think teams would juggle their rotation to get their ace to pitch versus the chief rival, not the opposite. It could work out where Mendoza throws a 2 hitter and NY wins anyway, but that is not the point. The call him Moose. They should call him Mouse. I am sooooooooo glad Boston signed Manny.

The Original Gary Posted: June 04, 2001 at 10:28 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jay Jaffe Posted: June 04, 2001 at 02:29 PM (#69100)
It's both amusing and disheartening to see such knee-jerk reactions to the Red Sox-Yankee rivlary that rear their head at this site. Amusing because those fired-up emotions are the stuff of baseball fandom, and we are nothing here if not baseball fans. Disheartening because at a site devoted to sound baseball analysis, the heightened feelings often lead to silly, indefensible statements such as Gary's above.

As the sage Earl Weaver once said, "This ain't football. We do this every day." The point is that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. Joe Torre, in choosing to bypass Mussina for this start, is looking at the bigger picture. I think even the most ardent Yankee hater will have to agree that Torre's grasp of the big picture is one of the keys to the Yanks' recent success. Tonight's game, last I checked, is not an elimination game, so there's no need for anybody to empty the tank.

The Yanks' rotation is a bit of a mess, with El Duque's toe injury and the instability of the back end. I've wondered aloud why Torre doesn't simply give Mendoza the five spot. He's not that valuable as a reliever if he can't pitch two days in a row. Now would be a good time to see if he can hold up for five innings. Besides, Mendoza has had success against the Red Sox in the past (subbing for an injured Clemens, he beat Pedro last year, lest you Beantowners forget. And oh, do I get warm thoughts when I think of his setup work in the '99 ALCS!).

I'm not going to sit here and defend Clemens except to say that Torre seems pretty sick of the tabloid mentality surrounding the Clemens-Piazza incidents, and would just as soon spare us all the B.S. that will come with Roger rearing his ugly head at Shea. As for Mussina, I am dead sure that if Torre handed him the ball, the Moose would be loose.

It just so happens I'm going to tonight's game...
   2. SeanForman Posted: June 04, 2001 at 04:20 PM (#69102)
Ouch, I know that was meant in jest, but that was a tad low. I've written a lot of columns and known a lot of people who have written stuff that have ended up being covered similarly in a Neyer column or a Baseball Prospectus column or in Stats scoreboard. And I know that the reverse is true as well. There are only so many ideas out there, so there is naturally going to be some overlap. Actually, Aryeh if you do write another column, you can just skip a step and submit it to us and we'd be happy to run it.

As for the partisianship, I'm swearing off my Red Sox fandom (at least in my writing here) for awhile, so this site doesn't get too bi-coastal. I also want to reiterate that this site isn't a sabermetric site. Sabermetrics is only a part of what we are doing here. It's a large part, but probably not more than half. We are looking at baseball from a broad perspective.

The server problems and the legal issues knocked us off our game for April and May and I hope we'll have a more regular stream of content over the next few months.
   3. Mark Donelson Posted: June 04, 2001 at 09:50 PM (#69106)
Oh, give it a rest, Gary.
   4. The Original Gary Posted: June 04, 2001 at 09:59 PM (#69107)
Well, I see I have stirred things up a bit. Let me first say that this is not a Red Sox-Yankee thing. This is about competing. Missina(that was a typo but thought it to be funny so I left it) is being paid to be an ace. These are the kind of games that the ace belongs in if available. He is. I don't buy the "extra day of rest" argument. Good grief, he threw 120 pitches. He is in the prime of his career so I think he can handle the work. This is not a 38 year old coming off a 146 pitch outing. Besides, isn't the whole idea behind a 5 man rotation to give pitchers an extra day? Are we now on the threshhold of a 6 man rotation?

The Moose/Mouse comment may be harsh and exaggerated but for any of you who have ever played any sport, you can't tell me you weren't thinking along those lines. I've always wanted to go up against the best competition as 99% of athletes do. To back out of a game because "I can't beat him" is unthinkable. It's gutless and if he were a player on my team I couldn't defend him.

I'm sorry, you can call me silly or ridiculous or whatever. This game means something. It is a two game swing. In a season where the wild card looks like it will be out of reach for either Boston or New York, this is an important game, as all head to head matchups between division rivals are. In a game this important, I want my ace out there. I am glad Pedro is getting the opportunity to pitch versus the team that is chasing me again. JamesFraser' article not withstanding, I want my ace to go against your team as often as possible.

I am not challenging Mussina's manhood. His heart, however, is worth questioning.
   5. Jay Jaffe Posted: June 05, 2001 at 05:25 AM (#69110)
Came home from tonight's ballgame with this discussion still on my mind. I just wanted to note that Pedro Martinez only threw 90 pitches tonight. Seems a certain manager, looking at the bigger picture, decided he was too valuable to risk. From ESPN.com:

"They took me out to give me a little rest," [Pedro] Martinez said in
   6. The Original Gary Posted: June 05, 2001 at 10:21 AM (#69111)
Jimy Williams has made Joe Torre look like a genius. At least Torre saved Mussina. Williams wasted Pedro. The last pitch he threw was 97 mph. It was only his 90th. David Cone threw 92 in his last start. I agree there is a time to "protect your assets" but this was not it. This was an important game, in the standings and psychologically. After I saw Troy O'Leary bat with two men on against Stanton in the 7th and then Arrojo enter the game, I could almost see the Yankee players voting Jimy a playoff share in the dugout.

To David G., I have heard reports that it was Torre's decision but Mussina complied willingly. I shouldn't question Mussina's heart. That is out of line. He should have put up a fight,though. It was his turn to pitch.
   7. Robert Dudek Posted: June 05, 2001 at 11:56 AM (#69112)
Gary...

I would think that players should be MORE willing to do what the manager wants and not less, but you are blaming Mussina for not "putting up a fight". Jimy wanted Ramirez to play LF but Manny said no - he wasn't going to do it.

That is perhaps the one thing that has distinguished Torre's teams from other very good ballclubs, the fact that egos take a back seat to team interests. I'm sure that Torre explained the reasoning behind the move to Mussina. You can question the strategy if you want - but it seems to be working out rather well, since the Yanks have their best pitcher going tonight against the Orioles best.

By your arguments, Pedro should have slammed his glove down in disgust when told he wasn't going out for the 7th.
   8. The Original SJ Posted: January 31, 2004 at 11:26 PM (#69124)
The Randomest of all the random thread callbacks

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