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Bad Pitching + Good Hitting = Home Runs, Not a New Yankee Stadium

So the Yankees get blasted twice by the Indians in two of their four games at the new Yankee Stadium and already analysts are going mad trying to account for all the home runs being hit. They say the ball is carrying to right field and use the stats that 14 of the 20 home runs hit in the series went out that direction as evidence support the argument. I guess they’re discounting the fact that Grady Sizemore, Shin Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Mark Teixeira, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, and Nick Swisher are all powerful bats who happen to hit from the left side of the plate.

I guess when they’re examining the data and freaking out, they’re overlooking the fact that Cy Young winners like C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee combined to pitch 11.2 innings and allowed only one home run. I guess they’re ignoring the “who” aspect of the pitchers otherwise they’d realize it’s the likes of Anthony Reyes, Damaso Marte, and stiffs like Edwar Ramirez and Andrew Claggett (who’s already been sent back down to the minors) that got bombed on. Seriously, how much can the wind account for home runs if Carl Pavano went six innings without allowing a homer? And last time I checked, Chien-Ming Wang got blasted equally as badly as he did by the Indians at home as he did by the Orioles and Rays on the road in his first two starts. Oh yeah, but it’s all about the new Yankee Stadium. Coors Field East. Uh-huh.

Even if this were a factor, I’d hope people would wait longer than four games to draw a conclusion or even start speculating. Besides, the right field line at Yankee Stadium has always been short. Add a few good left-handed bats to the lineup and you should expect more home runs to right. Common sense.

$800 Million for Citi Field and They Can’t Afford to Get Hot Water Running

I’m not a big fan of the Yankees or Mets because of many reasons — the unveiling of their new ballparks would be the most recent. I understand that both organizations planned to have the parks built years ago and couldn’t anticipate the current economic conditions that make the stadium unveilings look ill-timed. Still, when you spend $800 million on a park as I’ve read and have all the bells and whistles, how can you screw things up in the visitor’s clubhouse as badly as the Mets did? According to Padres pitcher Jake Peavy who got the win on Thursday night, Citi Field didn’t have hot water running in the visitor’s clubhouse. For that reason, he had to take a cold shower. Peavy still said they did the park right and that it’s beautiful.

On a related note, there wasn’t much more satisfying than seeing the Yankees get hammered 10-2 on the day they open up their new stadium. Spending over a billion bucks on a new stadium and nearly half a billion on players and you get blown out giving up nine runs in the 7th is a great way to reward your fans. What bothers me most is that the ticket prices for each of these places is astronomical. I remember hearing someone say a few years ago that baseball games would become like the opera before long, only affordable and attended by the super wealthy. When I see that the average ticket price at Yankee Stadium is $75, I have to cringe. Fans shouldn’t have to spend as much as they do to watch Yankees and Mets home games. And just because they have new stadiums and their games cost so much doesn’t mean they’re that much more important than every other team in the league either.

Rod Blagojevich Shared Batting Lineup Advice with Lou Piniella

I’m pretty sure the cartoon above reads “That SOB is Lou Piniella. He’s the Rod Blagoyevich of Major League Baseball.” As the Chicago Tribune shares, Blagoyevich sent a note to Piniella after seeing it when it ran two years ago. The note, pictured above, reads:

Dear Lou,
I saw this in this morning’s Sun-Times. What a great compliment to me.

P.S. Have you thought about batting Soriano third, Lee fourth and Ramirez fifth?

As if having all of sports talk radio, half the newspapers, and the thousands of Bleacher Bums criticize your every move wasn’t enough, Piniella had to get it from the corrupt governor. Makes you wonder how much Obama’s going to be in Kenny Williams’ ear regarding White Sox transactions. If the Cubs had ever run an auction to “manage the Cubs for a day” I now have no doubt who would have won the bidding.

Orlando Hudson Agrees There’s No Place for African American Bench Players

Anytime you’re quoting Gary Sheffield you’re probably starting off on the wrong foot. Yes, Sheff’s the same guy who says he didn’t take steroids like the cream and the clear because “steroids is something you stick in your butt.” Clearly Sheff’s logic is second-to-none. Anyway, with MLB celebrating the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, Dodgers’ second baseman Orlando Hudson talked about blacks in baseball:

“There aren’t too many blacks in baseball, period,” Hudson said. “They feel like they won’t get that chance. You watch the College World Series, how many African Americans do you see?”

“You look at it, you know, Brandon Phillips plays every day. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard play every day. [I] play every day. Vernon Wells plays every day. [Carl] Crawford plays every day. [Mike] Cameron plays every day. Bill Hall plays every day. I don’t know too many African American bench players.”

First of all, I don’t care for that line of thinking to begin with. We hear some player saying it almost every year, invariably around this time. MLB doesn’t discriminate; whether you’re Indian, Korean, Colombian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, or African American, they’re just looking for someone who can hit, field, or pitch exceptionally well. It’s up to each individual to choose what sport they want to play. African Americans are great athletes and dominate pro football and basketball. They’re free to play baseball too — there aren’t any race restrictions.

Furthermore, Hudson’s line about bench players is simply ignorant; just because Orlando can’t think of any black bench players off the top of his head doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Without doing much thinking I came up with Craig Monroe, Dewayne Wise, Joe Thurston, Fred Lewis, Dexter Fowler, Damion Easley, and Daryle Ward as guys who are or have been bench players recently. I wonder what Hudson has to say about that. I wish they would just drop the issue entirely. I would guess that the amount of white American players has decreased lately because of the global growth of the game but I don’t hear anyone complaining about that.

Fred Lewis Goes Golden Sombrero

In a game where Clayton Kershaw strikes out 13, you can imagine at least one player would be threatening for the Golden Sombrero. On Wednesday night, the unfortunate victim was Fred Lewis. Just to show you how “on” Kershaw was, he K’d Lewis three times. Fred was probably the Giants’ hottest hitter entering the game, batting .417 and slugging .625, so you know Kershaw really cooled him off.

Fred punched out all four times up and he was equal opportunity, striking out looking twice and swinging twice. Can’t give Kershaw credit for everything because it was Jon Broxton that gave him the whiff treatment his last time up. Lewis is a good player and will get his fair share of hits this year. Hard to expect too much from a lefty facing a southpaw who has a good fastball and a devastating curve the way Kershaw does. Not that I have any sympathy or anything because if the Giants never scored another run the rest of the year I’d be quite satisfied.

Video: Nick Swisher Pitches for the Yankees in Blowout Loss to Rays

Forget Mariano Rivera — the Yankees have a new closer. In case you were wondering what the highest payroll in baseball can buy, here’s the answer: a pitching staff that gives up 15 runs on 17 hits. Since the game was already out of hand at 15-5 in the bottom of the 8th, Joe Girardi decided to have utility man Nick Swisher throw the final half-inning for the Yanks.

Girardi’s decision was actually pretty smart considering he only burned three relievers on the staff despite Chien-Ming Wang lasting just one inning of his start. It was actually pretty funny watching the guys in the dugout crack up. Notice how Jose Molina didn’t even put down a sign at first. Ultimately this is just another example of what a good sport Swisher is — he hadn’t even pitched since his freshman year of high school. By the way, does anybody feel worse than Gabe Kapler right about now? How do you punch out against a guy throwing softer than BP fastballs??

Vin Scully Talks Boners, Throws Out the First Pitch

While I was searching for the video of Vin Scully throwing out the first pitch Monday at Dodger Stadium, I came across something that’s slightly more deserving of our attention. This video comes from the Dodgers’ second game of the season, a loss to the Padres on Tuesday last week. Turn up the volume for this beauty:

That “boner” jam reminds me of the time Hideo Nomo was pitching for the Dodgers and not doing too well. Scully, in one of his slips, said “And now homo is struggling.” I guess he does have a dirty mind at times. OK, now for what we all came. Here’s the southpaw from the Bronx throwing out the first pitch of the Dodgers’ first home game of the ’09 season. Skip ahead to the 1:30 mark to see the lefty fire a strike.

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