Saturday, April 14, 2007
So I took the job at MVN: The Bronx Block, recently posting my first post there...
Hopefully, this is a sign of new and better things in my writing...
Thank you guys for your support, but seriously, BRING THAT SUPPORT OVER THERE!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I've dealt with sinus infections since Junior year of high school, where I was hit severely with one. The infection carried with me throughout my play practices for "You Can't Take It With You" (I was Donald, who was originally casted as a black servant).
I will get back up and running since I'm able to function again! =P But speaking about my past play experience, that takes me to a topic I want to address to the readers of my Yankee blog and my personal blogs. It's on the subject of responsibility in writing, something that (apparently) I have a lot of experience in. Though I'm just an aspiring journalist, with my experience in blogging and diversity, I'm still perfecting my craft.
However, as we can see in the news today, many have perfected their craft... their craft of offending others.
The cast of characters in which this April 4th conversation clip took place on the "Don Imus Show" was:
IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between -- a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women's final.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night -- seventh championship for [Tennessee coach] Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and --
McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some -- woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like -- kinda like -- I don't know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes -- that movie that he had.
IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough --
McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IMUS: I don't know if I'd have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.
IMUS: Well, I guess, yeah.
RUFFINO: Only tougher.
McGUIRK: The [Memphis] Grizzlies would be more appropriate.
* Don Imus, the man taking almost 100% of the heat for his "nappy-headed hos" comment.
* Sid Rosenberg, the fired WFAN announcer who stood in that day for regular "Imus Show" sportscaster, Chris Carlin
* Bernard McGuirk, the executive producer for the "Don Imus Show" on MSNBC (and "Imus in the Morning" on 660 WFAN)
Throughout ESPN News and on ESPN.com today, lines and quotes scream from the offended Rutgers' women's basketball organization, as well as many black leaders with Rev. Al Sharpton leading the charge. Many of these leaders are calling for Imus to be fired, as well as Filip Bundy (one of my personal favorite journalists) writing in the Daily News that Imus "should be axed for one of the most despicable comments ever uttered on the air."
Yes, what Don Imus said was terrible beyond belief. Yes, this is a case of irresponsible broadcasting on television and on radio. Yes, we should not recommend Don Imus for a Nobel Peace Prize any time soon. But let's not go around, putting his head on a pike for this comment. Furthermore, let's not go around only putting his head on a pike when there were two other men who made comments as crass as his.
Let us list just a few of Don Imus's latest "radical" comments on the past few years:
* Stating that Contessa Brewer, who used to work with Imus but quit because of his treatment of her, has only one good asset: her "fat ass". He also proceeded to insult her moral worth, calling her a "skank", and her intelligence, calling her "dumber than dirt".
* Dismissing Rush Limbaugh's drug problem by calling him "a fat, pill-popping loser"
* Stating that CBS Radio is run by a "Jewish management" who are "money-grubbing bastards"
* (Quote from CNN.com)
When The New York Times hired black journalist Gwen Ifill in the 1990s, Imus said it was nice of the paper to "let the cleaning lady cover the White House." He also called Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden a "quota hire."* He has repeatedly called Arabs "ragheads" and indirectly advocated killing the Palestinians by dropping a bomb on them
The list goes on and on. However, he gets paid to do this. This is his job: to be a shock jock, period. People turn in to hear him talk and rant. As it has been easily illustrated by a number of his insults, he actually doesn't single out a single group throughout his years on the show. Yes, he insulted the black community, but he also insulted politicians, women and even the Arab community. To see the Arab community sit down and take those undeserving shots from Imus while the black community gets up in arms against his one comment has got to be disheartening. At least, it is for me.
In 2004, you heard almost less than nothing about the insults against the Arab community on a whole... but in 2006, an attack against a basketball team gets the black community to battle together against Imus. Why is that? Of course, that goes into the aspect of "accepted racism" in America today, but that's for another day. However, it is something to think about.
It may seem simple to state this but this "problem" could have been nipped in the bud a long time ago. There are essentially two things that could have prevented this "tragedy":
1. Fire the executive producer/commentators on the show
2. Don't listen to the show.
Let's dissect the past work of the two other man involved in all of this.
Sid Rosenberg is a piece of work, plain and simple. To even think why he returned for a show is beyond me. According to FoxNews.com and CNN.com, his line of degrading comments range deeper than Imus's.
- Calling Serena/Venus Williams "too masculine" and that the Williams sisters are more suited for National Geographic than Playboy
- Referring the 2001 U.S. Women's Soccer Team as "juiced-up dykes"
- Stating that only "faggots play tennis"
- Mocked Kylie Minogue's breast cancer by being quoted as saying "She won't look so pretty when she's bald with one tit".
Apparently, he treats people on the radio like he treated his job at the WFAN: with complete carelessness and disrespect. Personally, as an aspiring journalist who would love to have the job that Sid Rosenberg had, it seems careless for someone to destroy aspects of basic humanity on the radio, but hey, Rosenberg said it and we, as Americans, turned in to hear him. But then again, considering Rosenberg now has a job in a Miami sports radio station, radio stations truly are soulless, selling their worth for radio commentators for the green, the dough, and the bread.
However, if a producer of a shock jock show has both the same mindset as the radio owners that hire commentators like Rosenberg and Imus and the same attitude as Rosenberg and Imus, that equals a recipe of great success monetary for the radio station. Bernard McGuirk is that executive producer.
When it comes to spitting out hateful remarks, McGwirk is as quick as they come. His resume of work consists of:
- Stating that Jill Carroll struck him as being an Iraqi terrorist, "the kind of woman who would wear one of those suicide vests"
- Referring to Barack Obama as being a "jugg-eared neophyte (a novice)" as well as being "patronizing" and "Oprah's guy" because he's half-black
- Playing the role of the antagonist to Don Imus, he inserted insults to Imus with insults against Anderson Cooper (whether "... Anderson Cooper was taking it in the pooper").
It amazes me that the comments these three have made in the past haven't come to bite them in the butt until now. However, when it comes to radio and shock jocks in general, two names do come to mind: Don Imus and Howard Stern. When it comes to money, both are making it, with Howard Stern bringing his massive audience over to Sirius. With Howard Stern moving to Sirius on January of 2006, his inclusion resulted in a 2 million more subscribers to Sirius within his first year. Howard Stern's promotion of Sirius Satellite in the months before January of 2006 helped get 2 million more subscribers to the satellite company.
Money is what drives radio stations and companies to hire guys like Imus and Stern. In fact, the recent announcement of MSNBC canceling the live broadcast of the "Don Imus Show" wasn't done because it was the "right" thing to do. It wasn't done because MSNBC wanted to appease the growing dissect from the black community either.
Sponsors withdraw ads
Gordon's statements came as more big sponsors withdrew their ads from the airing of "Imus in the Morning" on MSNBC.
At least eight companies have pulled their ads from the show, including Staples, General Motors, Sprint Nextel, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, PetMed Express, American Express and Bigelow Tea.
African-American activists are expected to send a letter to Imus' remaining advertisers demanding they "withdraw sponsorship."
Radio stations and TV stations alike get their money from advertisements. If the advertisers aren't going to pay up, the show ends up not profiting for the TV or radio stations that hold it. The reason why MSNBC canceled the TV broadcast is because MSNBC saw its opportunity to profit from the show fall apart in front of their eyes. If the women and African-American activists are able to push their weight around even more, it could only be a matter of time for WFAN to cancel the show all together.
Money rules media in this day and age. If we listen and watch, advertisers will pay to have their ads play on those programs. If advertisers pay, TV and radio stations will profit. If those stations profit, they will keep putting out material that will keep us coming to that program. The cycle continues.
In my opinion, the only way Don Imus will be able to produce a strong profit again would be to move to the non-censored satellite radio stations. In fact, if any satellite radio companies are listening, they can steal this idea from me.
It's not a secret that Imus and Stern don't like each other. Howard Stern has two radio stations on Sirius so far, with the option of making one more. In that third station, you can have Stern and Imus feud. As an aside to their regular programming, the insults and slurs each of them will sling at each other would be extremely profitable. It would be a radio listener's wet dream fulfilled! Yes, to many (including me), this would be a feud of soulless and epic proportions, but hey, if money's the game to these radio and TV companies, why not cash in?
The only way this madness will end is if we all, as a collective group, decide not to listen. It took more than 15 years for Don Imus to face a backlash of this proportion. For 15 years, Imus and the people on his show have insulted men and women; blacks and Arabs; politicians and reporters. Just now, he is paying for his "sins" against the listeners and the non-listeners he affects. Within politics as well as situations like this, the black population in America as well as women in general hold an incredible weight. With both groups against you, how can you stand?
Is there any way Imus can rebound from this? Only time will tell. Maybe listeners will still listen in. Maybe Imus finally bit off more than he can chew. Maybe this is America finally fighting back against the shock jock. This has been a long time coming. If Imus is still making WFAN money after this, Imus has survived this with more than he was expecting. As long as the advertisers don't leave completely during the two-week suspension, Imus will still have a job in radio.
This is where I decide to add one small personal piece to the mix to wrap this up. My cousin was actually on the Don Imus Show. But she wasn't on so Don Imus could berate her. She was on the show to talk about Don Imus's ranch. She stayed at the ranch for four weeks because the good people at Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey sent her over. She had a wonderful time, checking out the ranch, being with Imus and his wife, and riding on the horses there.
Let's not get it twisted. Don Imus is not the devil. Don Imus is not the anti-Christ. He is just getting paid to talk about whatever he wants in whatever way he wants. People listen and he talks, period. His formula has worked for over 15 years, and heck, for all the crass things he has said in the past, people still listen in and advertisers still pay. Imus uses the money that he gets for great things, keeping his ranch as well as donating money to the rehabilitation of our soldiers overseas in Iraq.
He may be a moral man with great intentions for the money that he gets, but when dealing with Imus, you have to separate the moral man with the shock jock personality. That shock jock personality has him in heat, with pressure from all sides of the issue.
Don Imus and his people insulted both the black population of the United States, but also women. He insulted both groups by going against a women's college basketball team. He didn't go against a politician or a well-known journalist, but an "innocent" Rutgers' women's basketball team. The comments were absolutely disgusting, but please, it's not just Don Imus here.
The real blame lies in four main parties:
1. Don Imus
2. Sid Rosenburg
3. Bernard McGuirk as well as the other producers and conductors of the "Don Imus Show"
Yes, some of the blame lies within us. The story is this: if we don't listen, the show will go away. Throughout this entry, I have referred to the ugly cycle of how TV and radio shows make money. We are a cog in that wheel. If we don't listen, advertisers won't pay. If advertisers won't pay, TV and radio stations lose money. And no one wants to fund a money-sucking show. Period.
All I can ask is this: make your TV and radio choices wisely. Why is American Idol so successful? Many people watch it. Why does loud-mouth and perfected-jerk Jim Rome have a radio show and a TV show on ESPN? People listen and watch him. Why does Ben Affleck still have a job in Hollywood? Many people watch his movies. If many people don't watch or listen to something, it will go away.
If you choose to want to listen to a shock jock that will berate your thoughts and opinions, that's up to you. But don't be shocked when that shock jock says something that will offend your community. Believe me, when it comes to shock jocks, it's only a matter of time before he or she will offend you deeply. That jock may offend you either as a man or a woman, as a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew, as a black man or woman, as a Latino or Latina, or as a person living in America.
If you don't listen, shock jocks won't have a job. Just like Smokey the Bear once said, only you can prevent forest fires. My friends, only you can prevent shock jocks.
Thank you for your time! =)
I just accepted a spot at MVN yesterday, writing for the Bronx Block, because of the recommendation from one of my favorite blog writers, EJ, who writes for Pending Pinstripes.
The future of this blog is in doubt, but we will see in the next couple of days.
Thank you guys again for your time! =)
Monday, April 02, 2007
It's so hard to write objectively on Opening Day, especially with the results of today's game and what transpired. Everything that you see today makes you hope for or against these things becoming a tread throughout the rest of the year. Hopefully for us Yankee fans, we have lots to hope for with the 9-5 result.
Because my school is either too cheap to acquire YES or is run by a group of Met fans who get off on watching SNY on the televisions at Fordham, I had to resort to the radio. Ironically though, because of Fordham, I have to go to some of the games.
According to ESPN, this is now the 10th Opening Day victory in a row for the Yankees, which is the best in the majors. It didn't come easy, with errors from A-Rod and Jeter and Pavano collapsing in the 5th. A few things though:
1) Mariano... striking out the side... having the change-up in his pitch selection... yeaaaaaaa, expect good things from easily the best closer of all-time...
2) A-Rod showing his hustle with the go-ahead run: base hit, stolen base, and scoring from 2nd on Giambi's hit. And of course, the 2-run HR iced it. Beautiful, period.
3) It's great to see Jeter up to his old tricks, especially today with the clutch 2-run single to tie the game 5-5 in the bottom of the 6th.
4) Giambi with the 2 hit/3 RBI game is encouraging to see, especially after his wrist injuries last year. There is no reason why he should hit significantly better at 1st base, especially now that he's getting more rest being the DH.
5) Though Pavano collapsed, he looked pretty decent in the first 4 innings. Many would want to attribute his struggles in the game to Opening Day nerves and not pitching since June of 2005, but we'll see for ourselves when he makes his next start.
6) YEAA!!! I loved seeing zeros next to the names of Bruney (no walks as well, even though he gave up an inherited run), Henn, Vizcaino (with the win), Farnsworth (with the hold), and the Greatest of All Time. It's absolutely encouraging to see Henn, Vizcaino and Farnsworth do what they are supposed to do.
And of course, Torre didn't overuse the bullpen, so we didn't have to use Proctor! YEA! =P
7) Amazing class displayed today from the men and women of the right-field bleachers, showing respect and displaying their love for Bernie after the customary "Box seats suck!" insult in the roll call. Enough said. =)
Now, I can only hope and wait for Wednesday to come. I got a ticket in Section 39 to see Pettitte return to the mound, but the weatherman isn't making me hopeful for Wednesday or Thursday... *sighs*
We'll just see what happens... blah.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Part 2 will have four parts: Left field, center field, right field, and DH
Left field: Hideki Matsui vs. Manny Ramirez
Yankees: I'm sure your reaction about Matsui's wrist break was like mine: your face was contorted in a kind of pain your neighborhood buddy couldn't inflict. Seeing Matsui's wrist break (a few days after I attended my first Boston game) was a worst case scenario, once Sheffield messed up his wrist. With the rookie play of Melky Cabrera, the trade for underrated Bobby Abreu, and the sheer power of the line-up, the Yankees survived 2006.
Bouncing back this year shouldn't be that big of an issue. With his wrist break having on his left wrist, he doesn't lose that much snap in his swing as much as Sheffield could have in his left wrist injury. As a left-handed hitter, the main wrist that provides the snap in your swing is your right (and for a right-handed hitter, is the left wrist). ZiPS projects that he hits .293/.367/.474, which is pretty Matsui-like, along with the 100 RBIs and 19 HRs (projecting his power will fall a bit by age and the injury).
Matsui's main strength is his bat, and when you hold Matsui and Melky in the same light, Melky has the upside on defense when it comes to covering ground and arm strength. Will that bite the Yankees in the butt? Only the season can tell us the answer.
Red Sox: Gosh, what is there to say about Manny Ramirez? If the only option the Yankees have against Manny is to walk him almost every time he got up in the Boston Massacre, I think that says it all. I mean, career-wise, the man averages a 1.011 OPS. 470 HRs. Do I need to explain his Hall of Fame credentials?
The only thing you can say against Manny is his apparent laziness in left field. And of course, let's not forget the "Manny-being-Manny" crap that has him as my least-liked player in the game today. However, I can't argue against that he almost makes me wet my pants every time I see him against the Yankees. Manny's just that good.
Advantage: Boston -- Clearly. Got Manny? Clearly, the Yankees don't.
Center Field: Johnny Damon vs. Coco Crisp
Yankees: At this point, in the strict professionalism and business-like atmosphere of the clubhouse, Damon is the straw that stirs the Yankees' drink. Besides the fact that he betrayed the Red Sox, I personally love Damon for his personality and the fact that he can team up with Jason Giambi and Brian Bruney to loosen up some of the players. The way that he has fun every time he's out there on the field shows that he loves the game. To Damon, baseball's a game, not his next paycheck, which I suspect many Yankee players have forgotten over the years. Damon's greatest asset to the Yankees is the chemistry factor. Personally, if I had a chance to hang out with one player on the Yankees, though Mariano's my favorite player, I'd have to go with Damon because there is no doubt that, like the Yankee team, he'll make me feel comfortable and welcomed.
But let's not forget: Damon's a pretty good center-fielder in his own right. He was able to reach his career high in home runs (20), while taking advantage of the short porch in right field. Even with a nagging injury in his right foot, he was still able to leg out 25 stolen bases (most since 2003), while scoring 115 runs and hitting 80 RBIs. Though he may act like Judas, look like Jesus, and throw like Mary, he can still cover all the ground that departed Bernie Williams couldn't cover in his last few years on the Yankees. Also, he cut down his errors from 6 in 2005 to 3 in 2006. Johnny Damon made us Yankee fans love him. However, I loved him ever since the signing, and though other Yankee fans either wanted someone else (a Juan Pierre, maybe?) or keep quadruple-A player Bubba Crosby as our CF, I take great pride in predicting that Damon would be a great asset for the Yankees. I project that Damon will continue to prove me right this year.
Red Sox: For all the talk Red Sox fans made about Coco Crisp and how he will be better than Damon, he didn't prove Red Sox fans right last year. In 40 less games last season (he only played 105 games), he cut his HR total from 16 to 8 and his RBI total from 69 to 36. His splits also decreased: 36 points in AVG/28 points in OBP/80 points in SLG. Though he's still young and hasn't hit the typical prime age yet (28), the Red Sox expect some rapid improvement from him. There is a possibility that, with all the tools working for him and if all the planets align at just the right angle, Crisp can get 20+ HRs, 90+ RBIs, and 30+ stolen bases.
One thing we can't deny: Crisp can play the field. Committing only one error last year, his defense was on full display when he robbed David Wright of a sure double. Though there is no doubt Crisp's defense is... well... crisp and will continue to improve, it doesn't seem that his glove and speed can't make up for his lack of hitting. Adding the clubhouse/chemistry factor I put in there for Damon, if the trade rumors were any sign, Boston may be admitting a mistake.
Advantage: Yankees -- For now. Damon still has speed, he can hit, and plus, he loosens up the clubhouse. An asset in every sense of the word.
Right Field: Bobby Abreu vs. J.D. Drew
Yankees: In my rounds around the standard MySpace Yankee/Baseball groups, and in reading Dante's post, there is one conclusion I can draw from what I have read: Bobby Abreu is the most under-rated player on the Yankees. Reading that Abreu is equal to Drew and that we should drop Abreu to 7th in our line-up absolutely drove me crazy.
What has Abreu done? Let's see: He has hit for over 100+ RBIs five out of the last six years, he has drew more than 100 walks for eight straight years, he gets on base more than 41% of the time (career-wise), he has gotten more than 10 assists playing right field five times, and he has stolen more than 21 bases for eight straight years. This guy is consistent. He hits consistently. He gets on base consistently. He has great speed consistently. He has a great arm and awareness in right field consistently. Abreu's skills are perfect for the Yankees, period.
What has he done that Drew hasn't? He won a Silver Slugger (2004), while Drew has none. He won a Gold Glove (2005), while Drew has none. Lastly, he is a two-time All-Star (2004/2005), while Drew has never appeared in an All-Star game. To even think that Drew is equal to Abreu is a ridiculous notion. But let me try to "equalize" them.
Red Sox: So Drew finally got to 100 RBIs for the first time in his career last year. Much has been made about his injury streak, but I won't get into that. The thing is that I believe he won't get injured seriously, and to try and think that he would get seriously injured would be bad karma. He drew over 100 walks once, in 2004 as a Brave. His consistency can be called out here. He either strikes out more than 100 times a year (2002/2004/2006) or he strikes out less than 50 times (2003/2005). Either he can be a 20+ HR man (2001/2004) or not (all the other years).
Defensive-wise, if you want to assess errors, Drew has the very slight edge in having less errors (overall), but Abreu has less errors from last (5 for Drew, 3 for Abreu). Drew is also two years young, so we can assess that into the equation. However, when it comes to Bobby Abreu, there is more consistency and more value in a player of Bobby Abreu's skills. Plus, when Drew gets speed like Abreu, let me know. =)
Advantage: Yankees -- Abreu > Drew, period.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz vs. Jason Giambi
Yankees: What's so easy about assessing the DHs is that you only need to assess the hitting. After dealing with wrist injuries all throughout last year and also playing atrocious defense at 1st base, Jason Giambi has been designated to being... the designated hitter. It has been well documented that Giambi hits significantly worse when he's a DH, hitting at a .224/.373/.531 split in his 70 games there last year.
Giambi's main assets to the line-up is his ability to get on-base (getting on base more than 41% of the time last year, drawing 110 walks) and his power (37 HRs/113 RBIs last year). However, Giambi must rebound from his injuries last year as well as getting over not playing 1st base every day. I have no idea why Giambi hits significantly worse when he's a DH, but I do hope he works that stuff out because the Yankees need him.
Red Sox: It would be easy for me to say "it's David 'Freakin' Ortiz! Why do I have to assess his hitting?" But of course, that wouldn't be fair. What is fair to say is that David Ortiz is a ridiculous hitter. 54 HRs (Red Sox record). 137 RBIs. Mr. Clutch. Same on-base percentage as Giambi (41%+). Top 5 MVP-candidate the last 4 years. No signs of slowing down.
David Ortiz is one of those hitters that makes a rivalry great. He loves the game. He kills the ball. He hits you where it hurts: in the "clutch". Though I don't believe in the myth of clutchness, I do have to say: David Ortiz is a fantastic hitter.
Advantage: Boston -- Just like with A-Rod, it's David Ortiz. How can I pick against him?
That's all for Part 2!
If you're keeping track at home, it's Yankees 6, Red Sox 2.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
He did an incredible job on detailing the rivalry and assessing both teams based on position, strengths and weaknesses...
I'm going to take my own spin on assessing the rivalry with a four-part series: Infield, Outfield, Pitching, and Intangibles (which would include the bench, managing, and the Manny/A-Rod impacts).. I have no idea how the spacing of the four-parts will be time-wise, but I'll do my best!
When we're talking about the infield, we're talking about 5 positions: 1st base, 2nd base, shortstop, 3rd base, and the catching position...
1st base: Doug Mientkiewicz/Josh Phelps/Andy Phillips vs. Kevin Youkilis
Yankees: Because of Jason Giambi's inability to defend 1st base, make the pivot throw to 2nd base, and stay injury-free while playing 1st, Mientkiewicz was signed to bring his defensive skills and glove to the team, and comparing the Zone Ratings of Giambi and Mientkiewicz, the differences are huge: .838 to Doug's .881. When it comes to errors, Giambi has 73 in 1040 games played at 1st, compared to Doug's 28 in 848 games.
The defensive upgrade is apparent, but offense? Meh. In the last three years, Doug has hit a weak .253 with an equally weak .721 OPS. Hitting 9th in the potent Yankee line-up won't hurt him quite as much, but his bat isn't something you can really get excited about. Depending on who the Yankees pick to platoon with Doug, the decision should not greatly bother the team.
Heck, career-wise, Doug actually hits left-handers a little better: .271 AVG/.759 OPS against right-handers, as opposed to .269/.780 against left-handers.
Red Sox: In addition to having one of the coolest last names in baseball and being a Jew (as Denis Leary proclaimed in a now-banned YouTube video), Kevin Youkilis isn't a bad baseball player himself. Career-wise, his Zone Rating is actually lower than Giambi's: .828, but let's keep in mind that he platooned in 2nd base (2 games), 3rd base (105 games) and left field (18 games) in his career. Yes, Youk isn't a Godsend at 1st base. However, he has the flexibility to play other positions in the infield and in the outfield. He committed 5 errors last year, compared to Doug's 3 and Giambi's 7. Stats or not, Youk plays better defense than Giambi, but Doug has the advantage over Youk.
Besides platooning at different positions, he has a pretty decent bat. In his three-year split (which is his entire career in the majors), he has hit .275 AVG/.802 OPS, and he has slowly improved in the last three years. Being at the supposed prime age (28), he should improve a little bit more for a good .280 AVG/.810+ OPS, which projects to be better than Doug's projection, even if Doug hits above his head.
Advantage: Boston -- With pop in his bat and the decent defense, Boston looks to have a bigger advantage over what many consider to be a defensive "specialist".
2nd base: Robinson Cano vs. Dustin Pedroia
Yankees: There's a lot I can say for Cano, but I'll start with an amazing projection and summary from SG of Replacement Level Yankees Weblog. In the link, SG lists the players who have had a season where the person hit for an average of .330 or higher at an age of 25 or younger in a full season since World War II. If you look at the list, there is not one bad player in that list. Must I say anything more about Cano's bat? I think not.
Cano decreased the amount of errors at 2nd base from 17 to 9 last year, while increasing his Zone Rating by .009. Guys, Cano is only 24. If not the best 2nd baseman in the league, he is easily in the top 3. Is it safe to say that it's more than likely that his defense will continue to improve? Cano is likely to improve his defense and build on his 2006 success at the plate. If he doesn't, I'll eat my hat. =)
Red Sox: Meet Dustin Pedroia. Many similarities will point to him being a lot like Marcus Giles. Pedroia's not a guy you can sleep on. He has the ability to be pretty good down the line, and as SoxProspects.com state, "Overall, Pedroia may not be an all-star, but is likely to be a dependable second baseman at the major league level, which is a great asset for any team, especially on a cost-controlled basis."
He should make a splash into the majors this year with full-time playing at 2nd base, but at this point, he's still a rookie with lots of potential that has not been tapped yet. In 2007, we should see some of that potential either come out of his pores or stay hidden in his bowels.
Advantage: Yankees -- It's Cano... CA-no! Pedroia will be good for the Red Sox in the future, but it's Cano!
Shortstop: Derek Jeter vs. Julio Lugo
Yankees: Derek Jeter, what is there to say about him? MVP-candidate last year, and somehow, he was able to get his third straight Gold Glove. I don't think I need to explain Jeter's successes hitting last year, so let's go into defense.
Though there has been lots of talk about Jeter's defensive woes, Jeter has actually rated better than an average shortstop for the 2nd year in a row. For a player past his prime age of 28 to keep improving offensively and defensively is remarkable and shows the dedication a player has to the game.
Yes, statistically, he may be below-average, and yes, through the eyes of many Yankee fans, he's an amazing defensive shortstop. I take the middle road. He may not be the greatest thing at shortstop since sliced bread, but he can still make the plays. Heck, where will ESPN be without Jeter's jumping 360 throws to 1st base?
Red Sox: Statistically, Julio Lugo is a better defensive shortstop than Jeter. If you wanna go by Zone Rating, Lugo's .848 to Jeter's .821. If you wanna go by Rate, Lugo's 102 to Jeter's 93, career-wise. His defense is actually an improvement to Alex Gonzalez's Rate of 95 career-wise and .843 Zone Rating.
With the bat, Lugo's 3-year split: .284 AVG/.753 OPS, and an improvement of Gonzalez's .249/.691. Though the contract for Lugo may seem a bit pricey (4 year/36 million), at least, he's a pretty big improvement over Alex Gonzalez, eh?
Advantage: Yankees -- When you have a MVP candidate (and arguably, the AL MVP) and the team captain as your shortstop, he most likely trumps the competition, and that includes Julio Lugo.
3rd base: Alex Rodriguez vs. Mike Lowell
Yankees: Let's be brief on A-Rod. His split of .290 AVG/.915 OPS last year was considered inferior and non A-Rod like. Considering, in his MVP season of 2005, his OPS was a ridiculous 1.031, anything less would seem a letdown. Much has been made about A-Rod's playoff struggles, but since we're talking about the 19 games the Yankees/Red Sox will play in the regular season, the playoff talk will have to wait.
Putting on weight last year definitely took a toll on A-Rod's body when it came to offense and defense. A-Rod is considered a 5-tool player, considered to be (including me) the most valuable type of player. However, the extra weight he had last year took away from three of those tools: base-running ability, throwing ability and fielding ability.
A-Rod's stolen base totals has decreased from 28 in 2004 to 15 in 2006. If ESPN hasn't hammered the images of A-Rod's mis-aligned throws yet, trust me, at times, A-Rod's throws have been off-line. When it comes to defense, A-Rod increased his Zone Rating by .005, but his errors: 12 to 24 last year.
Now, reporting to camp this year, he cut out about 13 pounds of weight off his body. That should give him a small boost in his speed. He can also get to balls quicker and throws across the body should be easier to make. The jump in errors should be proved as a fluke above anything else. If A-Rod is seriously thinking about opting out, a monster season will get him even more money from a willing team. If A-Rod isn't going to opt out, the Yankees should reap the rewards of a great season, which is what I'm predicting.
Red Sox: Ah, the former Yankee farm prospect, Mike Lowell. After a terrible 2005 season and the last season he experienced in Florida, he came to the Red Sox and put up good numbers: .284 AVG/.814 OPS, a .48 jump in AVG. Also, he made good use of the Green Monster, resulting in a jump of 11 doubles and 12 home runs from last year.
His defense, as Borat would say, was "very nice". A .811 Zone Rating destroys A-Rod's .741 Zone Rating, and of course, if you make 18 less errors than the reigning MVP, your defense is going to shine in comparison. As Red Sox fans remind me quite a number of times, the Red Sox last year committed the least amount of errors as a team: 66 errors. There is no doubt in my mind that acquiring Mike Lowell in the Florida trade helped improve that defense, even though there have been talk and evidence (through the Defensive Efficiency rating) that the Red Sox did not have the best defense last year.
Advantage: Yankees -- It's a future first-ballot Hall of Famer with a couple of great years left in him vs. a pretty good 3rd baseman. Hall of Famer wins.
Catcher: Jorge Posada vs. Jason Varitek
Yankees: Let me remind you of one thing: Jorge Posada is 35 years old. 35 years old is a pretty old age for a catcher. Let me also remind you of this: Posada may possibly be the most underrated part of the Yankee dynasty in the late 90s to early 2000s.
Last year, comparing all the catchers, who had the most HRs between them? Posada and Ramon Hernandez were tied with 23. RBIs? Posada and Victor Martinez were tied for first with 93. Forgetting Joe Mauer for a second, who came in 2nd when it came to and Slugging Percentage and OPS? Posada with a .492 SLG and .867 OPS. Last but not least, who does Posada's stats compare to the best at the age of 34? Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk.
Posada has a great bat for a catcher, and he has increased in the number of runners he catches stealing (37%). Tony Pena has worked with Posada last year, and the results are easy to see. With more work with Pena, Posada's hitting numbers may decrease due to age, but his defense? Barring major injury, Posada's defense numbers should range the same.
Red Sox: Jason Varitek means an incredible amount to the pitching staff of the Red Sox. Many have pointed to the fact that the collapse of the Red Sox was triggered by Varitek's torn cartilage in his left knee. When it came to the games Varitek actually played and hit in, the numbers were mediocre at best. I have made numerous jokes about ".243 Varitek" and "I only fight with a catcher's mask on" Varitek, but his numbers were even worse than a .243. Varitek hit .238 AVG/.725 OPS. Meh at best.
Though we can put some blame on his injury, Varitek was never great at throwing runners out stealing, throwing runners out at a 22% success rate last year, and 25.7% career-wise (compared to Posada's 30.3% career-rate). However, Varitek has made a lesser amount of errors (52 errors in 1017 games, 0.051 errors per game) than Posada (69 errors in 1222 games, 0.056 errors per game) and he also has less passed balls (89 to Posada's 111). Varitek is a slightly better defensive catcher, while Posada has a better throwing arm.
Advantage: Yankees (slightly) -- The injury factor is huge. When you're a catcher, your knees are all you got. If you look at Posada's injuries last year, he was out of games later in the year because of non-knee injuries. Recovering from a bruised left elbow, a bruised finger, or even a strained left knee tendon is definitely easier than recovering from surgery to repair torn cartilage in your lifeblood as a catcher. With also the better bat, Posada takes it.
Next post, we'll look at the outfield!
Happy reading! =)