Yankee Stadium Is No More

In case you have been asleep for the entirety of the baseball season, they played the last game ever in Yankee Stadium yesterday. Forget that this is not the “House that Ruth built” – it has already been renovated once – and go along with the hype that this is the end of an era and an historic moment that one should savor and think upon seriously. OK, are you in “pondering mode” now? Fine. So, tell me why the geniuses that make up baseball schedules couldn’t figure out that the best way to end the life of this “historic baseball venue” – this shrine to the greatness of the past, this hallowed ground of the sport, this “you fill in your own hyperbolic paean here” – would be a series between the Yankees and the Red Sox?

It is not as if they could not shoehorn another Yanks/Sox series into the schedule here. They have one scheduled in Boston for next weekend. With only a minor bit of shuffling, that series could have been in NYC last weekend. Is anyone involved with MLB anywhere near as in tune with the history of the game as are the baseball poets who write about it?

The Milwaukee Brewers fired Ned Yost about a week ago. The team has not responded with an immediate upsurge in winning proving yet again that the players on the field are far more important with regard to winning than is the manager in the dugout. Pretend for a moment that you are an ardent Brewers’ fan. It appears as if the team will go thorough a monumental gagging in September for the second year in a row and could miss the playoffs yet again. On top of that, there is at least an even money chance that the Brewers could lose Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia to free agency this winter. As a Brewers’ fan, how excited will you be to “go to the hip” and pony up a large advance chunk of change to secure Brewers’ 20-game ticket plans next year?

Speaking of baseball managers, I find it interesting that the Yankees are mathematically eliminated from the AL playoffs this year while simultaneously Joe Torre is in a good position to make it to the NL playoffs this year with the Dodgers. I sure will want to hear from the Steinbrenner Brain-Trust again on how obvious it was that Joe Torre was the albatross around the neck of the Yankees’ franchise.

Joe Torre is on the ballot for the Hall of Fame this year for consideration by the Veterans’ Committee. Go and look up his stats; remember, he was a catcher; compare those stats to catchers not named Bench or Fisk or Berra. Now tell me why he is not already in the Hall of Fame as a player – - ignoring his run of playoffs and World Series wins with the Yankees.

Two other players up for consideration by the Veterans’ Committee that could easily be worthy of the Hall of Fame are Dick “Don’t Call Me Richie” Allen, and Luis Tiant. The other seven seem to me to belong in the Hall of Very Good Players not the Hall of Fame.

Assuming the Dodgers make the playoffs, the good news for Dodgers’ fans is that Vin Scully will travel with the team to wherever the playoffs take the Dodgers. The good news for fans like me is that he will only be on the radio in LA and not on any of the television productions meaning I will not have to listen to him.

The United States team won the Ryder Cup last weekend. That was the first US win since 1999 and it was the first time since 1999 that Tiger Woods did not play in the tournament. I wonder how the members of TWAS – the Tiger Woods Adoration Society – will rationalize that one. As Ricky Ricardo was wont to say, they have some “splainin’ to do.”

I heard someone on sports radio last week say that Roger Federer had a disappointing year in 2008. I guess the fact that he lost a few tournaments and matches was so stunning to this yakker that he projected “disappointment” onto Federer. I had to go and look this up because I do not keep track of tennis info very closely at all but I think that this is a summary of Roger Federer’s “disappointing” year in 2008.

    Australian Open – - semifinalist

    French Open – - lost in finals

    Wimbledon – - Champion

    US Open – - Champion

    Olympics – - Gold Medal in doubles competition.

If that is a “disappointing season” then there cannot be very many contented men’s tennis players out there.

Speaking of men’s tennis, here is a commentary on the status of the sport from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“Meanwhile, in tennis, the Davis Cup is going on, but not even Davis cares.”

The state of Missouri has two teams in the NFL – - the Rams and the Chiefs. Both teams appear to be strong contenders for the bottom rung of the ladder in their respective conferences. So, let me offer a proposition bet here for your consideration:

    Total number of wins by Chiefs plus Rams in 2008 NFL season equals 6.5.

    Over or Under?

Finally, here are two observations about MLB relief pitchers from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“Isn’t it about time baseball named its disabled list in honor of Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood?”

“Once-trusted Marlins middle reliever Renyel Pinto also has been awful lately. A Pinto hasn’t exploded this badly since Ford Pintos had rupturing gas tanks in the early 1970s.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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Comments

  • Ed  On September 22, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Torre was a catcher only in the sense he played there more than any other one position – he only spent about 40% of his career there, and basically moved out from behind the plate at 28, and even by then he had been between the lines a couple hundred games already. He only caught a little over 100 games after that. He played mostly third and first in his later career. His position was more Hitter.

    Still, for men like Torre, the HOF should have a combined category. I don’t think he was a HOF player – very good, yes. HOF, no. I think he is a fairly good manager, in that he seems to get a team mostly together and playing well. He had the benefit of huge payrolls, makes some questionable Xs and Os decisions, and gets releivers up and down WAY too often, but deals with the press so his players don’t have to, and seems to inspire loyalty and usually good effort, not always easy nowadays. So between the two, I’d put him in. But there is no combined category. Strikes me if there was, and Gil Hodges had lived a bit longer and won another pennant or two (not impossible, given the Mets staff in the late 60s/early 70s) he’d fit that class too, and quiet the annual uproar in some areas about getting him in.

    Biggest Torre quote I recall was when he tied a record with 4 GIDP in a game (Joe was not blessed with great speed – even for a catcher). He blamed Felix Millan in front of him for going 4 for 4. Said it was all his fault.

  • Tony  On September 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    On the subject of Federer, I think he had a “disappointing year” in the same sense that Tiger Woods had his “slump” a couple years back. Sure he won 0 majors, but he finished #1 on either the money list or the player of the year rankings (could be both, could be the same thing).

    When we expect legendary, and merely get “better than everyone else”, some of us get disappointed I suppose.

  • Daryl  On September 22, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Although I agree with your point about Federer, he was Wimbledon runner-up, not champion (he lost in the final to Nadal).

  • Rob  On September 22, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Roger Federer’s year is only disappointing in the sense that now he has to share the top tier of his sport with Nadal. But I agree with SC, there are many players who would love to have that level of “dissapointment.”

    It’s a shame that tennis isn’t more popular, because for a good while Federer dominated his game the way Tiger Woods dominates golf and Michael Jordan dominated b-ball back in the day.

    If there is any karma in the world, then Joe Torre and his Dodgers makes the World Series. It would be worth it just to see Hank Steinbrennar with egg on his face.

  • Corry  On September 22, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I for one am glad that the MLB schedulers did not make a big deal over the last game in Yankee Stadium (and hope they don’t make a to-do over the first one in “Yankee Stadium” next season). The Yankee love-fest was too much for me to stomach. I just can’t buy into the Yankee lore. I did celebrate a bit, but only because the Yankees are not going to the playoffs. Now, if they had held a massive ceremony with all the past champions in the Kingdome before they tore that gem of a stadium down…

    On second thought, that would have been a pretty short ceremony.

  • Eric K.  On September 22, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Technically the Yankees aren’t eliminated yet–they could still tie the Red Sox for the wild card. I think they would have a one-game playoff to break the tie.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On September 23, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Ed:

    I agree that Joe Torre is not a “mortal lock” for the HoF, but it would not offend me if he were in there. Compare his performance over the years to Bill Mazeroski – - who is in the HoF.

    Tony/Rob:

    Agree. Federer had a great year by any other player’s standards.

    Darryl:

    Ooops… But that deviation does not change my view.

    Corry:

    Oh the stories that the walls of the Kingdome could have told…

    Eric K:

    When I calculated the Yankees ability to make the playoffs, I did not account for the fact that they could get in on the basis of a tie and a playoff game win. You are correct…

  • Ed  On September 23, 2008 at 11:07 am

    SC,

    Maz got in on his glove, which I didn’t really see, and is harder to quantify. I saw prime Torre. I think he fell short as a player, and as a manager (look at his pre-Yankee days) but would put him in if you could combine total service. But if you compare him to a Rick Ferrell, who has fewer HRs than his brother THE PITCHER, it is clear he would not be the worst HOF member. Probably not bottom 10, in fact.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On September 23, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Ed:

    Sorry to disagree but…

    Maz got in because of his ONE AT BAT in the World Series. If he pops up to shortstop in that trip to the plate, he never even gets a sniff at Cooperstown.

  • Ed  On September 24, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    well, we’ll disagree then – though that at-bat may be what pushed him over the edge. Will Joe Carter and Kirk Gibson both make it? or Bucky F***ing Dent?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On September 24, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Ed:

    Carter and Gibson have a long-shot chance. Bucky Dent has no chance whatsoever.

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