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The Yankees played their final game at the old Stadium last night, because the Yankees won't be in the World Series this year.

It's been five years since Jorge Posada hit a little roller back to Josh Beckett for the final out of the 2003 series. Five whole years the Stadium has gone without hosting a World Series game. An unimaginably long period of time in Yankees annals, surpassed only twice since they opened the place: by the heart of the Steinbrenner Era (1982 through 1995), and the CBS years (1965 through 1975.)

The very first man to bat at Yankee Stadium in a World Series game would have an excellent view of many more in his lengthy post-playing career. It was none other than Casey Stengel, who hit an inside the park homer off Bullet Joe Bush. Without actually doing the math, which is way too much work for this aging sports fan, I'm pretty sure that Yogi Berra was in uniform, as both player and manager, for more World Series games than anyone. But Casey would probably be second.

Elsewhere - the Phillies are now 1.5 ahead of the Mets for the NL East Division lead. They also have a comfy 3 game cushion on the Brewers if they need the Wild Card to fall back on. This would be a good time to gaze in awe and wonder at another relic from olden days: Jamie Moyer. Moyer, who probably only fled Seattle so he wouldn't have to listen to people calling him "The Ancient Mariner" (who stoppeth one in three), now sports a pretty nifty 15-7, 3.78 log. Moyer will be 46 years old in November. This is pretty remarkable for a fellow who doesn't throw a knuckleball, and it's not like his home field gives him an advantage.

Moyer is unlikely to be going to the Hall of Fame - while he has a pair of 20 win seasons, he has been named to exactly one All-Star Game in his career and his career ERA is 4.19. Still, Moyer has won 245 games in his career. That's pretty darn stupendous all by itself. And since turning 30, Moyer has won 213 games (while losing just 131.) There are very few pitchers in the history of the game who have won more games past the age of 30. Phil Niekro comes to mind, and Cy Young (naturally). Probably a few more, I suppose. Can't be many.

It's normally power pitchers and knuckleballers who maintain effectiveness into middle age. Moyer is neither, of course. He's something unique, and we ought to appreciate him while we still can. They're building a new Yankee Stadium, but I don't know when we'll ever see another Jamie Moyer.
22 Sept 2008: The House That Jake Built, and Other Ancient Wonders | 7 comments | Create New Account
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Petey Baseball - Monday, September 22 2008 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#192686) #
I think that the fans and observers of the Jays that envision a busy off-season are mistaken.  In nearly every instance when talking candidly about the team, Ricciardi talks about having faith in the guys "that we have here". I do not mean to sound condesending, but major changes are not in the works folks. If big money is going to be spent, its going to be spent on keeping guys here that are already here. There is no way J.P. passes on extending Burnett yet gives Derek Lowe or another free agent more than one year.  Furthermore, the big bat that everyone seems to covet will come in the form of a breakout offensive year from Alex Rios, Adam Lind,  Aaron Hill or perhaps even Travis Snider.  The ten wins the Blue Jays need to be a playoff team hinge on this, and the health of veterans like Wells and Rolen.  They most definitely do not hinge on wasting money on mid-tier free agents, (like trying to find a stop-gap shortstop in the trade or free agent market, or a mid-rotation starting pitcher). 
  I believe the lineup that you see tommorow night (with the exception of Barajas in at catcher and Aaron Hill at second) will be the lineup you see on opening day '09.  The injuries that have murked the rotation picture will be answered from within, and it is pretty obvious that the modest amount of money the Jays actually have, will be spent on the restructure of A.J. Burnett's contract.  All in all, this offseason is going to be about A.J.,  the future of Paul Godfrey and the re-signing of Cito and the coaching staff. 

John Northey - Monday, September 22 2008 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#192691) #
Petey, you are probably right. The free agent market offers little unless JP goes nuts and spends $20 mil per year on CC or Manny (neither is above the 1% likelihood of happening imo). The only real shot is to make a trade for an under-performing shortstop who might work out here (Khalil Greene for example) with McDonald the backup plan again. I do expect a long term deal to be worked out with Halladay though with a big upfront bonus to allow the Jays flexibility in 2010 and beyond (ie: use up 2009 budget to open up 2010+) as 2009 will have payroll space baring the unforeseen.
Mike Green - Monday, September 22 2008 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#192697) #
baring the unforeseen

I read this as "baring the unforeskin" the first time, which, as you can imagine, really threw me for a loop...
seeyou - Monday, September 22 2008 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#192702) #

To rebuild or not to rebuild, that seems to be the main question around these parts lately.  Will the Jays rebuild?  As long as J.P. remains GM, it should be obvious that we wonít.  This is a guy fighting for future employment in baseball, and every indication suggests heíll make a final stab at a playoff berth, even if itís contrary to the Jaysí long term interests.  Should the Jays rebuild?  Well, as someone who has watched the majority of the games this year, and has followed the typically excellent analysis on this site, Iíve got to say I really donít know.  I can honestly see this team winning 90 games next year, or winning 70.  Thereís just so many questions going into this off-season.  Just a sampling of the biggies:

1.  Will Aaron Hill sufficiently recover to be able to be a regular on the team next year?  Can he take the next step offensively, especially given that the rust that accumulates from not playing ball for almost a year?

2.  Can Dustin McGowan recover enough to make an impact next year?  Can he give us at least half a season of top-quality #2 starter-type production?

3.  Can Vernon Wells go a full season without a major injury?  If he does, will his production be closer to this 2008 or 2007?

4.  Can Alex Rios perform like heís done in the second half for a full season?

5.  Is Jesse Litsch really a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher?

6. Will our bullpen be one of the best in the league again? Specifically: Has Brandon League finally figured how to harness his wicked stuff in a consistent manner, or will he regress again?  Can Jesse Carlson continue to dominate, or will the league figure out how to hit his funky delivery?  Can B.J. stay healthy and perform well?

7.  Nagging injuries, specifically Rolenís shoulder and Overbayís hand.  Can they come back healthier next year, or are these chronic problems that will only get worse and hinder their production as time goes on?

8.  Back of the rotation: can at least two of Janssen/Purcey/Richmond/Parrish emerge as solid SP options?  Can they do it right out of the gate, or will we have to lose games as pitchers struggle before solid options emerge?

9.  Can we resign A.J.?  If we do, can he actually perform like he did this year when a contract is NOT on the line (history would cast doubt on this).  If not, can we sign a solid #2-#3 pitcher like Derek Lowe?  If we do, will he perform like he did this year, or like the last time he pitched in the AL East?

10.  Can we sign a solid SS (i.e. Furcal, Renteria), given that the cupboard is bare in the high minors right now? If not, can Scutaro and Inglett give us career years again?

11.  Can we sign a solid DH?  Will they perform (i.e. does Raul Ibanez have enough left in the tank at age 37 to justify a the 2 yr. $10-15 million heíll probably be seeking, not to mention the 1st rounder weíll have to give up to sign him as a Type-A)?

12.  The young kids: will those already up (Lind, Snider) continue their exponential progress or have the growing pains that so many young hitters have to suffer through?  Is there anyone on the farm (i.e. Arencibia/Jeroloman/Thigpen as backup C, Romero(s)/Cecil as potential 4th-5th starters) who can contribute in a positive way next year?

So, what are the answers?  I can honestly see any of these questions going either way.  Remember the Jays, who are in 4th right now and are likely to finish the year the same way, have to vault past at least two of the Rays (with a solid all-around roster filled with players growing into their primes), the Red Sox (a team whoís aging at some major positions, but still unlikely to be much worse next year) AND the Yankees (a more drastically aging team but one that is likely to add an All-Star arm (i.e.  CC) and an All-Star bat (i.e. Texieria). 

In order to do that, Iíd say at LEAST 75% of these question areas have to bounce in the Jays favour next season.  It definitely could happen.  But given the Jaysí luck the past couple of year, is that something we should bank on?  Because if it goes the other way, weíll be a fourth place team again, and our core tradeable assets (Halladay, Rios, Overbay, Wells, Rolen) will be another year older, and much less likely to get a solid return if we need to rebuild then.

Jimbag - Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 12:04 AM EDT (#192720) #
The Yankees are such an institution in baseball that it's hard to watch them and not form a very definite opinion about them. They've been just another team that the Jays had to beat in recent seasons, but (being old and decrepit), I remember the days of Reggie, Catfish, Thurman, etc. quite fondly. I never saw the earlier powerhouse teams, but I can just imagine the polarizing effect they had on ballfans all over the world.

When the Jays first started to show glimmers of post-season glory, the Yankees really weren't even in the picture anymore. I had more bad feelings towards the Royals than I ever did for the Yanks. Funny how things change :)

I watched last nights' game, because I felt I had to. It really is the end of an era. One by one, we've seen the storied ballparks - the ones our fathers told us about - disappear. There are still a couple of the grand old yards remaining, but losing Yankee Stadium is something I never would have envisioned when I was a kid.

Maybe it's just getting older and seeing your past become everyone else's past, but I have to admit I was a little choked up last night. The move from Exhibition Park to the Dome didn't have anywhere near the same effect on me...but there wasn't the same storied history there. I'll feel the same way about Fenway and Wrigley when they go, too...

John Northey - Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 08:16 AM EDT (#192723) #
Leaving the Ex was big to me and I even miss it sometimes. Kind of like an old pair of shoes - you know they were falling apart but dang, there were fully broken in and you felt comfortable in them.

At least I got to go to that final game. Seeing Bell hit that home run to win it was just perfect. I mean, what else could one ask for? Stieb starting, Bell hitting a game winning home run, Henke getting the win in extra innings. Saw it all from the bleachers and still have the special Exhibition memories book they gave out that day.

I was sad to see Tiger Stadium close - now that was a great place to watch a game at. I'll feel the same about Fenway someday in the far, far future (further in the future the better). Yankee Stadium though was remodeled and based on what I've read wasn't the same as before. The new one should've been more faithful to the original dimensions with monuments in play imo but it just wasn't going to happen.
Magpie - Tuesday, September 23 2008 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#192763) #
The new one should've been more faithful to the original dimensions with monuments in play imo but it just wasn't going to happen.

It would be worth it just to see A-Rod look at the 469 foot alley in left-centre. And then cry like a little girl.

It's worth mentioning one more time - the stadium that Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle played half their career games in was one of the toughest parks for a hitter in all of major league history. Astrodome tough, Dodger Stadium tough. Almost as awful as Petco, in fact.

Yeah, those guys were pretty good.
22 Sept 2008: The House That Jake Built, and Other Ancient Wonders | 7 comments | Create New Account
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