Friday, February 17, 2006

Sans Stats

Oh my do we have an eventful Sans Stats today. Not only was there a week full of ridiculousness, but we’re going to sum up the 12, er 9 ½ Questions Facing the Yankees. But first, we have some breaking news.

Randy Johnson has a great feeling about this year. "I feel is going to be a great year,” candidly remarked Johnson.

This caused some confusion in Yankees Nation. “I was under the impression that he was going to be mediocre this year. But if he’s great this year, we could win the division!” remarked a Yankees fan. “Though, I heard Curt Schilling said the same thing. Better watch out for those Red Sux!”

Another Yankees pitcher was in the news this week, as the team forbade Carl Pavano to throw off a mound for two weeks upon hearing of back troubles. Howard Rubeinstein also issued in a statement that Pavano would be sent to bed without supper and is grounded for the weekend, with no teevee.

Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday. That news should have been overshadowed by the Olympics, but alas was not. Maybe it was the ceaseless promotion every thirty seconds of our online lives that turned everyone off to it. Maybe it’s because no one gives a crap about some snowboarding ginger kid. But if one thing’s for sure, it’s because no one cares about figure skating. And when I think of figure skating, I think of two things: nominally to very attractive women prancing about the ice and flamers. And what better flamer to ridicule than Johnny Weir?

"I never felt comfortable in this building," Johnny said after dropping from second to fifth. "I didn't feel my inner peace. I didn't feel my aura. I was black inside."

And you know what? With the friggin hippies out there nowadays, he’s probably going to get away with this excuse. Didn’t feel his aura? How about admitting that you fucking blew it, Weir? Just another reason that figure skating will never be recognized as a sport here at the Sporting Brews. We like sports where you can make real excuses like, “I’m having a difficult time transitioning to the American League,” and “I can’t seem to get my mechanics in order.”

In other Olympics news, Bode Miller is a freakin’ loser. “I didn’t win, so I’m going to pass it off like I don’t really care.” Yeah, real original fucking tactic there. Bode went on to say that he could “walk away today.” Do us all a favor, Bode, and do it. It would save some valuable space on ESPN.com’s main page.

Enough about other sports. Pitchers and catchers reporting means that we should be talking baseball and only baseball. Unless, of course, there is some absurdity in the NBA, which is bound to happen. In fact, I’m quite surprised there was nothing rather huge in the NBA this week other then Phoenix’s manhandling of Houston last night.

Before we get to baseball, let’s talk Tracy McGrady. It’s been highly publicized that he recently had a daughter, and we here at the Sporting Brews congratulate him for furthering the human race. However, this should not be an excuse for poor on court performance. Not that he’s given that excuse, but one of the commentators on last night’s game was relentlessly apologizing for McGrady’s performance. Ridiculous. Since when do commentators have to step in and make excuses for players? Why would he do this? In what world does this make sense? He had a bad game. Stop blaming extraneous factors.

Over the last three weeks, we here at the Sporting Brews have covering the 2006 season for the Yankees in our 12 9 ½ Questions Facing the Yankees. They came together well individually, but now it’s time to knead the dough and see what comes out of the oven.

The implicit prediction in Question 1 was that we can’t determine whether Randy’s back will hold up, but it seems his stats are progressing along a logical path, and that he’ll continue along a similar path as 2005. Chances are, his age will hinder him from returning to dominance, though he shouldn’t be all bad barring injury. Another 17 win performance could be what we see.

Then there’s Moose, whose inconsistency has us all worried. Basically, he’s a No. 3 starter pitching in the two slot, which is never encouraging, especially for a team with lofty aspirations like the Yanks. And now he’s looking for a contract extension. Listen, Moose, you pitch like you did in 2001 and 2003, and we’ll have grounds for negotiations. Otherwise, just sit back and let Wang develop into the No. 2 starter.

Speaking of Wang, we’ve also determined that we can expect one of him, Chacon, and Wang to flourish, while the other will likely be an adequate No. 5 starter. This will come in handy when Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright inevitably hit the DL, though Sean Henn could factor into that equation as well. Hopefully, Scott Erickson will have no part in these escapades. I appreciate the team giving him a minor league contract, but let’s be serious about this. No one expects Erickson will factor in at all.

Out in the bullpen, we’ve determined that the new crew will outperform the Gordon/Sturtze/Quantrill tandem, but only if Joe utilizes better bullpen management. As a unit, the bullpen is stronger than last year, though the guys right before Mo might not be a vast improvement. Joe Kerrigan will play an integral role here, as he’ll keep these guys loose and hopefully be in Joe’s ear about getting all of them into games on a semi-regular basis. To have another Felix Rodriguez this year would be a shame, a waste, and probably detrimental in the long run.

We’ve determined that A-Rod will be A-Rod, but Sheffield is a huge question mark. His numbers have been in a steady decline, and it doesn’t really look to be improving this year. My best assessment is that if he continues this streak, Cashman will be seeking help in right field come June or July, and Sheff will be moved to DH. Sorry, Bern, but it may be the only way to get some pop back into his bat.

Jeter’s defense isn’t that bad, Johnny Damon’s isn’t that good but it’s better than Bernie’s. That’s fine and good, but the beyond the starting outfielders, there isn’t much to choose from. This is bad for Sheff, since he won’t be able to get out of right field.

A note on Sheff in right, by the way. I know this is a divided camp; some believe he really doesn’t hurt the team out there, citing his cannon arm and the fact that he doesn’t kill us. But he is aging, and I just have a feeling that he’s much better suited as a DH this season. Especially in the summer months. But I’m confident that Cash will find a solution should that become a problem.

So, when it all comes down to it, we’re looking at what should be a comparable year to last. Another 95 win season wouldn’t bother me at all…so long as Boston or Toronto don’t win 96.

Since my power went out for three hours, I’m just about ready to wrap up Sans Stats for the week. Until next week, when position players will have reported.