July 2009

First “Off the Wall” Podcast

In case you haven’t come across it yet, Joe Auriemma (The Godfather of YESNetwork.com) and I, hosted our first foray into the podcastophere (pretty sure I just made that word up). You can call in with your questions or comments (646-487-3668) and we will use the best every week, but I was thinking earlier this morning — there’s no place for you to vent back at us.

We have to be fair. I have to admit — I was hard on you insatiable Yankees fans in my monologue. So every week, if you want to fire back at us for that — so be it — I will put a blog up so you can empty all your frustrations on me. l can take it just as well as I can dish it out. If you want to get on my case — just leave a comment underneath here and I will get back to you.

We will have a brand new podcast up next Thursday and we are working towards doing this more than once a week. Also, Joe and I will be visiting three Minor League parks in 24 hours starting 7 p.m. this Monday in Trenton, followed by 11 a.m. the following day in Staten Island and wrapping up our trip in Scranton Tuesday at 7 p.m. Single-A, Double-A and Triple A in one day. We are documenting the entire trip and it should be a lot of fun to watch, and we will be discussing said trip in our podcast next week.

Yankees mid-term grade

yankees_250_071309.jpgI was on recently with Lori Rubinson of WFAN and she asked me to give my mid-season grade for the Yankees season. I hate grading professional athletes and here is why. Usually the teacher is superior to the student and the teacher is the one who hands out the grades. I know this is how reporters and talk show hosts gauge a team at certain points of the season, but I feel uncomfortable “grading” professional athletes.

Well I did it, because I was asked to do so, and I gave the Yankees an overall B+. This is an entire grade higher than Ralphie received in A Christmas Story for his theme on wanting a Red Ryder BB gun. Lori disagreed with my assessment after I was off the air, which is fine, but I don’t like not being able to defend my grade.

So here we go, your honors, ladies and gentleman of the jury, honored guests, here is my defense of the B+.

Think about this, the Yankees are 14 games over .500, they are just three games behind the Red Sox in the American League East. They lead the Wild Card by two-and-a-half games over the Rangers. I know they have gone into spells where the pitching and hitting both go into the tank, but guess what, that’s baseball. It’s a long season. I think its 162 games the last time I checked. Baseball is cyclical. If you have ever played the game you would understand that sometimes the ball looks like a pebble and your trying to hit it with a toothpick, and sometimes it looks like a beach ball and you have that big fat red whiffleball bat. Pitchers make mistakes too and professional hitters take advantage of mistakes

Bottom line — the Yankees are 14 games over .500, leading the Wild Card, and just three games back in the division. Last year at this time — they were six games over .500 and trailing the Wild Card by five games. Which team would you rather have?

Neither, I know, because every year Yankees fans want a first-place team, 25 games over .500 and bludgeoning the Red Sox every time they play them. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s unrealistic though. The Red Sox have caught up and have a great team and a great system. Deal with it. It’s a reality.

I was watching the Sunday Conversation with Lou Piniella and he said something about Chicago that rings true with New York. He said if the Cubs win three in a row they’re going to the World Series, if they lose three in a row they’re a last-place team. Well, the same thing could be said about the Yankees. About a week-and-a-half ago, people were calling for Joe Girardi’s head. Then the Yankees won nine of their next 11 and the chirping stopped. I’m down in South Carolina on vacation and I can’t hear the callers today, but I could only imagine what they are saying after getting swept by the Angels. JJD and BJD much? (JJD — Janet Jackson Disease or “What have you done for me lately disease.” BJD — Billy Joel Disease or “I go to extremes disease.”)

Look at a schedule…please. There are 73 games left, 73. That’s almost an entire NBA or NHL season. What? I’m gonna worry? GLASS HALF FULL PEOPLE. I said this last year and I’ll say it again. If you don’t like rooting for a team that consistently runs out players that are fit to win championships ever season, there’s always Pittsburgh, Kansas City, or Washington. Pledge your allegiance to teams and owners who put money into a new yacht instead of putting money into their team.

Now, I couldn’t possibly give the Bombers an “A,” after getting swept away by the Red Sox in the first half, but to be in the position they are in right now at the break is “B” material to me. Could they have been better? Absolutely! Big picture, people. There are 73 games left — 14 games over .500 — leading the Wild Card — in striking distance of the Red Sox.

If I can’t calm you down with my glass half-full optimism, seek professional help.

By the way if you think this team doesn’t drive me crazy sometimes you are 100 percent wrong. They do. I’ve been around them though. They expect to win every time they take the field, but even THEY know that isn’t possible.