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. 


  1. book.s.m@att.net

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more. I get so tired of all the negative fans and writers. The Yanks are 14 games over .500 and only 3 games behind Boston in spite of being 0-8 against the Red Sox so far. As you know, if you look back at the last ten years or so of Yankees vs. Red Sox games, it’s pretty much even. I don’t expect that to change that much this year. We still have 10 games left with them. Keep up the good work.
    Steve Book

  2. tmoschetti@aol.com

    Please permit me to respectfully disagree with your B+ rating. This team has 3 reliable starters, and only because they bought two during the off-season! This team has 3 DH’s because Damon causes heart failure everytime a ball is hit in his direction, or when he does catch the ball, he still has to throw his usual 15 hopper from short left to the cut off man at the mound!

    Then there is Posada who couldn’t throw out Molina trying to steal, and had to be pulled against the Angels the day before a 4 day break! Joe was getting dizzy from watching the merry-go-round on the bases!

    Matsui, can no longer even make it on to the field to butcher fly balls.

    All can hit, none can play defense.

    Management continues to tell us not to believe what we see when Joba pitches. In 17 starts he’s won 4 times, and pitched 87 innings, or a fraction over 5 per game. He is more Ian Kennedylike than Beckettlike! No matter how awful he pitches, he tells how good he was!

    Girardi told us that Cervelli and Pena did not deserve to be sent down. Then why were they sent down to keep Cody Ransom with his .170 BA, and iron glove, and Molina who is a good defensive catcher, but so is Cervelli who is much more athletic, and obviously has more upside potential.

    And finally, these guys are 2-12 vs Boston and the Angels, two likely playoff teams.

  3. garyugolotti@yahoo.com

    I agree with everything tmoschetti wrote,i also think this team is only a few tweeks from being a serious contender.The fifth starter and the pen are the biggest problem right now,with joba the fourth starter as a close third problem.Maybe the yanks can solve some of their problems by catching lightning in a bottle with a callup,or a trade for a quality arm.None of the contending are without weakness,maybe the yanks can camoflage some of their shortcomings with more consistent offense and better defense.

  4. shearno@yahoo.com


    I think this glass half-full approach at the Yankees season is quite appropriate. I personally think a B+ grade is a little high. However, I do agree with your justification of your grade. I just have a tough time giving them an accolade such as that, regardless of injury or circumstance, when they have a goose egg in the win column after 8 games with the Red Sox. Maybe I do wear my heart on my sleeve, however if they even win 3 of those games we are tied at the All-Star break. You just CANNOT lose every series to your division rival!!! For the record, I will be one of those fans who changes his tune should they defeat them when it counts (a little foreshadowing).

    Most important though…Who are we??? What gives us the right to criticize a professional athlete. We are talking about a sport that requires you to hit a small round ball traveling upwards of 90 mph. with a rounded wooden bat. Furthermore, the players that can do this 4 out of ten times are SUPERSTARS!!! You are right Chris, how can we grade these guys??? We are not qualified to be teachers. I think the great Mr. Turkentine from the original (and only in my opinion) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory put it best: “Of course you don’t know. You don’t know because only I know. If you knew and I didn’t know, then you’d be teaching me instead of me teaching you – and for a student to be teaching his teacher is presumptuous and rude. Do I make myself clear?”

  5. Chris Shearn

    Thank you for all of the comments – Should they be better yes – would you feel better if they beat the red sox a couple of times – of course – could you be disappointed in them – absolutely – you’re entitled to your own opinion – I however am not saying shoulda, woulda, coulda. I am content with their position and confident they will improve it in the second half.

  6. Chris Shearn

    Shearno that is the only Willy Wonka by the way – Tim Burton should be flogged by Gene Wilder for remaking it

  7. mega0862@aol.com

    i couldnt agree with Moschetti more. Lets start by saying I cant understand for the life of me why the yankees refuse to have young, fresh, enthusiatic players i understand Monlina is smart defensive veteran catcher but Cervelli’s defense looked just as good if not better and had a cannon of an arm. He can crawl faster than Molina runs and the staff loved pitching to him he brought lots of energy to the team. And Monlina doesnt hit any better than he does. Pena, well lets start with Ransom who is an absolute liaibility in the field and oh he is still on the interstate average wise. He is a god damn joke. Pena is faster great for pinch run spots and was great defensively. He has a quicker first step and more range then dare i say the captian.. Not to mention his batting average was at least like 80 points if not more higher than Ransom. But no no lets send him down and keep Cody. GREAT MOVE! We have only 3 solid starters. wang is prolly done for the season and who knows if he’ll ever be the same. And Joba.. LOL he hasnt been half what the organization and fans expected not to mention his attitude seems horrible i understand you have to learn how to pitch in the majors but he has been so bad. he has what 18 starts and still doesnt qalifly for the league leaders in ERA due to lack of innings pitched. lol what a joke. Can we package him and Cano for Halladay PLEASE! Cano is a very bad clutch hitter he is batting .250 with the bases loaded. i believe that is due to his lack of patince and free swinging tendencies. I doubt he will ever be the RBI man we all hope. Joe has to stop putting him in the 5 hole behind Alex i have seen enough double plays. Yes he is a good hitter (with no one on) but lets remember pitching wins titles and seeing as we only really have 3 starters Hallday would just be amazing. Damon has become a diaster in the outfield when a lazy can of corn is hit his way im not sure who is more nervous he is gonna make the catch more him or the fans. it looks like he is always fighting the sun even in night games.. LOL. Now the sox sweeping 8 from us that is just being completely out play by you bitter rival. WOW way to go. Even if we would have just split those 4-4 we would have a comfortable 5 game lead and be 22 over .500. So my grade is a C+ with all the talent on this roster we shouldn’t be chasing anyone. We should be the ones being chased.

    P.S. If Joe plays Ransom one more time im gonna pucnh him through my TV screen, then proceed to bang my head aganist the wall… LOL

  8. rp10950

    Following Baseball for over 50 years, playing it in College,
    etc. has given me some insights:
    First: Lets start at the top:
    The Yankees are a ruderless ship, they have no clear cut voice or leadership; The Steinbrenner boys have no idea how to run a Franchise: They leave it up to Cashman, who by now everyone must know is totally inept..
    The Manager is in way over his head, he makes very bad decisions and refuses to see or evaluate talent.
    He has no idea how to use a Bullpen, how to use young players.
    He sticks with Cody Ransom, Melky Cabrera, when in truth he really should be using Pena, Cervelli, and Austin Jackson by now.
    Posada is too old to be effective at catcher and can’t call a game well.
    Cano is a talent that may never blossom because of his attitude. (Trade bait)
    Jeter is fine for a few more years
    A-Rod is coming around slowly but may have his best days behind him
    Texeira is fine, He will get better
    Cody Ransom: should be released
    Melky Cabrera will never be more than a fourth or fifth fielder (Trade bait)
    Damon: Good hustler, good hitter, should be brought back next year at a lower salary.
    Gardner: Exciting, Fast, 50/50 future potential, he needs more time.
    Matsui: Fine but streaky hitter, can’t run/ This should be his last year
    Swisher: Not reliable enough as a hitter or a fielder
    (Trade bait)
    Pettite: Fine Warrior, but finished as a pitcher.
    Chamberlain: Something’s wrong with his head..He has potential,but not the stuff to be really great (Trade Bait) or BullPen
    Tomko: Released
    Huges: Start developing him ASAP as a starter, before it’s too late.
    They are too complacent, as if waiting for the Wild Card and being satisfied with it…
    The Rays could come up from nowhere and snatch their season away.

  9. letsgoyankees

    Hey Chris. I would give the team the exact same grade. I hope they end up in first, but honestly I think the Red Sox are better; I think getting Halladay would put them up a hair, but a lesser starter would get them about even. Too tell you the truth, as long as they make the playoffs I honestly don’t care how they do against LA or Boston. The reason we want to beat them is to win enough games to make the playoffs; if they win enough games anyway, it’s annoying but it doesn’t matter. I don’t buy the confidence thing (“They need to have the confidence to beat these teams!”) because once you reach the playoffs, as it’s been proved countless times before, anything could happen; off the top of my head I could think of the Bombers sweeping Cleveland in the regular season than beating them in the playoffs, but there are others. Otherwise, the only thing that not beating them does is make the Red Sox/Angels the favorites in whatever postseason series we play them in, and who cares about that?

  10. karinct

    Chris, I think you grade on a curve! 🙂 I am okay with that. It matters less how good you are than how you stack up with the competition. The Yankees would not be 14 games over .500 if other teams didn’t have injuries and issues themselves. However, after enduring the debacle in LA. . .got to give them a B-. (JJD)!!

    I am still glass half full. By the time of the next Boston series, this will be a very different team from the one that went 0-8. Having said that. . . “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” 73 games is not a lot of games, when. . . well, see all of the above posts! There are issues. I don’t want a repeat of last year. . . . you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir! (I can’t stop!!!)

    p.s. – shearno – Outstanding use of a Mr. Turkentine quote!!

  11. john.athan@hotmail.com

    The yankees are really playing good baseball ever since it was May Alex rodriguez hit a big fantastic walk off- Home Run Then It was Johnny damon hit a home Run Then what i Like that Joe giradi is managing the yankees well than you Chris shearean for letting me do this

  12. john.athan@hotmail.com

    MY YANKEES ARE GOING TO PLAY AT yankee staduim with all those good players but I do think that yankees are going to the post season because they are playing some great baseball and the way that there swing those bats you no that thre going to the playoffs and to the post season and probably play the Phillies But chris they are going to win there 27 championchips and be the best team on Major Leage Baseball

  13. john.athan@hotmail.com

    I really cant wait to watch you On Yankees Batting practice because Your Good and you are smart to the show on the Yesnetwork.com and the Yesnetwork

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