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June 3, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

More proof that Jeter is destroying the Yankees. They name him captain, they go out and lose, apparently just to rain on his parade.

Strangely, I'm not pissed off. Normally, I would have had to destroy something to release my agressions about such a frustrating loss, but today...ehh. I think it's because I hurt my back at work today, and don't really care that much about a ballgame, or because my frustration was negated by my satisfaction at two other events today:

1) The Red Sox game was rained out. Normally, this would be a nothing event, but because it's an interleague game, it will be made up in a doubleheader tomorrow, which makes it somewhat less likely that they'll sweep the Pirates, and somewhat takes away from Boston's slight interleague schedule advantage.

2) Sammy Sosa was ejected for corking his bat today, and might be suspended for the entire Yankees series, probably completely negating Boston's slight interleague schedule advantage.

Sosa's ejection will likely be discussed ad nauseam for the next week, at least, so I might as well get my word in fairly early.

You're gonna hear a lot of mediots (*cough* Kornheiser *cough*) talking about how this "taints" the summer of '98, and it "taints" the 500 HRs. Well, it doesn't, because it's ridiculous to think that Sosa hit all those HRs because he corked his bat. First of all, he's been on this HR tear for six years, and I'm pretty sure he's broken several bats over that time. If he was corking the whole time, he'd have been caught by now. And second, corking the bat doesn't make the ball go farther, it in fact reduces the distance the ball travels by about ¾%. Which isn't really much, but it's still a reduction and not an increase. What corking the bat does do is increase a player's bat speed. Christian Ruzich over at The Cub Reporter quoted Robert Adair's book "The Physics of Baseball", so you can go over there and read about it (go over there anyway--good blog).

The other thing you're gonna hear is the question, "why would Sammy Sosa cork his bat? He doesn't need the help." Well, no, he probably doesn't, but people do all sorts of things that they don't need to do because they are still getting benefit. For example, Congress just cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans. OH! And he shows his true political colors!

Back to the topic at hand, this shouldn't damage Sammy's reputation, either. I'm not saying it won't, it just shouldn't. He cheated. Big fucking deal. Babe Ruth corked his bat, too. It's a ball game, get over it. He's still a good guy.

As for Jeter being named captain...well, it'll make Chrissy happy. I don't think it makes any difference that he's been "named" captain, because he was the leader of the team anyway. At least he's not going to be wearing that stupid C, a la John Franco. That only looks cool in hockey.