Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

June 2, 2004

O Captain!
by Larry Mahnken

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning
-Walt Whitman

Er, let's just hope nobody shoots Jeter in the back of the head now...

When Jeter homered in the bottom of the eighth, it was a big home run for two reasons. The first was because it was Jeter's second homer of the game, and a clear signal to everyone: "I'm back". It's nearly impossible to be hotter than Jeter's been this past week, and you can't discount it by bringing up the competition. If it was the Orioles' and Devil Rays' pitchers who were responsible for Jeter's red-hot hitting, they'd be giving up 40 runs a game. A bad pitcher might have helped him get out of this slump, but it's no illusion.

The second reason it was a big home runs, though we didn't know it at the time, was that it was the game-winner. Jeter's blast gave the Yankees a 5-run lead going into the ninth with Tom Gordon on the mound, but Gordon loaded the bases while retiring only one batter, and Rivera let the tying run get to third base before finally finishing off the Orioles.

You can't put all the blame on Gordon and Rivera for what happened last night--the Orioles' hitters did a great job, and it was entirely walks and singles--but you can put a whole lot of blame on them. If Flash and Mo had pitched well, Baltimore might have scored one or two runs, but never four, and they never would have gotten the tying run 90 feet away.

But that was yesterday, and the Yankees won (and with Boston's loss, extended their division lead to a full game). I highly doubt we're going to see Gordon and Rivera giving up huge leads like that again, especially since they and Quantrill are the only pitchers Torre trusts even a little. Karsay might be back in a couple of weeks, but it'll take a little while before he's reliable.

The Yankees need to forget about the ninth inning yesterday--it sort of makes up for Sunday, though they had a better shot at winning Sunday than Baltimore did last night. The Yankees can focus on the positives: Mussina was shaky early on, but effective overall, Quantrill was excellent in 1.2 inning of relief, and the lineup destroyed Sidney Ponson yet again. There's also Jeter's explosion, and the MVP-caliber play of Godzilla and Posada.

Frustratingly, I didn't get to see this game live, because it wasn't broadcast in the Rochester area (which usually shows the CBS 2 games on the WB). I had to listen to Sterling and Steiner, which reminded me of how much I've tuned out announcers in ballgames. Oh, sure, I still get frustrated when Jim Kaat goes into a Moneyball rant, or Michael Kay goes into play-by-play, but for the most part, my mind focuses on the images, and the crowd noise.

On radio, all you've got is the words, and while I used to love listening to Sterling and Kay on the radio as a teenager (being the only way I could follow the game, on my Crystal Radio while trudging eighty miles uphill in ten feet of snow to get to the General Store to buy an onion to wear on my belt, as was the fashion at the time), it's pretty unbearable now. I think Sterling has become too enraptured by his cheesy catch phrases, and Steiner tries to cater to his cheesiness. They also say a lot of stupid things. Like when Steiner compared Rivera to when Indiana Jones went "bang" to the guy who was "whish whish whish whish".

They also say stupid things, like "This isn't a fluke, Melvin Mora is a great hitter!". Which is amazing, because at 32, coming into this season, his career MLB Batting Average was .262 and his minor league batting average is .285. Maybe it's not a fluke, but a great hitter? Mora's hitting spectacularly, but he's gotta do it for a couple more months to negate .161 in '99, .275 in '00, .250 in '01, and .233 in '02. The most I'll say about him now is that he's a lot better than those numbers there.

* * *

I'm going to start tracking Derek Jeter's return to respectability, plus his Zone Rating (which really I have to go by whenever updates it). I'll be going with the name "Jeter Watch" until I (or you) come up with something clever.