Friday, September 30, 2016

HOT & COLD


I have mixed emotions when it comes to Alan Cockrell. I try to be objective about everything this season but I change my mind constantly. The Yankees are in a very different place now then they were in May and he may deserve some of that credit. Even if so, there is something that still doesn't sit right with me. It's like I am making weekly "pro" and "con" lists as to whether or not he should stay.

It's no secret, I am not sold on this guy as our hitting coach. Back in May I wrote THE BLAME GAME because I felt like he was getting off too easy. Sure, hitters have to hit but our team was under performing similar to his track record back with the Mariners. I didn't like that Hal Steinbrenner wasn't holding him accountable too. I also didn't like how sometimes when he spoke to the media it sounded like complete word vomit. His lack of ability to express a clear thought was just more evidence to me that the guy can't coach players how to hit!

So here we are at the end of the season. The Yankees have done better when it comes to their hitting but I would hardly call them consistent. Last week the Yankees were shut out in three consecutive games and going back further six times in the past month. This is hardly a great way to stay in the playoff hunt.


I sit here and see the positives and the negatives with Cockrell this season but as I dig deeper I realize it took a lot of digging to get to the silver lining here. Chase Headley did get better after a disastrous start. He was batting .140 at the end of April and didn't have an extra base hit until May 12th. Now his .252 BA, 14 home runs and 50 RBI's are hardly worth bragging about but it is an improvement.


I would like to give him credit for the improvement in Didi Gregorius. At the beginning of the season he was batting ninth and lately we have seen him hitting clean up. It's nice to see, but that also comes in the wake of a removed Alex Rodriguez, part time Mark Teixeira and traded Carlos Beltran. Was his success being masked by the "bigger" bats, or has he simply evolved? This I am just not sure of yet.


And what about the baby bombers? Maybe Cockrell has a hard time reaching the veteran players who are so set in their ways but the young kids like Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez do respond well to his teachings. It's possible. Maybe Cockrell helped Sanchez break out and become the hitter he is now....the young kid who has performed so well that he could be the Rookie of the Year.

As we approach the off season, I have to wonder if Cockrell should continue to be the Yankees hitting coach. The inconsistency and the lack of accountability just do not sit well with me. We need a coach that is going to help mold these young players in our youth movement into good hitters. There are bright spots this season, but I just don't know how much of that credit can go to him. The Yankees have gone through three hitting coaches in the last three seasons, but should the Yankees look for number four and hope that one is the charm? I don't know. I am conflicted. It's too hard being on the fence!

Are you a Cockrell believer....or are you hot and cold like I am?




 --Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer & Editor
  Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ




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Thursday, September 29, 2016

MONTERO SLAPPED WITH A 50 GAME SUSPENSION


Quick note about a former Yankee kid.  Jesus Montero. Um... he's in trouble.

Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors writes:


"Blue Jays Triple-A first baseman Jesus Montero has been slapped with a fifty game suspension after testing positive for a banned stimulant, the league announced. Montero was once a hyped prospect, but has been trying unsuccessfully to revive his career in recent years... Of course, Montero was originally a catching prospect; now that he’s limited to first base and DH duties, the bar is raised for his bat. It’s not clear what kind of opportunity he’ll have in the future. For one thing, he’ll need to serve his ban at the start of 2017; for another, it’s not his first, as Montero also took a fifty-game hit after he was caught up in the Biogenesis scandal."

I forgot about that whole Montero-Biogenesis connection.  And to be honest, that's terrible to find out this guy's been caught now twice.


It's amazing.  Remember how great it was when Yankee fans saw Montero for the first time in pinstripes?  Not anymore, huh?

My how the "mighty" has fallen.


TEIXEIRA'S GRAND SLAM & OTHER RAMBLINGS


With Mark Teixeira’s walk-off Grand Slam last night, the Yankees are still 4 games back with 4 games to play this season. Wow.

Too bad Baltimore came back to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the 9th last night or we could have gotten to 3 back.  I was always hoping we could at least get to the final weekend 3 games back or less to make it interesting. Now, we need to win today and the Orioles lose and we will enter the final weekend with a chance. It's brutal.  Down to the wire.


Detroit got a homer from Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the 5th last night just before it started raining there. They ended up calling that game due to the rain, which is total BS. This was a crucial game, and they should have waited longer. Remember, the Yankees lost a game to the Padres after waiting about 5 hours for the rain to stop. 

The Tigers are 3 ahead of Yankees with only 4 games left, and their last 3 this weekend are against Atlanta, so if the Yankees take care of business against Baltimore this weekend, it is the Tigers that will most likely benefit.


At any rate, it was a nice ending for Tex to get a walk-off  Grand Slam against Boston with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. (Read Casey's piece "TEX! YOU DONE REAL GOOD, KID!" for more.) At least we forced Boston to back in to the AL East title and took away a little bit of joy in their clinching night.

Another observation; For Tex, that was number 15. Meanwhile, McCann still hasn’t hit that 20th homer, yet Sanchez and Didi Gregorius have.  Interesting right?  Gary Sanchez will probably win Rookie of the Year with his 20 HR in only 2 months. I mean, after all, Michael Fulmer is his only real competition.

A lot's going on in my head right now... more soon.

 

--Douglas Solomon, BYB Guest Writer





"TEX! YOU DONE REAL GOOD, KID!"


Mark Teixeira is almost out the door, but Mark Teixeira wants us to remember him!

Last night with the Yankees down 3-1 in the 9th inning, Mark came to the plate with the bases loaded and 2 outs.  Trust me when I tell you... I didn't think he would do it.  I really didn't.  But he did... and it was big.


Mark hit a Tex Message to deep center field in the bottom of the 9th.  It woke up the Yankee fan base, the Yankees themselves went nuts and in the end, the Boston Red Sox couldn't clinch in our house.

I was very happy, and so was fellow BYB writer Mike O'Hara:
It should be noted that as much as Mikey and I rip on Tex, we still know he's capable... we still know he's a decent hitter, we just think it's more frustrating than anything and want the guy to perform to the best he can.  Well... last night he did at the right moment.


At that point I went to bed, promising myself to wake up this morning and give you this update.  While most of you already know about the amazing news... we at BYB wanted it on record.  We are happy for Teixeira, very happy.  It was a gorgeous hit and it just goes to show when this guy is healthy... there is no one better.


Congrats to Mark and the New York Yankees... what a huge moment... and we live another day.

Final: Yankees 5 - Red Sox 3 




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BASEBALL: IT'S IN OUR DNA


Earlier this week, a colleague came by to visit with me in my office.  We were having a typical conversation about how we work to support our students' success.  The conversation switched from students to current events including the elections, the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez and the results of my colleague's recent DNA test.  He shared with me that although he knew he had a certain amount of African American in his soul, he was surprised by the other ingredients that were part of his makeup including Irish-American.  As we spoke, I began to drift a bit and think about my own DNA. Then, I glanced over to an 11x14 photo of Derek Jeter, which I have on one of my walls.  I thought to myself, forget my origin from a theoretical standpoint- I'm from Cooperstown and baseball is in my DNA.


I have known baseball for as long as I can remember.  As a baby, I celebrated with my grandmother as the 1969 Mets won their first World Series.  My father quickly whisked me back to reality as the Yankees battled Boston, the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers each year.  I learned the game by watching and listening to the game, every day.  Sometimes, I would record the game using my boom box...yes, cassette record so I could listen to it later.  I'd buy the long cassette tapes from Radio Shack so I could record and listen to the game later in the day.  I would even record the post game sometimes.  Announcers Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto and Bill White, shared the airwaves and moved from television to radio almost seamlessly.  Yes, the same guys called the games and took turns between the two different media.  That's when the Yankees were broadcasted on 11 Alive and 1010 wins.  Yep, baseball is clearly in my DNA, because my recall is spot on.


When I learned early Sunday morning that we lost Jose Fernandez to a freak boating accident, I immediately thought about that terrible day when we lost the Captain, Thurman Munson, to a freak plane accident.  Although Munson was a player toward the end of his career, the pain was thick and gruesome, much like we have been witnessing with the loss of this vibrant young man, Fernandez.  #15 and #16 will forever be remembered by baseball fans for their contribution to a game that was clearly a part of their DNA.


Here at BYB, we write through the lens of our own passions.  We feel what we write, whether we are defending a player or manager or ranting about them.  You see, baseball is in our DNA.  When we say we Bleeding Yankee Blue, we mean it.  As we think about the choices we make and the way we have decided to spend our time and live our lives, we have to think about why we continue to write, day after day, loss after loss, win after win.  It's baseball.  It's our constant.  It's in our DNA.



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist

Twitter: @suzieprof







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