Tagged: rosh koch

Quick Notes …

I’ve been away for a while. School has been horrendous this semester and priorities are priorities. I will make a more regular return after I get back from Jamaica later this month.

Until then, I have much to say, but I’ll keep things brief for now:

1. A-Rod returns tomorrow; let’s hope it brings big changes for the overall performance of this team. This may finally be A-Rod’s chance to step up into a leadership role.

2. Jeter’s deterioration is being noted; I hope to never see him in another uniform, but he may want to consider some other fielding options. Cashman and co need to start shopping for an understudy.

3. We always do better with a healthy Jorge; come back soon.

4. What happened to our stellar pitching? C’mon guys, you can’t blame Girardi for this mess. Wang is not Joe’s fault. CC’s underperforming is not Joe’s fault. AJ and Pettitte are doing decent, but nowhere near what we need them to be doing.

5. Joba is doing precisely what he was projected to do, but c’mon, why pull him after 12 consecutive Ks? That was dumb.

6. Bullpen — WAKE UP! PLEASE! You are better than this.

7. Swisher is in a slump, but then again, who isn’t? He’s still the best offseason acquisition we’ve gotten so far. Make sure you go to http://www.voteswisher.com and put him in the ASG lineup.

8. We’re only a fraction of the way through the season, there is plenty of time to turn this around and be the Yankees team of old. We need the boys to get pumped, this has to be just as depressing to them as it is to us (aside from the whole them getting millions and us paying to watch them play thing). Maybe someone needs to charge the mound and pop Beckett in the piehole — or kick Jerry Meals in the taint for being a horrible ump.

9. Manny is being Manny. I feel bad for Dodger fans. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, the same way I did for Alex. Unfortunately, Alex didn’t come up hot for a current drug test, it was a past one that was questionably brought out by his hack-journalist stalker, S-Rob. 

10. Make sure to add me on TWITTER. There is a group of Yankee fans/bloggers who frequently share our thoughts on Yankee games through the process. Sometimes we get live reviews, sometimes TV reviews, others watch on MLB’s gameday. Join the fun! http://www.twitter.com/roshkoch

Line ’em all up

Who will fill the needed bat in the lineup when Tex lands in Washington or
back in LA and Manny stays put (Manny won’t sign until Christmas/New
Years. Boras will drag them both out as long as possible.)

What I’m
saying is that  lot of you are proposing putting out $20-25M per year (for 6-8
years, depending on the player) for either of those players when the
Yanks just sunk a $23M per year deal on Sabathia with another $15-16
being earmarked for Burnett or Sheets and most likely something in the
area of $12-14M for Pettite.

$80M off the books, $53M back on in
pitching alone (estimated). And it has been said that Cashman didn’t
want to dump the bank this year (hey, you never know what comes out
next year when Damon/Matsui come off the books!). So you pick up Bobby
at $16M (he’s worth it, check the stats. check the consistency. he’s
the only one that has it!) and you platoon Abreu/Damon/Nady with OF/DH
roles to keep everyone fresh.

Then you keep Gardner/Melky competing in CF. I noticed about Melky that
whenever Cano was doing well, offensively, so did he. Melky is the kind
of guy who needs to be competing constantly. Competing with Gardner for
that everyday CF position will push him to be as good as he can be. I
expect him to come out of the dugout with a stronger bat after the
shellacking he took by being sent to AAA.

Next year, when Damon’s
contract is up, you have Melky/Gardner to replace him AND play CF.
Abreu’s bat stays in the lineup to protect A-Rod (who feels comfortable
having Bobby around him) and to keep the consistency. I also noticed
that when Bobby was hot, the Yanks won. He helps set the tone. He’s the team pendulum.

I also like the prospect of Swisher at first. His defense is legit and
having another switchy in the lineup with Posada could drive any
pitcher out of his mind. Swisher is the kind of low pressure role
player that is needed. If the Yanks bring back Abreu (PLEASE!), they
have a quietly dangerous bottom half of the lineup.

Gardner, Abreu,
Damon can all pull extra bases out (Damon/Abreu led the team in
steals). Robby will come back a hitting machine. Nady, Arod, Swisher
will pull big HR numbers. Jeter, Abreu, and Posada will be your clutch.

It is basic baseball mathematics. Damon, Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Posada, Cano, Nady, Swisher, Cabrera/Gardner = Lethal lineup.

What do we do with Matsui and the remaining year of his contract? We can’t sit him. The Asian media will not react kindly to that. Wang provides enough of his own buzz that we don’t have to worry about losing the foreign advertisers.

Deal Matsui to a struggling West Coast team for prospects. San Diego mentioned a need for a hard hitting outfielder. Seattle is turning into Little Tokyo and would be quite brutal with Matsui added to the lineup. What about the idea of Matty and Manny patrolling the outfield for the Dodgers? That could be dangerous. Matsui could complement any of these teams with ease for the remaining year of his contract. The biggest contribution that he can offer to the Yankees would be a graceful departure being replaced by prospects to be developed.

The point is, we NEED to retain Bobby Abreu’s bat.

Oh Say Can You CC?

CC Sabathia has allegedly made the deal with the devil. For a reported $161M over the course of 7 year, Sabathia will be fronting a New York Yankees pitching rotation that for the first time is several years is stocked with youth.

Joining Chin-Ming-Wang (28) and Joba Chamberlain (23) is the 28 year old inning eating mound monster that carried the Milwaukee Brewers to a playoff berth for the first time in 26 years. Upon official announcement, and alleged contract fine tuning in the area of a no-trade clause, you can expect New York fans to be celebrating whilst rival naysayers and general drinkers of hater-ade begin their rants about money and unfairness and blah blah blah.

Before the true celebrating and planning can begin, General Manager Brian Cashman must find two more stud arms to help round out what is looking to be a hellacious starting rotation. There are rumors of deals being presented to AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe, and Sabathia’s former teammate Ben Sheets.

Lowe and Sheets could be looking at an annual range of $15-16M per year with Burnett fetching a slightly higher figure as he is in the middle of a tug-of-war with Boston and Atlanta with contract lengths looking in the 4-5 year range.

The deal for Sheets, however, could net the Yankees a sweet 2 year gamble. Sheets has a history of bad health. When he is healthy, he is prime. Having only two years to worry about gives the Bombers a chance to evaluate his performance and test the market again in two years.

Also waiting in the wings is Andy Pettitte, a perennial Yankee favorite who should be looking at Cooperstown in the not so distant future. Pettitte, 38, however feels he has another year – maybe two – left in his arm. Although he had a poor showing for his standards (and $16M salary) he still notched 14 wins to the team record. It could be argued that a few of his losses were even due to inconsistent run support.

The Yanks extended a $10M offer to Pettitte, who declined but remains optimistic that a deal can be made before the winter whirlwind dies down. Pettitte is not eager for a pay cut, but with his waning performance, fading “stuff”, and the inclusion of several high salaried young players coming in, he ought to play ball. Take $13M, it’s a compromise.

Tim Wakefield, the longest tenured Boston Red Sox pitcher is on a rolling $4M option. As long as both he and the team want him to play, he can play.

If the Yanks can snag Pettitte for one year and Sheets for two, they are free to promote internal players Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, or Phil Hughes when they are ready. They also have felxibility to test the free agent market time and again over the next few years to fill in any leftover gaps.

It’s a win-win situation.

Who would really want to face a rotation of Sabathia, Wang, Sheets, Joba, and Pettitte?

No one in their right mind, that’s who.

Curious George goes to the Hall of Fame?

He is listed in Forbes Magazine’s Top 400 Richest People in America.
He is also listed in Time Magazine’s Ten Most Notorious Presidential
Pardons. He has gone from temporary banishment, twice, to certain
permanency in professional baseball history. He is a featured character
on the award winning comedy Seinfeld and has even hosted Saturday Night
Live. As the owner of baseball’s most expensive and storied franchise,
George Steinbrenner has developed the reputation of a meddler, a mogul,
and a monarch. But will his name be immortalized in Cooperstown, New
York’s historic Hall of Fame?

To understand the man known
throughout the baseball world simply as “The Boss,” one must first
examine his upbringing, his education, and his early parlaying in the
business and entertainment world.

George Steinbrenner did not come
into this world with grace and humility. Steinbrenner entered the world
on the Fourth of July in 1930 by way of Rocky River, Ohio.
Steinbrenner’s father, Henry, was the wealthy owner of the Great Lakes
ore and grain shipping firm, Kinsman Shipping.

Steinbrenner attended Culver
Military Academy, a private boarding school in Culver, Indiana from
1944-1948. He then earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
from Williams College in 1952. fter graduating from Williams College,
Steinbrenner enlisted in the United States Air Force until his
honorable discharge in 1954 with a rank of Second Lieutenant.

After discharging from the Air
Force, Steinbrenner earned his Master’s Degree in Physical Education
from Ohio State University in 1956. During his collegiate tenure, he
served as a graduate assistant to legendary Buckeye football coach
Woody Hayes; the Buckeyes were undefeated national champions that year,
and won the Rose Bowl. Also while at Ohio State, Steinbrenner met his
wife-to-be, Elizabeth Joan Zieg, in Columbus, and married her on May
12, 1956.

Through his experiences as a
graduate assistant to the football program, Steinbrenner whet his
appetite for involvement in sports as a coach and intertwined those
desires with his family’s business savvy. Steinbrenner continued to
pursue collegiate football efforts as assistant coach for Northwestern
University during 1955-56 and as assistant coach for Purdue University
during 1956-57.

After his brief stint as assistant
coach for the two universities, Steinbrenner delved into business
matters and investments at the urging of his father, who was not keen
on his son’s dabbling in athletic management. Seinbrenner’s father was
eager to bring his son to the family business in 1957. Under
Steinbrenner’s direction, Kinsman Shipping was able to successfully
rebound from a blustering market by retooling the firm’s focus from ore
to grain. But, Steinbrenner found himself invested in a variety of
ventures that would include sports, theater, and shipping.

Against his father’s wishes,
Steinbrenner invested in a professional basketball team, the Cleveland
Pipers, in 1960. It was the American Basketball League’s Cleveland
franchise where Steinbrenner would begin his legacy of sports pioneer
by hiring John McClendon, who became the first African-American to
coach a professional basketball team. Despite Steinbrenner’s historical
defeat of yet another race barrier in the early sixties, his first
major sports endeavor would end in a flop. In 1962 the basketball
league folded, causing Steinbrenner to lose his investment. (Schapp)

After the basketball blunder,
Steinbrenner began to dabble in theatre. Steinbrenner invested in a
handful of Broadway theatricals with the Nederlander family. Although
only relatively successful with theatre, Steinbrenner also began to put
more attention into yet another sporting endeavor: horse racing.
Steinbrenner established a thoroughbred horse racing stable, Kinsman
Stable, and the Kinsman Stud Farm in Ocala, Florida.

Thankfully, Steinbrenner also had
other on-going financial endeavors. Steinbrenner made the majority of
his early fortune as chairman of the Cleveland-based firm, American
Shipbuilding Company. In the early sixties, the conglomerate ship
building giant purchased the Steinbrenner Family’s Kinsman Shipping.
However, in true Steinbrenner fashion, George acquired controlling
interest in the company that bought their family business.

What happened next would turn the
shipping tycoon into a household name. In 1973, Steinbrenner led a
group of investors to purchase the New York Yankees franchise for $10M
from the CBS media company. After purchasing the New York Yankees, the
man who would later be referred to as “The Boss” began to wreak havoc
on the world of professional baseball.

After initially promising to
remain a quiet partner, Steinbrenner quickly bought out other team
investors until he held the controlling interest in the baseball club.
S soon as he gained the controlling interest, he began to invest
himself as an active, and controlling, part of the day to day baseball
management.

Originally speaking out against
the advent of free-agency, Steinbrenner quickly embraced the idea of
investing in marquee players. Steinbrenner is quick to open his wallet,
and his mouth, in an effort to his Yankees in the spotlight. His high
ticket acquisitions have a knack for setting salary benchmarks.
Steinbrenner learned early on that big name, pre-established players
not only help the team win, but also draw more income into the fold
through ticket sales and merchandising. George Steinbrenner discovered
that baseball can be quite the lucrative business.

However, Steinbrenner would be
remiss to remain hidden behind the curtain like a modern day Wizard of
Oz. No, Steinbrenner made a name for himself both on the field and off,
often feuding with the very superstar free agents and managers that he
signed to extensive contracts.

Perhaps one of the first
controversial notes assigned to Mr. Steinbrenner’s executive career
would by his propensity to filter through team managers at a rapid
pace. During the first 23 years of ownership, Steinbrenner hired and
fired 20 different team managers. Included in the list is the hiring
and firing of legendary manager Billy Martin no less than five official
times. Also on the list is the twice fired future Hall of Fame coach
Lou Pinella, current Hall of Fame player Yogi Berra, and Dallas Green.
Most recently, Steinbrenner forced adored manager Joe Torre out of his
position by offering him an insulting 1 year contract after a
divisional series loss to the LA Angels of Anaheim in 2007.

Firing members of management would
not be his only vice. Among the first free-agent acquisitions for
Steinbrenner’s Yankees were Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter in 1974 and
Reggie Jackson in 1976. Steinbrenner’s relationship with Jackson would
prove to be tumultuous despite the back to back world championships
they won in 1977 and 1978. The constant bickering between Steinbrenner,
Jackson, and Billy Martin is the basis for ESPN’s docudrama The Bronx
is Burning. The media even dubbed this era of Yankee history as The
Bronx Zoo.

Amidst the on-field controversy,
however, was a scandal of epic proportions. In 1974, Steinbrenner was
indicted on 14 criminal counts and plead guilty to obstruction of
justice and conspiracy charges in association with the illegal
contributions he made to President Richard Nixon’s re-election
campaign. For his infraction, Steinbrenner faced his first temporary
banishment from baseball by then commissioner Bowie Kuhn for a period
of two years. 15 years later, President Ronald Reagan pardoned
Steinbrenner from his crimes in 1989 as one of his final acts in office
as president. Steinbrenner’s pardon currently ranks as #7 on Time
Magazine’s Ten Most Notorious Presidential Pardons.

In 1980, Steinbrenner signed Dave
Winfield to a record setting 10-year $23M contract. After Winfield
failed to perform to Steinbrenner’s expectations, the player and owner
began to feud with the owner making public verbal assaults against the
player. After Winfield filed a lawsuit against him, Steinbrenner paid a
small-time gambler, Howie Spira, for any “dirt” that could be found to
assist in litigation. For his connections to the illegal gambler,
Steinbrenner, for the second time in his tumultuous career was banished
from baseball on July 30, 1990 by Commissioner Fay Vincent. This time,
however, the suspension was to be for life.

The fans were so tired of his
antics that when the announcement of Steinbrenner’s ban was made over
the public address system during a game at Yankee Stadium there was a
standing ovation. Steinbrenner’s banishment lasted until 1993, when Bud
Selig reinstated “The Boss.” During this period, it was announced by
New York Daily News reporter Bill Madden that Steinbrenner had “got
religion” and would be turning over a new leaf.

During the mid to late nineties,
the antics of The Boss fell to the wayside. The animated and in your
face attitude was replaced with a business model that would take
Steinbrenner from the lifetime ban list to a potential honor as a
member of the Baseball Hall of Fame for being a Pioneering Executive.
Relying on the power of the prestige the New York Yankees, and its
large local market, Steinbrenner embraced the world of mass media.
Steinbrenner was the first baseball owner to sell exclusive television
rights to the MSG network in 1989. However, after being unhappy with
the MSG deal, Steinbrenner created the YES network in 2002 making the
New York Yankees the first sports franchise to own their own television
network.

In 1997, Steinbrenner also pushed
an endorsement deal with Adidas athletic wear that would net his
organization $93M over the course of 10 years, effectively melding the
two brands together. He even threatened lawsuit against each of the
other 29 Major League teams if they tried to block the deal. Everything
was settled out of court and the owners of the other club acquiesced to
Steinbrenner’s demands.

With such innovative ways to
generate revenue, one would be inclined to believe that the fans would
enjoy low cost tickets. With the Yankees in the midst of a dynasty type
run during the late nineties to early two thousands, ticket prices were
so in demand that the prices had to be raised. The Yankees were
dominating baseball on the field and Steinbrenner was making sure to
dominate the money machine from his penthouse suite in Yankee Stadium.

The constant sell-out crowds,
especially against long time rival Boston Red Sox, and aging 60 year
old facilities led to a Steinbrenner realization. “We need a new
stadium.” And a new stadium is precisely what The Boss would get, even
if he had to threaten to move the team to New Jersey. The city was
quick to comply and the mega-structure that would become the new home
to baseball’s most storied franchise would begin its construction in
2005, across the street from the legendary original Yankee Stadium.
Private and public financing would not even begin to pay the way.
Steinbrenner found even more alternative revenue. Recently the Yankees
have announced a partnership with Cisco Systems, Inc that adds
interactivity across the new Yankee Stadium.

Steinbrenner’s free-agency
spending frenzy can be credited with the salary boom that is still
evident among players today. Steinbrenner’s current New York Yankees
have the largest player salary budget in all of professional baseball
with a total $280M per year. In 2008 Steinbrenner inked a deal with
perennial all-star Alex Rodriguez that made him the highest paid
professional baseball in all history with a 10 year $275M contract
loaded with at least $30M in performance based incentives.

Throughout the history of free
agency, Steinbrenner has set higher and higher salary standards,
forcing his competitors to learn to adapt to his market. Be it for the
positive aspects of generating revenue or the negative (depending on
your point of view) aspects of spending it, Steinbrenner hs forever
altered the landscape of professional baseball.

George Steinbrenner’s
contributions to our culture haven’t all been negative or entertaining.
His generous, and quiet, giving has earned him the title of
philanthropist. Steinbrenner is well known, and acknowledged with high
honors, for his contributions to the Tampa area youth, schools, and
parks. Because of his generosity, the Hillsborough County Commission
and Tampa City Council have renamed Legends Field, the baseball
facility where the Yankees hold spring training sessions, to
Steinbrenner Field. Steinbrenner is also being honored as a namesake
for a new Tampa area High School to be opened in 2009. The NCAA has
award Steinbrenner, one of only ten recipients in history, with The
Flying Wedge Award for his outstanding leadership and contributions
made to the NCAA. The entrance to the new Bryson Stadium at Boshamer
Stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has also
been named for Steinbrenner and his family.

The only honor left for
Steinbrenner following his retirement, and the passing of the reigns to
his sons, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, is for his name to be immortalized
in the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is one honor, however, that “The
Boss” is not so eager to embrace. In an interview with Tom Verducci for
Sports Illustrated, Steinbrenner said:

“I don’t want to
be in the Hall of Fame. I don’t think owners should be. Maybe Connie
Mack. But not George Steinbrenner. No way. It’s for players. If they
have an owners Hall of Fame, I’ll consider it, but believe me, I don’t
want to be in the Hall of Fame. I don’t belong there.”

However, this is one call that The
Boss may not be privileged enough to make. Every two years, Cooperstown
forms a committee of from members of the media, current Hall of Fame
members, and Cooperstown executives. That committee develops a list of
10 members eligible for the recognition and votes. Steinbrenner fulfills
all requirements, despite his storied past – especially because of his
storied past.

With his philanthropic
contributions, his pioneering in revenue generation, and his flagrant
use of the free agency system, and generosity to the Hall of Fame
throughout the years, in addition to the collection of ten American
League Championships and six World Series Championships during his
tenure as commander in chief of America’s baseball team, Steinbrenner
is a lock, or should be, for inclusion in the National Baseball Hall of
Fame.

Boasting a value of $1.3B, Forbes
Magazine lists Steinbrenner is ranked as the 387th richest man in
America from a monetary standpoint. But Steinbrenner is also rich in
history. His legacy will live for generations to come as a man who
embodies both the best, and the worst, of what baseball ownership has
to offer.

Farewell Good Friend

Having traveled the world over mine eyes have fixed upon many great wonders.

I have seen the ruins of the great city of Rome. I
have walked inside the coliseum. I have stood transfixed at the
remnants of the Berlin Wall and walked through Checkpoint Charlie. The
Sistine Chapel has roofed my head on a hike through the Vatican.
Americana has unfolded at my feet through the visions of Mount
Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil’s Tower, and the Grand Canyon.

These tired feet have touched the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans, the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas. I have crossed
the borders of fifteen countries, listened to dozens of languages, and
seen forty-three different states in the greatest nation in the world.

When France won the World Cup — in Paris, my
family was camping nearby. We witnessed the shot out windows of down
town and the countrywide party that followed. I have seen sporting
events, wrestling rings, carnivals, fairs, parades, fireworks, theme
parks, and numerous parties.

Regrettably, I have only been to Yankee Stadium once.

It has never occurred to me how dearly I hold that
old building. My one game there was an almost forgettable experience. I
was young, maybe twelve years old. The Yankees were not in their prime.
They were playing the Detroit Tigers in a double-header that, as I
recall, would be split in victory. I remember a few of my uncles having
been there, my father, and my brother.

Most of my memories of the House that Ruth Built
came from the countless hours spent transfixed upon the television. In
later years it became the computer monitor for the play-by-play of
games we could not watch.

I still remember the day Jim Abbott threw his no
hitter. It was early September in 1993 and such an unlikely chance that
a man born with only one hand could even play professional baseball,
let alone pitch, could achieve one of the greatest accolades for his
position.

Who can forget the Subway Series of 2000 when the
Yankees bested the Mets? I was in my junior year of high school and I
was puffed with pride for those brave Yankee soldiers.

Bile still rises to my mouth when I think of Josh
Becket. I loathe him for being on the Marlins team in 2003. I was going
through one of the darkest times of my life. I needed my Yankees to win
that World Series. When that young ace pitched the victory, I wanted to
reach through the television and rip off his arm and beat him with it.
Now I can continue to detest his very existence as he serves the enemy.

Both joy and frustration fill me as I remember
those long and hard fought games against the Boston Red Sox. The Sox
have gone through many transformations, but none of them have been just
or holy. All of them have been a nuisance and wholly evil.

I will never forget the Red Sox killer Aaron Boone and his little piece of walk-off home run history.

No one will ever forget the cheers of the New York
fans. They had respect for every player who gave it their all. Moose,
Bernie, Posada, Tino, Abreu – all are men greatly embraced by the New
York faithful.

There is something to be said of the New York
Yankees. As an organization and as a team there is much charity. There
is much class. The Yankees know how to throw a party, honor a
dignitary, and remember old friends.

For eighty-five years, Yankee Stadium has been a
living organism. The stadium breathes. It is said that when the cheers
from the stands grow loud, the stadium rumbles. Last night was the
final rumble. For eighty-five years New York Yankee Stadium has been
the epicenter of baseball history and living legend.

I welled up with pride, and with tears, as I
relived the memories of heroes of today and yesteryear. I beamed seeing
the stars that my father looked up to at my age, and younger. I laughed
with Yogi, Whitey, an Reggie in the broadcast booth. I shed a tear for
the imagery of the honoring of Thurman Munson’s memory by his teammates
as they took the field for the national anthem, leaving his place
behind home plate empty.

I finally understood why my father has never stopped loving the Yankees team.

I will never forget that old ballpark in the Bronx.

Thank you for your service, Yankee Stadium.

Godspeed. You live in us all.