Fun with the Yankees… *snort*

Since the Knuckleballs folk all decided to attend the Yankees/Twins game yesterday, and in an effort to forget about our little “left on base” problems, I thought I would share a few fun photographic moments.

this is the view from JC & CapitalBabs' seats

JC & CapitalBabs in RF stands

CapitalBabs & her brother, Paul, at his first game!

Managed to catch a shot of KL sitting in her season seats directly across the park from us!

KL and her mom keeping score!

and my favorite picture from the day, a shot from Denard Span that came right at us to RF and I caught the ball in mid-air.

And just to narrow down all the pics I took at the game, I settled on a just a couple of great action shots.  The first slideshow is action at the plate and the second is shots on the mound.

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Scouting the Evil Empire

There’s no shortage of reading material among Twins blogdom if you want to read/discuss this weekend’s series against the F’ing Yankees from a Twins fan’s perspective (things like “do the Twins have anything to gain?” or “how do the pitching matchups look?” are covered nicely up and down the blogroll).

Once I perused a good number of the local bloggers’ views on the subject, I decided it was time to “scout the opposition”. I went looking to find out what, if anything, the writers (traditional and blogger) that follow the F’ing Yankees were saying about the upcoming series. Here’s a taste of what I found:

The New York Times, as one might expect, focused on the same old crap about how the Twins, under Gardy, have struggled to win at both the old and new Death Stars. While that shows little originality, at least the Gray Lady has noticed the Twins are coming in for the series, while the NY Daily News  and Newsday (as of this writing) have nary a single article previewing the upcoming series.

The  NY Post provides a couple of interesting bits. First, columnist Kevin Kernan calls out the Bombers for their recent failings and states, “With all the injuries, it’s time for the Yankees’ two big offensive stars to start carrying them: Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.” At first, I thought I had missed the memo where Derek Jeter was no longer a F’ing Yankee star. Then I did see where Kernan mentions, almost as an aside, that yes, Mr. Perfect, is in fact 3 for his last 29 ABs, but apparently it’s not as important for Jeter to start pulling his weight because… well… you know… he does all those intangible things so well.

The Post also has a bit of a sidebar article where the writer interviews former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi about the challenges of building a contender without the unlimited financial resources the F’ing Yankees have, using the Twins and Rays as examples. It’s complimentary, I guess, in a backhanded sort of way.

Turning to blogs (and as you would expect, there are more than a few of them out there), it appears that, like the newspapers, many of the bloggers either haven’t noticed the Twins are coming to town or simply don’t care. Some whining about being shut out by the Tigers twice (chuckle), some chest thumping about the impending move of some famous basketball player from Cleveland to the Knicks (who cares?), and a casual mention of the Twins when they talk about how tough (awwwwwwwwww) the F’ing Yankee schedule is going to be over the next couple of weeks (Twins, RedSox, Rays, @Twins).

River Ave Blues did mention that the F’ing Yankees are returning home after a road trip and that they hit better at home (wow…really? Gotta love the insight), but no mention of who they might be playing tonight when they return to the new Death Star.

Lady Loves Pinstripes at least mentions that the Twins are arriving before going through the things the F’ingYankees have to do to start winning again. But, other than misspelling (or misusing) the word “too” rather than “to” in the heading, there’s not much to hold my attention there.

The folks at Subway Squawkers do give a mention concerning Carl Pavano’s performance with the Twins (and lack thereof with the Yankees) and his Hoosiers-like pep talk to his current team mates.

There’s nothing about the upcoming Twins series at Sliding Into Home, but there are some pictures that made me smile… of the demolition of the old Death Star.

After glancing at a few more blogs, without finding anything substantial, I got bored. Perhaps it’s just that nobody really cares about who the F’ingYankees’ opponent is (except for their obsession with the RedSox).

So it sounds to me like the Twins should be able to sneak in, win three games, and sneak out of town again without anyone but the F’ing Yankees themselves even noticing! :)

On a completely unrelated topic, I just want to pass along a link to k-bro’s recent post about the “grey beards” still playing Major League Baseball. Being of advanced greyness, myself, I found it a great read. I suppose it may be less interesting to you “kids” out there! ;)

All good natured kidding aside, I really am looking forward to this series (as well as the F’ing Yankees return trip to Target Field later this month) just to get a measure of how much improved the Twins of 2010 really are. Let’s face it, while they’ve been beating up on most of their competition, those opponents haven’t exactly been among the best in the AL, so far. That fact changes starting tonight.

Now, let the beatings of the F’ing Yankees commence! – JC

Who do YOU hate?

So, since CapitalBabs and I were the only two in the GameChat during this afternoon’s Twins/Tigers game, we had to find things to talk about. One of the topics we hit on was this article, in which the WSJ presents the Nielson Co.’s analysis of something they call an Internet Algorithm, which concludes that the Cleveland Indians are the most despised Major League Baseball team. The Cleveland Indians? Seriously?

(Do you suppose that’s the same Nielson Co. that tells us all the crappiest TV shows are actually being watched by millions of people and, as a result, we keep getting more crappy TV shows to watch? I bet it is.)

Normally, I think you have to give the Wall Street Journal some respect. They’re a pretty reputable (if somewhat conservative) newspaper. But today, I’m thinking maybe they should stick to writing about business and leave sports to someone else.

Babs and I both thought the conclusions of the WSJ/Nielson Co. were, to be polite, wrong. In fact, I’d be willing to bet good money the Indians don’t even come close to being the most despised team. Actually, I’d give you pretty good odds that I can tell you exactly which team IS the most despised team without the benefit an algorithm of any kind… and that team barely cracked the top 5 in the WSJ/Nielson rankings.

But to be fair, Babs suggested we  put out a poll after the game to see what the rest of you think. I’m not going to list every team here because, let’s face it, who can really hate the Royals or even care about the Padres? But if you truly hate another team more than any of the 11 listed below, there’s a “someone else” box for you and you can let us know in the comments section who you really hate. And if you want to lie to us and say you don’t hate anybody, ok, there’s a box for that, too. – JC

P.S. – I was really tempted to add a “the ‘team’ of umpires working the Twins/Tigers series” as an option… but I didn’t want to skew the results based on one pathetic series by one particular umpiring crew. Of course, no poll asking “who I hate” is really complete without Bud Selig being on the list, but I’ve made my feelings about Bud pretty clear already, I’m sure.

Why the Yankees $uck

(WARNING: This is a long post that includes references to numbers. If you get severe headaches from reading long posts or any post with even the slightest mention of numbers, continue reading at your own risk. The author got a headache while writing this post. He takes no responsibility for your headaches.)

On Friday, I passed along a couple of recommended blog links that I found interesting and thought others might enjoy as well. One of them was Joe Posnanski’s post concerning Home Run trots.

Well Joe has a new post up on his blog and it’s another winner. You should read it.

Now.

I mean it. I intend to rant about the subject of his post and it won’t make much sense if you don’t read Joe’s post first. So go read it. Now.

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Admit it, you didn’t go read it, did you? Your loss.

If you did, then welcome back.

If you read Joe’s post regarding this Forbes.com list, you learned a couple of things. Specifically…

  • Even after accounting for revenue sharing, the Yankees bring in revenues about two or three times those of virtually every other team in baseball.
  • The line of BS that the Yankees, their fans and members of the media that buy their crapola try to sell us about how the Yankees win because they invest their revenues in their baseball operations while owners who receive revenue sharing pocket it instead of investing in their team is just that… utter fictional BS. Every team (with the possible exception of the Marlins) spends the vast majority of their revenues in their baseball operations. Some just invest very poorly.
  • The Yankees $uck.

That’s not to say every Yankee player, employee, and fan $ucks.But those who do $uck, so extreme in their $ucking that it is difficult not to color the entire group with the same brush.

And furthermore, everyone who follows the game but is not a Yankee player, fan or someone who’s livelihood is directly tied to the Yankees KNOWS the Yankees $uck.

But why? It’s one word… arrogance. F’ing Yankee arrogance.

And any time you want to really see an example of that arrogance, bring up the obscene competitive advantage the Yankees have that has directly led to the Yankees being all but guaranteed a playoff spot every. single. year.

Don’t believe me? Ask Brewers owner Mark Attanasio.

Early this season, Attanasio dared to pass along a rather obvious observation to USA Today that his team was struggling to afford an extension for Prince Fielder while the Yankees are paying their infield more than the entire Brewers’ payroll. In typical arrogant Yankees fashion, their president, Randy Levine, told a NY radio station that Attanasio was “whining.” Actually, if he had stopped there, it wouldn’t be such a prime example of Yankee arrogance. But here’s the quote:

“I’m sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about his running the Brewers. We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players. The question that should be asked is: Where has the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?”

See… this is the standard line of garbage that Yankee fans hurl back in response to even a suggestion that there might be some reason other than just an inherent right or superior organizational talent (did you know Brian Cashman is a baseball genius?) that has resulted in the Yankees being granted an automatic berth in MLB’s playoffs for most of the past two decades.

“We play within the rules”. “We give other teams millions of dollars in revenue sharing.” “Other owners pocket the money instead of using it to pay for players.”

Well guess what? If you dig a little deeper in to that Forbes.com article, they specifically mention two organizations that got the most bang for the buck in 2009. According to Forbes, for six of the past seven years, those whining Milwaukee Brewers, “have had a wins-to-player cost ratio of 110 or higher, meaning they have generated at least 10% more victories per dollar spent on players than the average team.” By the way, the team Forbes tagged as the “best in baseball” in that category (with a ratio above 120 in eight out of the past 10 seasons) was yourrrrrrrrrr Minnesota Twins!

So, apparently the Brewers (and the Twins) are putting those millions of F’ing Yankee dollars to good use.

But what about the rest of the league? Aren’t teams like the Royals pocketing those revenue sharing dollars while fielding minor league quality products and trying to pass them off as MLB teams on the field? Well yes and no.

The Royals, and a few other teams, have certainly trotted out some incredibly bad baseball players dressed in their teams’ colors over the past couple of decades.

But despite what Yankee fans (and apparently, their president) would have you believe, it’s not because they aren’t spending the money they’re taking in while the Yankees are pouring all their revenue back in to the baseball operation.

In 2009, even AFTER the F’ing Yankees ponied up a few million dollars in revenue sharing, they realized NET revenues of $441 million. They invested 94% of that back in to their operation, with the remaining 6% constituting their “profit”.

What about those miserly Royals? Well, as Posnanski mentions in his post, the Royals also invested 94% of their revenues (including their share of the revenue sharing pie) back in to their operation and showed the same 6% profit the Yankees did (though the Royals profit was less than $9 million, while the Yankees’ nearly hit the $25 million mark in profits). By the way, the whining Brewers had a nearly identical 94%/6% split. Take that, Randy Levine.

So, it appears the Royals aren’t trying to game the revenue sharing system to make vasts amounts of money. They just really suck at assembling a baseball team.

As we all know, the Twins are swimming in revenue now that Target Field has opened. In fact, Forbes estimates that the Twins will see revenues jump by $30 million dollars over 2009′s numbers. (Say… isn’t that about the same amount that the Twins’ payroll went up from 2009 to 2010? Yeah? Probably just a coincidence.)

But before any of us starts assuming this means the Twins will able to start competing for the next round of superstar free agents, keep this little fact in mind: If you took the new 2010 revenue levels and DOUBLED them, that would still be $50 million LESS than what the Yankees collected in 2009 (even after paying in their revenue sharing dollars).

The Yankee apologists are correct about one thing, though. The Yankees are following the rules. King George and his boys, Hank and Hal, have gamed the system perfectly. They pretty much just print the money they need, toss the rest of the teams what amounts to little more than “tip money”, and go on about the business of throwing obscene amounts of cash at every superstar free agent who hits the market.

They do it because it’s what MLB rules allow today. That doesn’t mean the rules shouldn’t change.

But how? How do you create a more evenly competitive environment when there is so much disparity in revenue opportunities?

A salary cap that prevents the Yankees from spending more on payroll than other teams? All that would accomplish would be putting more money in to the Steinbrenner family trust fund and it would never get the needed support of the MLB Players Association.

A salary floor that would require every team to spend something closer to what the Yankees do on players? The Yankees spent more on payroll than over half of the teams collected in TOTAL revenue (including revenue sharing dollars) in 2009. Are you going to force half the teams to operate at a net loss?

No, the issue is not payroll size. The Forbes lists demonstrate that every team (except possibly the Marlins) is reinvesting most of their revenues in to their baseball operations. Some invest in their farm systems and scouting operations and some invest in aging, incompetent free agents who are past their prime or never had a prime. (It does make you wonder, though, how Jermaine Dye hasn’t ended up back in a Royals uniform, doesn’t it?)

The only way competitive balance can be reached is with a redistribution of revenues. You simply can not have one team with two or three times the financial resources available to them than any other team has and expect competitive “fairness”.

But how to redistribute the wealth? It’s not that difficult, really. It just takes a Commissioner with some intestinal fortitude and integrity (of course, MLB has Bud Selig instead) and 29 other owners willing to stand up to the Steinbrenners (instead of just Mr. Attanasio and 28 other owners without the guts to back him up).

So here’s what Baseball Commissioner Jim Crikket would do.

I would tell the Yankee owners that the issue is in their hands. I’d give them six months to come up with a plan that assures that no team (read: the Yankees) will ever have more than twice the revenues from which to operate their franchise than any other team. If the Yankees had revenues of $350 million and every other team fell somewhere between $175 - $350 million, I believe you would have competitive balance.

I’d also tell the Yankees that if they fail to come up with a workable plan within that six month period, we’re going to announce that MLB is expanding by two teams (to finally have two balanced leagues of 16 teams). I’d tell the Steinbrenners that one of those teams would be locating in Hartford and that the other would be setting up shop in Newark or, better yet, Brooklyn.

Oh, and by the way, I’d also tell the Yankees that the owner of that new team in their backyard market would be Mark Cuban. (After his bid to buy the Cubs failed, he’s reportedly now interested in the Dodgers.)

Then I’d tell them that all local broadcast rights for every team will be going up for auction and all such fees will be paid to MLB and distributed equally among all teams. If the Yankee-owned YES network wishes to bid for the rights to Yankee games, let them do so. But they get no special deals and they pay market prices… to Major League Baseball.

Then we sit back and find out just how smart Brian Cashman really is… and how much whining Randy Levine does.