Tag Archives: c.c. sabathia

Selig Should Strip Braun

20111213-162522.jpg

If Ryan Braun did in fact use performing enhancing drugs this season en route to his NL MVP then Major League Baseball should strip him of it.

No questions asked, no need for explanations, it’s all in black and white.

ESPN’s Outside The Lines reported this weekend that Braun tested positive for use of PHD’s after a routine test before the beginning of the playoffs. He was made aware of his positive test before the announcement was made of his win of the NL MVP a few weeks ago. Braun is appealing his suspension in hopes of having it overturned.

If it isn’t, then Bud Selig should strip Braun of his MVP award immediately and reward it to second place finisher Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Stripping Braun of the MVP would send a message to the entire league that this is how serious cheating is taken in MLB.

If Braun cheated en route to his MVP how could he possibly keep it? Braun hit over .330 with 33 home runs 112 RBI and 30 steals, but he did so with the aid of PHD’s. His numbers are therefore tainted and he is not worthy of being named MVP.

This would be a huge blow to baseball, Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers who are going through a resurrection.

The Brewers have not been a competitive franchise since they moved to the National League. After the acquisition of C.C. Sabathia in 2008 an their first playoff appearance since 1982 the Brewers became a fixture in the NL Central race culminating with this year’s run to the NLCS and Braun’s MVP award.

Even with the impending departure of first baseman Prince Fielder, Braun was still the face of the franchise and the team’s most popular player. Braun is a baby-faced, all around talent that was poised for superstardom and lifting the Brewers to new heights and give baseball reason to move past it’s steroid-filled past.

Braun was one of the new generation of young guns who had all of the tools of a power-hitting outfielder without the aid of PHD’s. He was the model of what the MLB wanted it’s new generation to be like… now after this positive test what do they do?

The best thing to do is take his MVP award away from him. Selig has to remove Braun’s name from the award because in this era steroids and PHD’s are no longer the thing to do amongst players. Braun has to be made poster-child for this new era. It would be the ultimate form of embarrassment and send the strongest message to your players and to fans that this is not tolerated anymore.

The NFL should’ve done this year ago when Shawne Merriman had a positive steroid test and was still voted defensive player of the year. The MLB can and should be different. There should not be awards given to cheaters who are caught , they have to be punished and it has to start with Ryan Braun.

I like Braun as a player, I think he will rebound from this incident and put up similar numbers when he is clean. However, right now he isn’t. He cheated to win the MVP award in the National League and he shouldn’t be allowed to keep it.

Just when you though the steroid era was over in baseball here it comes again. This time Bud Selig should act accordingly and strip Ryan Braun.


Big Z’s Last Tantrum

20110813-051435.jpg

Zambrano's last tantrum might've been the last draw.

Carlos Zambrano needs to go away… now!!

I wrote about Bryce Harper’s attitude issues yesterday but he has an excuse, he’s 18. He has time to grow out of his issues and become a man, what’s Zambrano’s excuse?

Last night he allowed 5 home runs and was so infuriated that he threw at Chipper Jones twice and was ejected. After being tossed he went down to his locker, cleaned it out and went home. Apparently he’s considering retirement… if I were the Cubs I’d let him.

Here’s how ridiculous Zambrano has become; do you know who else gave up 5 home runs and had a bad night last night? C.C. Sabathia. Did he throw a tantrum? No. Did he lash out at people? No. Did he clean out his locker and embarrass the Yankees with his actions? No.

He took his beating like a man, sat down and will work through his issues. Zambrano threw a hissy fit (again) and made himself look like a fool (again).

Zambrano and his child like behavior has pretty much run its course with everyone involved within the organization. He has proven that he can’t behave like a professional baseball player and can’t handle the rigors of an entire baseball season as a marquee pitcher.

The Cubs have given him chance after chance and the only option left is to send him home for good.

Rick Sutcliffe of Baseball Tonight was asked if Zambrano’s teammates should accept him back onto the team and he said no.

I agree with him 100%. Zambrano is not a good fit for this or any other major league team right now. The Cubs, who are in the midst of another poor season, do not need Zambrano to infect the wonderful young talent that is blossoming right now in Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. Castro and Barney are going to be good pieces to build around and do not need a baby like Zambrano to influence their decisions.

The biggest thing for Zambrano is that he needs to walk away for awhile to help himself. He needs anger management, self-reflection, something.

The sad thing is that Z is a hell of a pitcher who has thrown a no-hitter, won 20 games and has made All-Star teams. In 2008 I had an argument with my buddy Scully about how the Yankees should’ve sent Alex Rodriguez to the Cubs for Aremis Ramirez and Zambrano because at the time I felt the Cubs were putting so much into Kerry Wood and Mark Prior that they weren’t noticing that Zambrano was their best pitcher.

I knew it, the Cubs eventually did, but Zambrano has driven all of us to the point that we just don’t care anymore.

That’s why he’s got to walk away now and salvage his career. Zambrano ha a lot left in his tank and can be a good starter for some team down the road.

Just not the Cubs. That ship officially sailed last night when Zambrano tried to hurt Chipper Jones and hurt his image, the Cubs, Mike Quade and anyone associated within the organization.

I’m sorry Big Z but you gotta go. You’ve been hurting yourself, now you’re trying to hurt others.

No organization, not even one with the patience like the Cubs have been showing can put up with this any longer.


Change The All-Star Format

C.C. Sabathia's 11 wins are staying home during the midsummer classic.

For years we’ve all said that the All-Star system is flawed. We’ve said that it needs fine tuning so that the right guys make the team instead of favorites or veterans that aren’t worthy of the honor.

Well for the first time in my life I actually agree with the critics, the All-Star system needs to be fixed and fixed now.

However, not in the way that you think.

You see the criticism from the powers that be are that the All-Star game is a popularity contest and that the fans make the wrong decisions sometimes… um, the All-Star Game is for the fans so of course it’s a popularity contest.

As fans we want to see a combination of the best players in the game as well as our favorites play in our game. Does Derek Jeter deserve to be an All-Star? Probably not from a numbers standpoint, but his image and mark on the game have made him a fan favorite so of course he should be there.

Is José Bautista the game’s best player? No, but the fans love him hence the reason why he was the number one vote getter.

Is Josh Hamilton an All-Star even though he missed half of the season? No, but fans remember the home run derby from years ago so of course they want to see him in the game and as often as possible.

It’s the fans game, let them vote for whoever they want to play the game and enjoy the action. Here’s my problem with the process of selecting the All-Stars; the league rule stating that there has to be an All-Star from each team (if that is a little league, everyone’s a happy camper rule then I don’t know what is), the fact that players and managers select the rest of the team outside of the starting 9, and the fact that they pick the pitchers, not the fans.

McCutchen was snubbed even though he has the Pirates thinking playoffs for the first time in years.

So let me get this straight, fans can pick every starter instead of the starting pitcher, or any pitcher for that matter and players pick the rest of the team based on their personal opinions (which is sometimes delegated by picking favorites themselves. Granted that’s what the fans do… BUT THEY’RE THE FANS!)? C’mon Son!

When I look at this All-Star team and the reserves and pitchers for each team It’s beyond silly.

Jose Valverde? A closer with a 3.09 ERA and 19 walks?

Howie Kendrick with 8 home runs and 26 RBI?

Matt Wieters at .261 with 7 home runs?

David Price at 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA?

Tim Lincecum at 6-6? Chipper Jones at .257?

So the players felt that Hunter Pence was a better option on last place Houston than Andrew McCutcheon who is leading a resurgence of baseball in Pittsburgh with the Pirates being only 3 games out of first at the beginning of Sunday.

So Michael Young, a powerless DH, was a better option than Jhonny Peralta who has belted more home runs has a higher slugging percentage and plays every day?

Ryan Vogelsong has had a better “Full Year” than Ian Kennedy (who by the way plays for Arizona, where the All-Star game is.)?

And the biggest one, Felix Hernandez at 8-7 with a 3.35 ERA, Price, Royals reliever Aaron Chow (who honestly has had a great year and relievers that aren’t closers need more pub in this game in my opinion) and C.J. Wilson all are having better years that AL wins leader C.C. Sabathia who is also 6th in strikeouts, 3rd in innings pitched and has been arguably the best pitcher in the AL in the last month not named Justin Verlander?

Yes, I am a Yankees fan so the Sabathia snub hurt more than any of the others. However, anyone… AND I MEAN ANYONE that has watched C.C. understands how important he is to the Yankees and knows his place among baseball’s elite pitchers.

He has only one start this year where he hasn’t gone into the seventh inning, one start with less than 100 pitches, a soon to be sub 3 ERA and a WHIP that borders the 1.1-1.2 range. In other words to the naked eye or on the stat sheet C.C. delivers.

He is one of baseball’s top 5 pitchers and the only pitcher in the league right now that has a chance to eclipse the 300 win plateau (if he doesn’t breakdown from his weight). Every time he goes on the mound he is a sure thing, and he’s not on the All-Star team?

Thanks to MLB's rule that every team gets an All-Star, Matt Wieters is one.

The worst is still this notion that every team needs an All-Star. The Twins are cool, but come on Michael Cuddyer over Paul Konerko? Wieters over Brennan Boesch? Heath Bell over Mike Morse? Those guys are having decent years (not Wieters, uh-uh, sorry) but there are other guys that are deserving of those spots due to their performance on the field not just because their team needs a star.

My advice is let the fans do all of the voting, pitchers included. Let them pick the starters, relievers and bench guys and if a player drops out due to injury or another reason then let the league pick the replacements.

And get rid of this stupid every team gets an All-Star rule (for that matter stop letting this game decide who gets home field advantage in the World Series, highly unnecessary.)

This is the fans game and whoever they want to see we should let them see. It’s worked for this long with the starters so why not go the extra mile and let them pick the whole damn team?

Because after today it’s clear the players or managers aren’t too good at it.


Are The Yankees The Next Empire To Fall

Was the Soriano deal a sign of a possible downturn for the New York Yankees?

Did you notice a trend that has happened in sports in the last ten years?

The death of the traditional power.

Think about this for a second; how many traditional sports powers took hits to their pride and luster in the last 10-15 years?

In college football Notre Dame still thinks that they will wake up the echoes in a matter if time and Michigan still considers itself to be the gold standard even when no when, I mean no one, wanted its head coaching job after the ousting of Rich Rod. Throw in Miami and Florida State and four of the games premier programs are in the middle of the pack as far as relevance .

In college basketball its Kentucky who still prides itself on being an elite program but hasn’t made a final four since Tubby Smith’s first year. Arizona, though they have an excuse, and recently UCLA, which is stunning especially after the run they had at the beginning of Ben Howland’s regime, have all fallen to the middle of the pack in recent years.

In hockey its been the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. Did you know once upon a time in the 90’s that the Habs had the same number of championships (24) as the Yankees? Ever since their last cup in 1993 the franchise has been plagued by unfortunate injuries (the Saku Koivu cancer cancer scare), lackluster performances (have they had a player in the top 20 in scoring in the last 20 years?), and scandal (hi Kostitsyn twins). Oh yeah don’t forget the whole Patrick Roy asking out of Montreal fiasco that has probably led to a curse on the team. Not that we’re counting or anything.

Dont get me started on the Maple Leafs. They havent won a title in over 40 years and in the last 10 they’ve resembled the Toronto Raptors more than the franchise that has the second most cups (13) to the Habs.

(Side note: Shouldn’t Gary Bettman step in and help fix this team. The NHL needs to Leafs to be good just like the NBA needs the Lakers, or baseball needs the Dodgers to be important. This is one of the leagues flagship franchises in the country’s capital. The hockey hall of fame is there for goodness sakes. The fact that the Leafs haven’t made the playoffs in seven years and haven’t been relevant since their last division title in 2000 is a little more concerning than the fledgling Phoenix Coyotes, who should still be in Winnipeg. Yep, Bettman is back on my bad side.)

There haven't been many good times in Toronto for awhile.

In the NFL its been the Cowboys, Redskins and Raiders. All of these franchises have slid to mediocrity due in part to their ridiculous owners and their bad habits of spending money while letting the football side of things slip through their grasp.

The Redskins haven’t won a division title since their Super Bowl run in 1991 and have been a running joke since Daniel Snyder took over. They’ve made the playoffs three times with only one win to show for it. However, what’s defined them is their penchant for over paying players well past their prime. Bruce smith, Deion Sanders, Mark Brunell, Jason Taylor, and that’s for starters. Throw in their horrible coaching history lately (hi Jim Zorn, and Steve Spurring) and you wonder why fans want Dan Snyder’s head on a stake a la MacBETH.

For the Cowboys its a combination of Jerry Jones overbearing style and the lack of productivity on the field that has hindered them.

In the 90’s Dallas owned football with three titles and a high-powered offense anchored by three hall-of-farmers. Then after their last Super Bowl win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl 30, the team hasn’t seen a playoff victory.

They’be been plagued by bad QB play, poor decision making by Jones, which includes firing Bill Parcells and trading two number one picks for Roy Williams (I’m sure the Lions still can’t believe that one) and not getting much from heralded draft picks (Mike Jenkins that’s you). Be honest, what do you know about the Cowboys now, a franchise with a rich history from Roger Staubach to Troy Amman, or their ridiculously expensive stadium with a 80 yard flatscreen in the middle of it?

As far as the Raiders go… let’s put it like this; they haven’t been over .500 since getting smoked by the Bucs in Super Bowl 37 over 8 years ago. If you want to know why then take a look at Hue Jackson’s press conference to introduce him as the team’s new coach this past week. Owner Al Davis, looking as decrepit as ever, sat at the table and ranted about Tom Cable’s personal life, comparisons of Jason Campbell to Cam Newton, and seemed more out of his mind than normal.

This is the guy who blew up Lane Kiffin at a press conference years ago, fined Cable for not executing a game plan he wrote out, drafted JaMarcus Russell, and has made so many horrible personnel decisions that no coach or player should come near Oakland. Poor Hue Jackson, I don’t think he knows what he’s getting into.

Before the Boston Celtics climbed back into contention in the NBA they had grown into a punch line. Gone were the days of Larry Bird and Kevin McHale and in were Dino Radja and Antoine Walker.

Their most memorable moment during that time came during a Rick Pitino news conference after another loss where he told the media and essentially the fans to get over themselves and that “Larry Bird ain’t walking through that door.” Right he was, though fans would’ve rather had a near 50 Bird than Ron Mercer.

So in essence every sport has seen its top franchise go through the motions and fall from grace in a haze of greed, nativity, or ignorance. Well everyone except baseball.

In the last 15 years the top tier teams in the sport have stayed on top without much static.

Sure past champions like Kansas City, Toronto and Oakland have seen their share of bad times, but their history is nothing like the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers.

(You’re probably wondering what about the Cubs? Flagship franchise? Yes. However, they haven’t won a damn thing in 109 years so they don’t count. Sorry Cubs fans.)

These were the bad times in Boston.

Baseball has largely protected its top franchises by not introducing a salary cap, which allows the Braves, Phillies and Angels to out spend every other team in the league and stay where they are.Sure these teams haven’t made the playoffs every year, but they always bounce back from lackluster seasons.

The Red Sox will be favorites this year after finishing third in the AL East last year in part to overspending for Carl Crawford and giving away the farm for Adrian Gonzalez.

It’s hard for any of these teams fall off of their perch and fall victim to the same plague that’s infiltrated each league over the past 15 years. Or is it?

Last week the New York Yankees announced the signing of former Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano to be the 8th inning setup man for closer Mariano Rivera and eventually replace him.

No big deal, just the Yankees spending their endless funds to fix a problem like not having an eighth inning stopper.

However, GM Brian Cashman didn’t want to spend the money on Soriano and wanted to keep either Joba Chamberlain in the setup role or David Robertson. Owner Hal Steinbrenner overruled Cashman and handled the negotiations himself while Cashman sat in the corner and pouted.

Both sides say everything is fine but I’m not buying it.

Cashman is the game’s best GM and built a dynasty in the 90’s while the young Steinbrenners sat back and watched from The Boss’s luxury box. Cashman knows what he’s doing and what to do to keep the Yankees successful.

What Steinbrenner did was undermine Cashman and used his power to make a decision that may or may not work and also costs the Yankees a first round draft pick. That’s the kind of decision you would see Al Davis make. Uh oh.

Ok so that’s one little thing so what? Well, look at the Yankees future for a second if you will; the Yankees have been able to stay competitive after their dynasty years in the late 90’s and 2000 thanks to their huge budget and the ability to get whoever they want for any price. While they haven’t been winning championships at the rate that they would like, the Yankees are still the class of the AL East and remain the team to beat.

However, look at the current contract situations that the Yankees have:

Mark Teixiera- 8 years/180 million dollars, signed til he’s 37
A.J. Burnett – 5/82.5, signed til he’s 39
C.C. Sabathia- 7/161, signed til he’s 37
Alex Rodriguez- 10/275, signed til he’s 43
Derek Jeter- 3/51, signed til he’s 40
Jorge Posada- 4/52, signed til he’s 41
Mariano Rivera- 2/30, signed til he’s 43

In other words half of the Yankees main players on their roster are all signed well into their late 30’s or 40’s and are owed a boat load of money.

Guys like Rodriguez, Jeter and Posada are already on the downside of their careers and aren’t worth the money.

Not to mention there is the possiblility at other long term deals for Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes looming, which will add more money to their books.

The Yankees are used to shelling out lots of cash but right now there’s too much tied up in players that won’t help them contend in three years and could lead to the Yankees becoming baseball’s Cowboys.

As great as they've been, the deals given to A-Rod and Jeter could lead to the Yankees downfall.

There is no balance with them right now. There’s lots of old guys and not enough youth. Sound like Dan Snyder to you?

Another problem are the deals that the Yankees have made, which cost them two viable parts that they could use right now and both could’ve added some much needed youth to their everyday roster.

Last year they traded Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy for Curtis Granderson essentially in a three team deal. Jackson and Granderson play the same position and Jackson hit for a higher average, stole more bases and had a higher in-base percentage than Granderson. Not to mention he’s five years younger and the perfect leadoff hitter that the Yankees so desperately need.
Kennedy went 9-10 last year for the Diamondbacks with a 3.80 ERA. While his numbers don’t seem too impressive Kennedy got stronger and stronger towards the end of the year. He’s currently penciled in as their third starter while the Yankees have no viable options in their rotation past Sabathia, Hughes, and Burnett. I’ve seen the Leafs give up on a few young guys in the past few years haven’t you?

Lastly the Yankee luster isn’t what it used to be. Guys now a days grow up hating the Yankees instead of idolizing them. No one fawns over Jeter the way they did Mickey Mantle, there’s no appreciation for Posada like there was for Yogi Berry. In the 60’s if a guy like Zach Greinke was on the market he would’ve been a pinstripe in a heartbeat, same for Cliff Lee. Now, they’d rather be a Brewer or a Phillie.

Still, the Yankees can out bid whoever they want to get their man. However, they also set the bar for other teams with just as deep of pockets to follow. How do you think the Sox got Carl Crawford or the Nats (yes, the Nats) got Jayson Werth? It’s the Yankee model; overpay for them and dare someone to leap up and get them.

So now its no longer about the pinstripes and the aura of the stadium and the pressure of the media. If you were Werth wouldn’t you rather take 126 million to play in a small market and not have the pressure of facing 1000 media faces a week wondering what’s wrong with you?

Maybe I’m going crazy, or maybe I see the writings on the wall. I know the Yankees have had to good a run of gluttony and capitalist pleasure to not have it come to a screeching hault. We’ve toed the line of smart and senseless way too long to not have it blow up in our face and I feel were getting to that point.

If the Yankees don’t solve their spending problems and incorporate some youth and practice patience then they may resemble the Celtics of the late 90’s or the Raiders of right now. They run the risk of losing their luster like Notre Dame and could become a legendary afterthought like the Habs.

Call me crazy, but Soriano deal might be the first in a long line of problems for top to bottom from the Yankees. I might be wrong, but I’ve seen it all before.