Monday, May 16, 2011

Randomness While I'll Gladly Hit 9th

Crazy week in Yankeeland (legitimately so, not the fake kind that New York likes to think of). Jorge Posada asking out of the lineup because he was slotted ninth in the order appears to be the beginning of the end for his career. Interestingly, it grabs the spotlight on the real problem; a Yankees team that all of a sudden looks old and no longer have the consistent offense to help win games. Doesn't help that the Yankees bullpen isn't the shutdown bullpen that was imagined and it's only a matter of time before the starting pitching comes undone. And the problem, unless they start looking very different in the next two months, no trade would be enough to save them. This is starting to feel like 1965 for those Yankee fans who remember that year.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox, who were left for dead, have now just pulled over .500 after that comeback win tonight over the Orioles. They've won 5 of 6 against the Yankees, mainly by playing a little better in each phase of the game in their wins.

Nice to see the Indians and Royals playing well. Too bad I didn't write this last week, or I can include to Pirates.

I'm thinking the Mavs beat the Thunder in 6. Here's the first series which Oklahoma City faces a team with a legitimate crunch-time scorer in Dirk. The Dallas big's in Chandler, Dirk and Haywood are better than Perkins, Ibaka and Nazr Mohammed. Finally, too much depth the Mavs have, as evident by the series against the Lakers. Yes, Durant and Westbrook can turn the series, but this is the last opportunity for the Mavs championship window. They'll get it done.

As for the other series that have started, the Heat need to find a way to make the rebound disadvantage against the Bulls look less so. If only Chris Bosh would play as a guy who just bangs bodies and grabs boards. The two hockey conference finals are too soon to gauge anything as the Sharks lost energy in the 3rd period of Game 1 and the Boston had a very sloppy 1st period they couldn't recover from.

It's very close that the Atlanta Thrashers are on it's way to Winnipeg (read Elliotte Friedman and Bruce Arthur's columns for further on that story, good reads), but I have a question. If the Coyotes can't sell the team to someone who wants to keep it in Glendale and with no Winnpeg available and Quebec City wouldn't be ready until 2015, where would they go? Does Jim Balsillie reenter the picture and moves them to Hamilton? Does another U.S. market pick them up?

Derek Boogaard's death is still shocking to me. Even though he didn't play well with the Rangers, the stories about his work off the ice show how much a gentle giant he was. The real shame is no one cares enough about players who contribute to the community if they don't play well, at least that's true in places like New York. Adam Graves was the most humanitarian Rangers of all, yet no one would have known had he not been one of 3 Rangers to score 50 goals in a season, leading them to a Stanley Cup.

Listening to the ESPN guys talk about Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak inevitably lead to discussion between his record and Ted Williams hitting .406 in the same year. Which led to a conversation between my father and I about probably the greatest Yankees/Red Sox what if: What if Williams and DiMaggio are traded for each other when Tom Yawkey and Dan Topping get drunk that one night? The obvious answer is you give Ted Williams the short porch in right and DiMaggio gets to swing at the Green Monster, both guys get more inflated stats.

But here's the kicker; if Ted Williams, not DiMaggio is a Yankee in 1951, Mickey Mantle doesn't hurt his knee on that drain pipe in the '51 World Series. I guarantee it. You want to know why; because Mantle plays CF in his rookie year, not RF. The story goes, Mantle hard charges a ball and DiMaggio late calls it and Mantle's knee shatters when he steps on that drain. Well, no Joe D, no Mantle in right tearing his knee. Now, Mantle might still end up with the alcohol problems because of the effect of his father dying (we'll never know), but I guarantee you, Mantle doesn't have the injury problems to the extent that he does without his first major injury in 1951. His career as a result, likely one of the five greatest careers of all time.

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