Homers in Yankee Stadium: at least the fans like them

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As many folks — myself included — lament the homerriffic qualities of new Yankee Stadium, Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger reminds us that, for a lot of folks, homers = fun:

The pitchers can whine all they want, but the fans were tickled when
that Cabrera fly ball cleared the wall. They came to have a good time,
and at a baseball game, nothing generates more fun than the long ball.
Which is what makes the outrage about the new Yankee Stadium so hard to
understand. Yes, the ballpark is yielding dingers at a record pace.
Yes, some of them are cheaper than a thrift-store suit.

But what, exactly, are people so worried about? Ruining the sanctity of the record book? Little late for that, no?

Baseball is the only sport where anyone worries about too much
offense. The NHL practically rewrote its rulebook for more goals. The
NFL would let its quarterbacks throw from behind a moat if it meant
more touchdown passes. And there is a reason millions of Americans hate
soccer. Thursday afternoon, it was hard to find too many critics of the
homer-friendly park.

He offers lots of quotes from fans who have quite obviously been having
a good time at the new joint, easy homers or not. And hey, you can’t
blame them. The point of this game is to entertain, and people are
certainly entertained. Indeed, the only negative sentiment in this
article comes from Rangers’ reliever C.J. Wilson, who called Melky
Cabrera’s homer yesterday “a deep fly ball to short left field.” He
thought it was a popup but “then I was like, ‘Oh crap, I forgot where
we are.'”

Fans’ happiness or not, it is sentiments like Wilson’s that will
really going to decide if a having a homer-friendly park in the Bronx
is a good idea. Right now the Yankees are set for the next several
years with Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Wang, and Chamberlain in the
rotation (I’m assuming Pettitte is gone after this year). But at some
point, the Yankees are going to want to bring in the next CC Sabathia.
Maybe it will be a 29 year-old David Price or a 27 or 28 year-old
Stephen Strasburg. If, by that time, the Stadium is still playing like
a bandbox, I can’t help but think that it won’t be as easy to attract
those sorts of guys. Sure, the Yankees have money, but they’re already
overpaying guys to deal with the hassle and pressure of playing in New
York. How much more will they have to overpay if an inflated ERA is
part of the deal as well?

Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

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Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.