Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were given a bunch of gifts before last night’s game. Cool stuff, too! For example, check out what Rivera got:
Rivera was given the bullpen bench from the old Yankee Stadium and the Citi Field pitching rubber from the night he earned save No. 500 against the New York Mets across town.
Nice! I hope to God that no one told the Mets.
Jeter scored pretty well too. Among other things, he was given that sign from the old Yankee Stadium clubhouse with the famous Joe DiMaggio quote: “I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.” Wait a minute, my B.S. detector is going off! Quick! To the time machine! Set the dial for last January!
Derek Jeter came clean Wednesday night. He pilfered the Joe DiMaggio sign, as I suspected . . . A clue on his intentions had come earlier that night, when he said he had his eye on a particular Stadium keepsake but wouldn’t say which. After the game and on-field celebration, I noticed the sign was missing and told him, “I know what you’re taking out of here,” and I asked if I could report it.
He shook his head and replied, “In due time.”
Four months later, he admitted he had taken the sign, and another item or two.
So Captain Jetes: were you lying to the New York Times, saying you stole the DiMaggio sign in an effort to make yourself look like a Yankee-history-lovin’ bad boy, or did you actually steal the sign, give it back to the Yankees, and then allow them to “award” you with it in last night’s ceremony? It has to be one of those two, right?
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.