Yankee Stadium has been a Mausoleum

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It’s hard to truly gauge crowd noise from the TV broadcast. TBS, for example, is notorious for over-amplifying the crowd via some unique mic placement (they did it with the Braves for years and still do it now that they broadcast national games).  At the same time, the Indians broadcasts I watch most nights during the summer seem unnaturally quiet compared to the way I know that ballpark sounds in person.

But despite the vagaries of technology, it’s been pretty obvious how quiet Yankee Stadium was during the first two games of the Series (where is this guy?).  Buck and McCarver talked about it at length last night, and today FOX’s Ken Rosenthal gets the Phillies’ take on it:

Thank goodness the World Series is leaving New York so we can get a little atmosphere.

“Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy, I was really expecting some of that here,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “It was very tame and civil.”

…From mystique and aura to tame and civil. What has the Bronx come to?

“Expensive tickets running loud people out,” Rollins said, referring to the high prices at the new Yankee Stadium . . .I asked the three Phillies outfielders in Game 1 — Ben Francisco, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth — if they had heard any abuse from the fans.

“Crickets,” one of the outfielders said, and I don’t even know why I am granting him anonymity; it’s not like revealing his identity would put him in any danger.

I’ve certainly noticed the price-the-passionate-fans-out effect in other venues.  Ohio State basketball games used to be raucous before they moved into a big plush and expensive arena a decade ago.  Almost every new NFL stadium has rendered the previous roar of the home crowd a murmur.

But the Stadium has been loud at times this postseason, so I’m not willing to totally chalk it up to the richies taking over.  There may be some of that — especially considering that the ultra-richies probably buy tickets from the mere super richies for the World Series — but I think the dominating performance by Lee in Game 1 and the stronger than expected outing from Pedro last night had a lot more to do with it.  There has yet to be an instance in either game where Yankees fans had justification to go crazy so, not surprisingly, they haven’t gone crazy.

All of that said, I expect Philly to be positively insane tomorrow night. I mean, even if nothing exciting happens on the field, the roar of Philly fans yelling about how no one believes in them will be deafening enough on its own.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

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I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.