Yankee Stadium is the Louvre, Jeter its Mona Lisa. Really, someone said that.

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The return to calm and quiet PR-friendly negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter is easily the worst thing to happen this week. Really, wasn’t life much more fun when they were slamming each other in the media? And then, in turn, causing those of us in column-and-blog land to say equally silly things?  Things like Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star said in his column this afternoon:

Yankee Stadium is an enormously successful sports museum. Derek Jeter is its Mona Lisa. The residual financial impact of Jeter on New York and the Yankees would make a pretty decent Ph.D. thesis. Let’s agree that his real-dollar value is greater than playoff games can tell … Cashman is a good guy and, better yet for the Yankees, an egoless pragmatist. But he’s already lost this fight. He lost it just by having the money.

At some reasonable point, the Yankees will vastly improve their current offer. It will be slightly less than Jeter’s opening gambit — six years, $150 million (U.S.). Then Jeter will do himself and the Yankees the favour of agreeing to lower his price because of his love for the pinstripes. Yankees fans will fall in love all over again — with the man and the club.

I’ll preface this by saying that Mr. Kelly’s picture shows him wearing large, heavy-framed glasses not unlike those frequently sported by irony-loving hipsters, so I guess there’s a chance that this is all sarcasm.  But assuming it’s not:

1) The Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and was gone for two years; the Louvre somehow survived;

2) Cashman hasn’t lost this fight;

3) The Yankees won’t vastly improve their offer; and

4) Even if they do, Jeter will not reject said vastly-improved offer.

Other than that, the column is all aces.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.