YES, the Yankees and Murdoch—A Look Into the Future

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Newscorp is closing in on a deal to purchase up to 49% of the YES Network—NY Times story.

After all those years of pure Yankees partisanship disguised as evenhanded sports news, it’s a relief that a trusted and historically non-partisan, fact-based entity such as Newscorp is buying into YES. Now, with the skillsets of Rupert Murdoch in installing qualified and reputable people to deliver fair and balanced dissemination of information, YES can become something other than the Yankees infomercial it’s been for its entire existence. Let’s look into the crystal ball of what to expect.

Say YES in the Morning with Meredith and John—6  to 10 AM

Meredith Marakovits and John Sterling bring you all the morning sports news with your coffee (and possibly a small shot of bourbon). Join Meredith and John as long as John is able to get up in the morning and clear the bleariness out of his head and eyes.

The audience wins. The….audience…..WWWWIIIIIINNNNNNSSSS!!!!!

The Emperor’s Lair with Jason Zillo—10 AM-11 AM

If you’re wondering what it’s like to be the gatekeeper to the Yankees Universe, wonder no more. Jason Zillo takes you on a tour of the Yankees from the all-seeing, all-knowing, guardian of the brand. From Derek Jeter’s lavish Tampa home to Alex Rodriguez’s star-studded dating history (he can give you a free baseball with his number on it), Zillo grants you, the audience, an audience.*

*Like the evil, all-powerful Anthony from the “It’s a Good Life” episode of the Twilight Zone, this is contingent on you only thinking good thoughts about the Yankees. He is the gatekeeper, after all.

Hank Steinbrenner Bloviates—11 AM-12 PM

With smoke coming out his his ears, nose, mouth and eyes—some of it cigarette related, some not; as well as imparting of baseball knowledge and irrational demands reminiscent of his late father emanating from his behind amid more smoke, Hank Steinbrenner asks, no, demands that you watch. And don’t change that channel.

The Daily National Anthem with Haley Swindal—12 PM-1 PM

You’re a patriot, aren’t you? Well, then you must enjoy Haley Swindal singing multiple renditions of The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America, followed by stories about the adventures she’s experienced traveling around the world…singing The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America. It’s a travel show unlike any you’ve ever seen!!

Mike’s On Simulcast—the Mike Francesa Show on WFAN 1 PM-6:30 PM (6 PM in-season)

A better Yankees apologist not officially working for YES you’ll never find. Francesa doesn’t bother with the inconveniences of journalism by deciding to interview or question the likes of Yankees GM Brian Cashman or manager Joe Girardi, he interacts with them providing insight and advice on players from Brandon Inge to Nate McLouth.

Of course Hiroki Kuroda’s going to take a 1-year deal to return to the Yankees!!! Of course he is!!! He prefers the West Coast? But don’t you wanna be a YANKEE?!?!

Watch Francesa drink endless buckets of Diet Coke, rant against the Mets with a faux passion diabolically disguised by raving, incomprehensible lunacy; see him cut Rex Ryan and the Jets down to size better than liposuction and stomach stapling; listen as he makes a difference (because it affected him) with LIPA.

And don’t you ever forget that Darrelle Revis committed pass interference on the doctor when he had knee surgery too.

During the baseball season

Yankees Pregame with Bob Lorenz, Nancy Newman and “analysts”—6 PM-7PM

If you’re looking for validation as to why the Yankees are the greatest thing ever-ever and will never lose but will only run out of innings, the search is over. The team of experts will provide you with a Machiavellian justification to explain away any lingering doubts that the Yankees might not actually be the only team to win a World Series in baseball history.

From April to late October (guaranteed)—Yankees Baseball 7 PM-10 PM

Yankees baseball from start to finish with zero objectivity and intelligent baseball wisdom delivered by the endless stream of broadcasters Michael Kay, Ken Singleton, David Cone, John Flaherty, Al Leiter, Mel Allen, Phil Rizzuto, Suzyn Waldman, Dwight Gooden, Mel Hall, Frank Messer, Denver Wieland, Kyle Hanratty, Dugan McPhasenot, Bell Corling, Deafness Matriculation and the rest of the crew!!

The Yankees Post-Game Show with Bob Lorenz

Detailed analysis of each game from how the opposing team wilted at the mere sight of the pinstripes and the all-encompassing nature of the Yankees aura, or explanations why the Yankees should have won and, in fact, did win even if they lost in that inconvenient “reality” of a completed game.

During the off-season

The Kay Factor—8 PM-9 PM

If you enjoy Michael Kay on CenterStage, you’ll certainly enjoy him in an edgier version of the previous incarnations of his show. Resplendent in leather, Kay will take the Mets to the woodshed; he’ll jab his finger in your face; he’ll threaten to punch Phil Mushnick!! With guests such as Joel Sherman, Dick Morris, Karl Rove, and Richard Gere(?), join Michael for a hard-hitting hour of sports news that’s sure to whet your appetite for chicken parm!

Curry—9 PM-10 PM

Don’t you dare question Jack Curry’s journalistic credibility. He’ll get the story from the PR department of the same organization for which he works and then throw a tantrum if ESPN reports it as well. Prepare to be Re-Tweeted and called a clown for an hour each weeknight if you’re not onboard the unstoppable Curry train!! It’s like Sean Hannity, only with less rationality and more self-indulgent tantrums.

Cash—10 PM-11 PM

Brian Cashman’s entire world is opened up for all to see. From the “obvious process” that goes into any and all decisions, to the “Big Hairy Monsters,” to the pitching development, to the trades, he’ll take you from Carl Pavano to Pedro Feliciano, from Joe Torre to Joe Girardi, from the Joba Rules to his exhilarating nightlife.

Prepare to be stalked with internal baseball knowledge (among other things) from a guy who works hard and plays hard!

The Randy Levine Revue—11 PM-Midnight

One part Dr. Phil, one part Oprah, one part Jim Henson, and one part Frank Caliendo, Randy Levine informs and entertains! With such guests as Rudy Giuliani, a puppet version of Torre in which Randy retorts in a different way each to night to Torre telling him to “Shut the bleep up!”, along with singing and dancing, Randy’s as talented as he is versatile.

If you thought the YES Network was the go-to place before with George Steinbrenner’s looming presence, you have no idea what’s coming. Prepare for the reckoning with Fox News and the YES Network joined together. You’ve always compared them. Now they are one. It had to happen. And finally, it is.

We all win.


Is Roy Oswalt Worth the Daily Updates and the Money?

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Do we need to hear about Roy Oswalt as if there’s a paparazzi crew stationed outside his home to see if he goes for a run or ventures to the nearby park with a baseball glove hanging over the handlebars of his bicycle?

The same type of attention was paid to Roger Clemens when he was vacillating as to whether he’d come out of retirement to rejoin his friend Andy Pettitte with the Yankees in 2007. The indecisiveness and flirtation were probably negotiation ploys to squeeze as much money as possible out of George Steinbrenner.

And it worked.

But was Clemens worth it?

He went 6-6 with reasonably good numbers across the board. He received a prorated $28 million for the year. It came to about $17.4 million for 18 games and 17 starts. The Yankees lost in the ALDS to the Indians and Clemens was knocked out of the box in the third inning of his game 3 start. If it’s any consolation, the Yankees eventually won that game 8-4.

In addition to all of that, we were treated/punished with Suzyn Waldman’s reaction to Clemens’s “dramatic” and overtly staged return, announced in a PA address from Steinbrenner’s box and immortalized with Waldman’s shrieking, screaming, and bellowing like she’d just been electrocuted or received a simultaneous shot of lidocaine and B12.

Can any team expect that much on the field from Oswalt?

More? Less?

Oswalt is a very good pitcher, but he’s just as likely to sign with a team and suddenly develop a recurrence of the back pain that sidelined him last year with the Phillies and, at the time, was thought to be season or career threatening. His back problems have been chronic. They disabled him in 2009 and 2011. He could sign with a club, throw 10 pitches and walk off the mound. We don’t know.

Teams who are interested in Oswalt will undoubtedly be attracted by the short-term nature of his contract (he’d only want to sign for the rest of this season) and that they’re not giving up anything other than money to get him. Before jumping in, they need to realize that it’s not Oswalt from 2008 or even the Oswalt from 2010 when he went on a tear after being traded to the Phillies. He hasn’t pitched and wouldn’t be ready until mid-late-June. By then, who knows what’s going to come available with struggling teams looking to clear veterans or make a splash by doing something drastic?

Zack Greinke or Matt Garza might be on the move. Of course they’d be more expensive in terms of players than Oswalt, but it has to be considered what the club is making the move for in the first place. If a team is getting Oswalt, it’s to try and win a title in 2012 and Greinke and Garza would be more conducive to that end than Oswalt.

Getting Oswalt would create headlines for a day, but the lasting memory could be glass-breaking wail from an excited broadcaster rather than on-field production.

In that case, it wouldn’t be worth it for anything other than comedy.


Somewhere Suzyn Waldman Is Shrieking For Roger Clemens

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Roger Clemens‘s trial for perjury ended in a mistrial pretty much before it got started after prosecutors tried to slip evidence the judge had ruled inadmissible into the proceedings while showing video of Clemens’s appearance before Congress that started this whole mess.

We’ll never know whether there were powerful people with whom Clemens is friendly pushing to make this disappear, but Clemens is  connected with former President George W. Bush and a whole host of other political luminaries.

These things happen. Phone calls are made. Whispers are exchanged. People are spoken to.

Whether the government starts all over again against Clemens; gives up; or some other chance occurrence happens to make this more difficult to pursue will clarify what’s really going on behind the scenes.

The government drones will attempt to save face and bring this back into court if the double jeopardy motion is denied.

Even if another trial is allowed, this is going nowhere.

Roger Clemens isn’t going to do any jail time one way or the other.

And somewhere Suzyn Waldman is shrieking with delight.


Viewer Mail 7.11.2011

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Mike Tursi at YankeesGab writes RE Michael Kay and Derek Jeter:

2 points. See if you agree with me. 1) Kay is a writer by trade, so he broadcasts like he writes. Not saying it’s right or wrong. But that’s why he’ll never be like those broadcasters you mentioned. 2) Kay is a Bronx native & a huge Yankees fan. I’m sure his bias was coming through.

All fair points, but there’s a difference between innocent enthusiasm or simple excitement a la Russ Hodges and “The Giants won the pennant!!!” and a planned and crafted series of statements that, truth be told, were horribly constructed and telegraphed in their presentation.

I don’t remember him as a sportswriter and I say this in all seriousness: it’s Michael Kay; how good could he have been?

Part of Kay’s shtick is to be annoying; no one is expecting any broadcaster—especially one who’s a fan of the team—to be impartial, but the Jeter worship was beyond over-the-top; it was off-putting and egomaniacal in its attempt to forcibly act as the spokesman for the moment and be part of it rather than to do his job and step back from it, letting the story be the story.

Nick Dimi writes RE Kay and the Yankees:

Johnny Sterling is the voice of the Yankees. Let’s not forget Michael Kay was just his Suzyn Waldman in the 90s.

I like Sterling because he’s not trying to portray himself as a reporter/baseball expert while simultaneously wearing his Yankees footy pajamas and waving a pennant in the booth.

Sterling’s there to entertain Yankee fans, pure and simple; he puts out no pretense of impartiality. Plus Jane Heller says he’s a terrific guy.

Think about how disturbing it was that Kay was the analyst while in the booth with Sterling. Suzyn knows more about baseball than Kay ever will and I don’t think Suzyn knows much of anything either.

Franklin Rabon writes RE Jair Jurrjens:

The problem with Jurrjens is that he isn’t that much different than he was last year, he just is getting wildly different results. This happens a lot with pitch to contact guys. They’re wildly inconsistent. I expect Jair to regress a lot, though I hope he keeps it rolling.

The only thing is that it’s hard to tell if his drastically lowered walk rate is real or just an aberration.

I tend to think this year is a combo of real improvement (better movement on his pitches, and better control) and pure dumb luck. I hope it’s all real improvement, obviously, but I also hope to win powerball.

Apart from the fewer walks, Jurrjens’s in-depth numbers are almost identical to what they’ve been year-after-year.

If the Braves have gotten it into his head to throw the ball over the plate and let the movement and his defenders take care of things after the fact, then there’s no reason he can’t continue pitching well. It’s doubtful he’ll maintain an under 2 ERA the whole season, but he’s never allowed a lot of homers and the Braves infield defense isn’t exactly mobile, fast or rangy.

Maybe, just maybe, he’s figured it out and is adhering and executing a game plan.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE the Pirates:

I would love to see the Pirates throw the bomb. It’d be good for the game.

We’re all learning the lesson from teams that have built for the future with an organic plan of action; cultivated youngsters and made what were perceived to be smart free agent signings and trades, but have failed. It rarely works as it was drawn up on the blueprint.

The Pirates have an unexpected opening and it’s either try to charge through it or don’t. The NL Central is wide open and they have to make a move to steal it.


Kool-Aid And Other Unhealthy Products/Activities

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Double super-secret negotiations.

Some dubious reporting has the Mets and Jose Reyes engaging in “secret” negotiations on a contract extension.

Are these “double-super secret” negotiations to dovetail with the “double-super secret” probation the Mets front office is on (Animal House-style) with MLB and Commissioner (Dean) Bud Selig?*

*This is in no way connected to the expulsion proceedings currently going on to toss Dodgers owner Frank McCourt from the MLB Universe.

The silliness of this story is obvious to any objective viewer. The most prominent outlet reporting this is the New York Post.

Not exactly the paragon of journalistic integrity, the Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch who’s currently having his own issues with scandal and fallout for journalistic malfeasance. They’re not interested in, y’know, truth!!

This story is nonsense. The Mets aren’t entering into secret negotiations with Reyes; Reyes isn’t entering into secret negotiations with them.

It’s the Post.


Suzyn’s long, cool drink of Kool-Aid.

Speaking of an absence of journalistic integrity, Yankees radio “analyst” Suzyn Waldman really buys into the company line.

During the pre-game show last night, she said something to the tune of “Derek Jeter was scheduled to have tonight off because he needed the rest after his stint on the disabled list.”

Of course.

Naturally being 3 hits away from 3000 and the desire to have him achieve the feat at home had nothing to do with the plan for him to rest.

No. Not at all.

Either way, he played in last night’s game and the Yankees are back home for a four game series with the Rays. Presumably, he’ll reach the milestone this weekend.

At least he’d better or Hank Steinbrenner’s going to give him a moderate kneecapping that’ll keep him out of the lineup for the upcoming road trip to Toronto and Tampa.

Suzyn’s investigation into the incident would yield no wrongdoing in the accidental kneecapping.

“It wasn’t planned”.

Michael Kay’s avocado.

Much like the now ubiquitous commercials for Subway in which they’re talking about having avocados as if they were discovered on some mysterious mountaintop in Tibet, Michael Kay is a rare and priceless treasure.

Discussing the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and his attempts to buy the Cleveland Indians in the early 1970s, Kay said Steinbrenner wound up buying the Yankees in 1974.

Um. No.

The noted baseball expert, Mr. Yankee Broadcaster, longtime spokesman and fan and supposed baseball expert Michael Kay didn’t even know when George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees.

It was 1973.

Kay should know that. Period.

The man’s a buffoon. Ignorant and clownish. This isn’t a mistake. It’s plain stupidity and it’s an embarrassment that he’s the “voice” of the Yankees and perceived as such worldwide.