ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: The Yoenis Cespedes Showcase Video, Evolution of the Yankees, Swisher to Boston and More!
Saturday October 20th, 2012
Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Jonathan Hacohen: Baseball, much like life, is always full of change. Just think of all the changes that Major League Baseball has undergone during the past few years. Expansion. Realignment. Wild Card. Second Wild Card. Luxury Tax. Home field advantage in the World Series from the All-Star game. And to think, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Astros are moving next year to the AL West. Daily interleague play. The Athletics may move to San Jose. There is no doubt that the baseball we knew once upon a time is gone and buried. We are in a new golden era of baseball, one that promises to continue to evolve and thrive. Much like the sport it covers, MLB reports is on the same fast track.
If you follow MLB reports daily (which you DEFINITELY should), you have noticed the changes that we have enjoyed over the past few months. New writers, pages, website format- if there is one thing that we don’t do here, is sit on our hands. We recently had Kyle Holland come on board as our Baseball Intern and Alex Mednick as a Baseball Writer and Analyst. Haley Smilow is on board as our MLB Junior Correspondent. We have a diverse stable of writers, all with different experiences and styles. That raises the bar on the content that we bring you each and every day on MLB reports. We love our team, which continues to grow all the time. We have a devoted Cooperstown page, featuring our Cooperstown Correspondent, Patrick Languzzi. Love Fantasy Baseball? Peter Stein has you covered every week highlighting his fantasy baseball notes and advice. Our Fantasy Baseball page features Peter’s work. Lead Writer Chuck Booth, a Guinness World Record holder in baseball travel brings you exciting and informative articles every Wednesday and Friday night. The list literally goes on and on. If it involves baseball, MLB reports has you covered.
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With all the exciting changes at MLB reports, the truth is… that there is even more to come. We always are on the lookout for bright new talent. New concepts. New topics. Just like MLB, we always want to improve and evolve. But it’s a gradual process. Starting Monday though, you will see that we will be adding a new something to MLB reports. I can’t tell you what…I’m very sorry. But you will find out very soon. My advice? Bookmark mlbreports.com and/or make it your homepage. Get into work on Monday October 22nd. Grab a cup of coffee and turn on your computer. When your boss thinks you are working, you will be preparing for our feature of the day. At 9:00am ET, you will find a new addition to MLB reports. It is both different and exciting. The feature is called “The Interview of a Lifetime” and one that you certainly cannot miss. Get ready to be shocked, entertained and informed. The best part? This is only the beginning. I feel like the Riddler…and have already said too much….
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week:
Q: Even when my team doesn’t make the playoffs, I still enjoy the postseason for the most part. Do you believe most fans can too? Old Man Mack
JH: We missed him for too long, so we are kicking off ATR with OMM. He is ATR’s #1 fan and a huge Phillies fan. Are the two related? We will never know…
A great question (as always) by OMM! Let’s take a look at what he is asking. On the surface, it should be fairly simple. But it is actually more complex than that. When one’s favorite team doesn’t make the playoffs, can those fans still enjoy the postseason for the most part? Well OMM’s Phillies are not in the postseason and he’s still enjoying October baseball. Can most other fans too? My response is…no. I am sad to say no. But the answer is no nonetheless. Let me explain. Your question is great, but a little broad. When you say enjoy the postseason for many parts, that can be taken in many different ways. So I will give you my take on the subject.
Let’s consider most fans to be what we would think of as “typical” baseball fans. So if you have a White Sox fan, that fan will watch their team’s games no matter what if they are in the playoffs. But let’s say that team was eliminated. Will they still be interested in the postseason? Not until the World Series for the most part. That’s my theory. That White Sox fan is probably not turning on NLDS/NLCS baseball at 4pm ET if they are on the east coast. If they are on the west coast, they are eating dinner and doing probably a million other things. Watching a league and some teams that they don’t follow the most part will not excite them. Those typical fans could turn on some games if they are bored or happen to catch the end of some games. But they aren’t fueled by postseason baseball alone. But then when the World Series starts, the typical fan could become the bandwagon fan. May not have cared to that point, but will care about the final series of the year. They may not watch every game and every minute of those games, but they are watching. The viewership will increase as the World Series is getting closer to completion and near the end of games too.
So while most fans can still enjoy the playoffs if their teams are eliminated, they won’t watch it in the same way. While baseball popularity is at an all-time high, fans for the most part are fans of teams. Not the sport. Yankees fans don’t care about a Padres and Pirates matchup, in the same way that a Braves fan probably couldn’t stomach a Blue Jays and Mariners game. The playoffs may be amusing once in a while for those typical fans, but it will never mirror the feeling they would have if their own teams were dancing at the party. You are what I call the exception to the rule Mr. Old Man Mack. You love your team, but you also love baseball. You would watch any baseball that is on television. You know all the teams and most of the players. You follow the sport for the pure love of the sport, not just for pure homerism. I really wish there were more Old Man Macks in the baseball world…it would be a better place to be.
Q: Keep Swish in New York!!!!!!! ❤ Bronx Bombers MoNY
JH: A day does not go by that I don’t get a Swisher question/comment. I will give you my honest two cents. Firstly, nobody was a bigger Swisher supporter than I over the years. We share the same birthdate with Joe DiMaggio. He has power and patience, my favorite combination of attributes for a hitter. He was confident and engaging. It’s hard not to be drawn to the aura of Nick Swisher. But then something happened and my opinion changed over time. Nick Swisher married a Hollywood actress. He started appearing in television shows and even produced a CD. In the offseason, all I heard was about his extracurricular activities. Look, it can be Swisher in a recording studio or A-Rod on the beach with Kate Hudson. My reaction? Get your butt into a gym and stop messing around! Since he has been in New York, I have seen a decline in Nick Swisher. More slumps and less production. He was practically invisible in the playoffs…again. I don’t believe it is a decline in talent. I see it as a shift in priorities.
Nick Swisher is now at the crossroads. He can either fully devote himself to baseball and fulfill the potential that I know is inside of him. Or he can continue to focus on everything but the sport that pays his bills. If I feel it, then I am fairly confident that people within the Yankees organization feel the same thing. Swisher wants a Jayson Werth $100+ million contract? The Yankees must be asking themselves: should we devote our resources to a guy who is not fully committed to this game? Sure, television roles are fun and very cool. But they don’t help much in October. My gut is that Nick Swisher will want to be closer to Los Angeles, to be close to his wife and his second career(s). The problem is that both the Dodgers and Angels have crowded outfield and first base positions. No room at the inn. So they are not options. The Yankees are keeping their budget in line. With all the stars they need to pay, Swisher will get a qualifying offer- which will translate into a draft pick. He wants a multi-year deal. But no $100 million for him! If he wants to be on the West Coast, I see him ending up in San Francisco for 3-5 years at $15 million per season. But even the Giants may have a hard time justifying his cost. So my pick? Boston. It only makes sense. Piss off the Yankees and get new life into the clubhouse. Swisher gets to play with another team of heritage and in the huge market he craves. It may not suit his acting and music careers, but there are always planes to get there. Nick Swisher is done in New York. He will be a member of the Boston Red Sox come opening day. Sorry to be the one to deliver the bad news to you. But the crystal ball is very sure of this one!
Q: Hi MLB Reports,
Every time I see the Yankees get eliminated from the playoffs, I get nostalgic about the team from the late 90s. I still remember the lineups. They had everything going right. Even the games they lost were well played games. Here’s the 1998 roster:
1. 2B Chuck Knoblauch #11
2. SS Derek Jeter #2*
3. RF Paul O’Neill #21
4. CF Bernie Williams #51
5. 1B Tino Martinez #24
6. DH Darryl Strawberry #39
7. C Jorge Posada #20
8. LF Chad Curtis #28
9. 3B Scott Brosius #18
OF Tim Raines #31
C Joe Girardi #25 (Current Manager)
IF Luis Sojo #19
DH Chili Davis #45
OF Ricky Ledee #38
OF Shane Spencer #48
IF Dale Sveum #17
Andy Pettitte #46*
David Wells #33
David Cone #36
Hideki Irabu #14
Orlando Hernandez #26
Ramiro Mendoza #55
Mike Stanton #29
Graeme Lloyd #27
Darren Holmes #40
Mariano Rivera #42*
Joe Torre #6
Don Zimmer #50
Mel Stottlemyre #34
1st Base Coach
Jose Cardenal #53
3rd Base Coach
Willie Randolph #30
*Still with team
Will we ever see another great Yankees dynasty like this?
What will it take to get the Yankees back to their glory days? Thanks Joe, New Jersey
JH: Thank you for sharing such great information Joe. Taking a look up and down that roster I am getting goosebumps. What a team the Yankees had that year! Never mind the Yankees, it looks like an All-Star roster! Great memories for sure, but memories is all they will be. Knoblauch, Cone, Wells, Rivera, Jeter, Davis, Strawberry…man…the list goes on and on. To answer your first question, we will never see a Yankees “dynasty” like this. Well, maybe we will- but not quite the way you see it. We will definitely see the Yankees have strong teams and contend most years. But never quite a roster like that one. Take a look at the Yankees this year. Aging sluggers and not as much quality pitching. It was ironic that come playoff time, it was the pitching that carried them through and the bats went cold. On most teams, you see either pitching or hitting- but rarely both. Look at the Reds. They are the best balance of all worlds in my opinion. Strong hitting, defense, starting pitching and relievers. They can do it all. The Tigers got hot at the right time and are firing on all cylinders. But they are far from the 1998 Yankees. Too many holes, not enough stars. Unless the Yankees are prepared to overspend and pay luxury taxes in large chunks (a la the Dodgers), they will never be able to build a roster as deep and strong as the 1998 one. It’s just no longer feasible in this day and age. To build that kind of roster today, you are looking at a payroll between $250-300 million. Ok, I might be exaggerating. But I’m not far off! It is impossible to draft and keep a team together that will have that much talent. It will take trades and lots of free agents. With the way dollars are thrown around in today’s MLB, a team like the 1998 Yankees simply cannot exist. In their prime, that rotation alone would cost north of $75 million!
That does not mean that the glory days will not be back in New York. But it depends on your definition of glory days. Last time I checked, the Yankees did win the division this year and made it to the ALCS. That is pretty good. Not World Series good, but a lot better than many teams (including the Rangers, Angels and of course, the Red Sox). In the mind of a Yankees fan, glory days consists of having a strong roster and winning World Series titles every year. If I’m accurate, then those glory days are done. But the concept of glory days can evolve. The Yankees will still have strong rosters almost every year, just not complete stacked All-Star teams like the past. And while they will contend and should be in the playoffs most seasons, consistent World Series titles will be hard to come by. Too many teams in baseball, more Wild Cards… there are so many factors why it is more difficult to win a World Series than ever before. Once upon a time, not too long ago, only 2 teams made it to the World Series. Now 10 teams are in! The odds of winning it all just increased drastically. So good times are ahead for the Yankees. But the team will need to change with the times and so will the expectations. The Yankees are not done and will continue to contend year after year. But sheer dominance will be hard to come by. The times…they are a changin’.
JH: Thank you Elan for that wonderful clip. Nevermind Moneyball…the Yoenis Cespedes Showcase should have been an Oscar nominee! That film had it all. Drama, history, hitting, defense, working out and family. A beautiful film about my favorite subject: baseball. Clearly the Oakland A’s knew how to interpret this film better than every other team and grabbed the Baseball YouTube legend off the free agent list. It took a long time for Cespedes to become eligible and once he was, many teams were suspicious of how major league ready he was. Plus if he ever would become a star. Look at his numbers and the A’s record with him in the lineup. He was far and away the A’s MVP this year. If not for Mike Trout, he would have received all the attention for A.L. Rookie of the Year. And if not for Trout and Miguel Cabrera (triple crown), Cespedes would have received a great deal of attention for A.L. MVP. He was the most important player in the A’s lineup and a difference maker. Turns out this guy can do it all on the field. He has power, patience, and speed. He is a fantastic outfielder, with a strong arm. This man carries many tools in his tool box. I love the showcase video and likely will never get sick of it. If you haven’t watched it, then click on the link above. It will be 20 minutes well spent. It’s hard to believe that Yoenis Cespedes was a rookie last year. I can only imagine what he will do in the coming years. Oakland A’s fans must be thrilled to have him. For all the import failures of the past, MLB teams look at areas like Japan and Cuba in the hopes of landing a Yoenis Cespedes type player. They rarely pan out and you will be lucky to find one in every lifetime. Great scouting the A’s and a great move by Billy Beane to make it happen. I guess Moneyball does pay off after all…
Q: Robby is the grandson of my very dear friend Joanne. She always makes sure that she sends anything to me about Robby. The blog is super…. like he is just talking to me. “Keep up the good work Robby”….You have a fan in Wisconsin! Barbara
Q: Hello Robby, Enjoyed your blog so much. Yes, you always were on the go even as a small boy. Auntie Peggy is so very proud of you and wishes you a wonderful future in your baseball career. Another Wisconsin Fan !!!! Aunt Peggy
JH: Thank you very much to Aunt Peggy and Barbara to share their warm wishes to our Guest MLB Blogger, Robby Rowland. A pitching prospect in the Pirates organization, Robby Rowland is one of the most down-to-earth people who you will ever meet. The fans love him and clearly he has a strong family behind him. Baseball positivity. I absolutely love it!
In his most recent blog feature, Robby was nice enough to join us and talk about many baseball topics, including his offseason plans, goals for 2013 and evolution from the time he was traded by the Diamondbacks. It is one thing to interview a player. It is quite another to hear their thoughts and opinions, written in their own words. If you wanted to ever know what makes a professional baseball player tick, read a blog by Robby Rowland. It will give you a better insight into the mind of a baseball player and how the game really works. We are very lucky to have Robby Rowland on board and look forward to his future blog entries!
Make sure to catch Robby Rowland’s most recent blog entry, exclusively on MLB reports: https://mlbreports.com/2012/10/05/rowland-offseason/
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Posted on October 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged andy pettitte, ask the reports, atr, baseball, baseball questions, bernie williams, boston red sox, chuck knoblauch, cuba, darryl strawberry, david cone, david wells, derek jeter, joe girardi, jorge posada, mariano rivera, mlb, new york yankees, nick swisher, oakland athletics, paul o'neill, pittsburgh pirates, playoffs, robby rowland, tim raines, world series, yoenis cespedes. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.