JULY 29, 2004
Yanks, Red Sox, Mets, & Diamondbacks Remarks
By Steve Lombardi, NetShrine.com
Today, Bob Watson, major league baseball's vice president of on-field operations, announced the fines and suspensions for the players involved in the brawl occurring during the game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox on July 24, 2004. What was very interesting from this fight were the cries from Red Sox Nation that the Yankees Alex Rodriguez brought cause for the fight, via a supposed overreaction to being hit by a pitch. The scrawling on this scorecard wonders just how the overreaction scores on a scale of one to ten - where "one" would be the reaction that Gary Sheffield had on July 1, 2004 (after being hit by a Pedro Martinez pitch) and "ten" would be the reaction that Manny Ramirez had in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS (after Roger Clemens threw a pitch that was high - and not near Ramirez).
While on the topic of October 11, 2003 (which was Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS) and July 24, 2004, Watson's suspension and fine of Boston's Trot Nixon for his actions in the "A-Rod instigated" fight was very telling according to the scrawling here. Nixon, playing right field when the fight broke out, was the player on the field farthest away from the fight's flash point. Yet, he ran all the way from his position, and jumped into the scrum where the Sox David Ortiz and Gabe Kapler had Yankees pitcher Tanyon Sturtze pinned to the ground. Gosh, when was the last time that we saw a player in right field at Fenway Park sprint from his position to jump a pile - where more than one of his teammates was involved is a fracas with an individual? Well, that would be October 11, 2003 - when (then) Yankee Karim Garcia bolted from his post in right to join a fight which had broke out in the Yankee bullpen. Did Trot Nixon actually pull a "Karim Garcia"? Sure seems like he did - otherwise, what then was the Trotman so heavily fined and suspended for - playing the role of peacemaker? Somehow, it is doubtful that the members of Red Sox Nation are getting on Nixon the way they did on Garcia just nine months ago. Why not?
Speaking of the Yankees, with the much rumored possibility of the Bronx Bombers trading for Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, it has become quite vogue in many camps to state that the Yankees farm system is barren - and void of any chips worthy of being part of a deal for a quality player. This is a preposterous claim. Let us partake in a quick and fun exercise. Take out a pen and paper. Write down the names of the following current Yankee minor leaguers: Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Dioner Navarro, Andy Phillips, Bronson Sardinha, Eric Duncan, Tyler Clippard, Tim Battle, and Justin Christian. Save the piece of paper in a very safe place until the 2005 editions of Baseball Prospectus and John Sickel's The Baseball Prospect Book are published. Get those books and read what is written about the players mentioned herein. Then, tell us about the great dearth of Yankee prospects. Note, the players mentioned do not include any of the good prospects that the Yankees drafted in 2004 - such as Philip Hughes, Jon Poterson, or Jeff Marquez - who could be included in a deal next year, as part of a make good supplement to any deal made now. Sure, the Yankees do not have a prospect like the Devil Rays B.J. Upton or the Mariners Felix Hernandez in their current system. But, if you had such a prospect, you are not going to trade him for a 40 year old pitcher - even if the pitcher is Randy Johnson.
Crossing over to prospects on the other side of New York, when New York Mets super-prospect David Wright fulfills his destiny and becomes the next Scott Rolen, the brass in the Mets front office has an institution, in particular, who they must thank. Who is that establishment? It is the school systems of the state of Colorado. The Mets selected Wright in the 2001 draft - with a supplemental 1st round pick that they gained as compensation for losing pitcher Mike Hampton (who fled to Colorado for the schools and a boat load of cash). Mets fans will learn to love Mike Hampton the way Houston Astros fans love Larry Anderson (for bringing them Jeff Bagwell - albeit a slightly more direct exchange than the Hampton/Wright connection).
Lastly, how about those 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks? They recently established a new major league record for most consecutive home losses during a single home stand - with eleven. Wow. Didn't the D-backs just win a World Series in 2001? Yes, they did. And, despite that recent glory, they are a truly awful team this season. In fact, they are on a modern day chart topping pace for a World Series champ perfecting putrefaction in just three years. Look at the World Series champs of the last quarter century and how they faired three seasons past their ring season:
3 Yrs Later
In the last 25 years, the worst win total that a World Champion had (in a full season), three years after winning, was 73. The 2004 Diamondbacks are on pace to win about 51 games this season.
The last time a mark was topped this extraordinarily was when Jim Leyritz faced Mark Wohlers in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series.
Further, the 1978 Yankees (three years later in 1981), the 1992 Blue Jays (in 1995), and 1991 Twins (in 1994) did better than Arizona is on pace for now in partial seasons (three years after their title year).
The scrawling on this scorecard wonders what song Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo will play over the ballpark sound system when the Diamondbacks lose their 90th game this season and clinch this dishonor. He chose to play New York, New York in his park after winning Game 6 of the 2001 World Series - to mock the team he just beat (the Yankees). Anyone know a good song about Arizona?
Steve Lombardi is the Creator & Curator of NetShrine.com. Scrawling On The Scorecard appears regularly during the baseball season and sporadically during the off-season. Steve can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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