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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:

Year

WS Winner

3 Yrs Later

Finish

Wins

Loses

Pct.

Games Back

1991 Twins 1994 4th 53 60 0.469 14
1992 Blue Jays 1995 5th 56 88 0.389 30
1978 Yankees 1981 1st 59 48 0.551 - - 
1983 Orioles 1986 7th 73 89 0.451 22.5
1990 Reds 1993 5th 73 89 0.451 31
1993 Blue Jays 1996 4th 74 88 0.457 18
1987 Twins 1990 7th 74 88 0.457 29
1981 Dodgers 1984 4th 79 83 0.488 13
1997 Marlins 2000 3rd 79 82 0.491 15.5
1979 Pirates 1982 4th 84 78 0.519 8
1985 Royals 1988 3rd 84 77 0.522 19.5
1986 Mets 1989 2nd 87 75 0.537 6
1980 Phillies 1983 1st 90 72 0.556 - - 
1988 Dodgers 1991 2nd 93 69 0.574 1
1998 Yankees 2001 1st 95 65 0.594 - - 
1989 A's 1992 1st 96 66 0.593 - - 
1984 Tigers 1987 1st 98 64 0.605 - -
1996 Yankees 1999 1st 98 64 0.605 - - 
1982 Cardinals 1985 1st 101 61 0.623 - - 
2000 Yankees 2003 1st 101 61 0.623 - - 
1999 Yankees 2002 1st 103 58 0.640 - - 
1977 Yankees 1980 1st 103 59 0.636 - - 
1995 Braves 1998 1st 106 56 0.654 - - 
2001 Diamondbacks 2004 ?? ?? ?? ?? ??

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 sots@netshrine.com

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