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Longest Game, Gardner’s Due, Montero Scouting Report, Subjective



By Mike Silva ~ June 23rd, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Even though the Yankees played a day/night doubleheader, and it took the Mets 13 innings to win their ballgame, it still pales in comparison to the longest day of baseball in history.

On Sunday, Dan Barry of the NY Times joined me on the radio show. He recently wrote a book called “Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game.”

This book chronicles the longest professional baseball game ever, which took place on April 18th, 1981 between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings. Two future Hall of Famer’s, Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs, participated in the game.

A windy and bitterly cold New England night made it difficult to hit. After Rochester went ahead in the 21st, Wade Boggs singled in the tying run, much to the dismay of his own teammates.

International League commissioner stopped the game in the 32nd inning at 4:07 AM. There were less than 20 fans left in the stands. It would be resumed in June in front of 5,746 people, and the Sox would win it in the bottom of the 33rd.

Ironically, the reason this game didn’t end ten minutes to one is because the rule book the umpires on hand mistakenly omitted the curfew that normally would be in place.

Other players of interest that participated in the game were Bob Ojeda (winning pitcher), Rich Gedman, Bruce Hurst, and Marty Barrett.

***

I have been following Brett Gardner for a while. I remember the doubters during his minor league career. You would hear about his high strikeout rate and his lack of power. Some would say he is a fourth outfielder. Others believed he just couldn’t be a Yankee centerfielder. As if playing the position in pinstripes only requires you to be DiMaggio or Mantle.

Last year, Gardner did a solid job as the starting left fielder. He hit .277, stole 47 bases, and played gold glove defense. A wrist injury in the second half impacted his play, and was what everyone seemed to remember. After a slow start, he’s hitting over .400 in June. He’s arguably the best defensive outfielder in baseball with a UZR/150 of 35.9. If you subscribe to Wins Above Replacement, his defense puts him in the Top 10 of the American League in value.

Is there any question that Gardner should be leading off when Derek Jeter returns? Can we at least admit Gardner is more than a fourth outfielder? He plays defense, gets on base, and has speed. At one point last year I thought he was better than Jose Reyes. His base running has been poor, but out of all the things that could go wrong, I believe it’s the most correctable. He could be the Yankees leadoff hitter for a decade.

***

Chuck Johnson, who writes at Dugout Central, left and interesting scouting report on Jesus Montero. Chuck catches quite a few Scranton Yankees games. He left a comment on my piece that wondered if we have all overrated Jesus Montero. Here is what he said:

Not all of us overrated Montero, he may be the least impressive “top prospect” I’ve ever seen.

He’s played 170 or so AAA games and his numbers there trump the 250 or so he played in lower classifications. This is the closest step to the majors, hitting 20 homers in A ball three years ago is irrelevant at this point.

I’ve watched forty or so Scranton games over the past year and a half and he hits more balls to right field than any right-handed hitter I’ve seen.

He’s 6’3″, 235 and hits like David Eckstein.

He hit .365 in April in 17 games. Think that’s impressive? He had a .360 OBP.

In 74 at bats, he had six RBI’s.

In 58 games for the season, he has 17 XBH and 26 RBI. Take away his homers, he has 17 RBI.

This is a guy you have hitting third in your order?

In 26 home games, he’s hitting .236/1/8.

In sixteen games since June first, his OBP is .303.

Opposing teams attempted 1.3 stolen bases per game. That’s a huge number.

Whether he’s shown improvement behind the plate doesn’t matter, do something long enough and you’re bound to get better.

Remember training wheels?

The Yankees problems at catcher have been well documented since the end of last season.

If the Yankees even remotely thought Montero could handle the job, they wouldn’t have signed Russell Martin.

And if you remember, Montero wasn’t one of the last cuts in spring training, he was one of the first.

He has more value to the Yankees catching every day in AAA as opposed to once or twice a week in New York.

If he’s still in the organization on August first, I’ll eat my hat.

And yours too.

Montero is right up there with Jackson Melian and Drew Henson on the list of monumental Yankee prospect failures.

***

Off topic, but Mike Francesa’s interview with Tiki Barber yesterday was a synopsis of everything that ails Mike and that station. He berates callers, bullies guests, and spews uninformed opinions. His “I have been successful for a quarter century” quote during the piece tells you all you need to know. Mike is a small man that gets off on a bunch of anonymous people filling out ratings cards. Ratings that are a small sample extrapolated into a larger scale. In other words, very subjective. His statement that Tiki Barber was a “failure” in television is fact, yet Tiki saying that some view Mike as not being all that good is “subjective.” That’s the problem with that radio station in a nutshell. They take criticism as “subjective.” Instead of inviting me, a listener aka the customer, in to their offices to discuss the issues I see; they elect to label me “crazy,” or that I am angling for a job. Neither of which are true. What’s the point of doing updates or board work at WFAN with the hope of being noticed, when I can do my own show and build an audience?

It’s a delusional company that is clearly on the way down. Howard Megdal made a great analogy to me yesterday when he called WFAN the “Blockbuster Video of Radio.” Remember how Blockbuster used to treat their customers? A little thing called Netflix came in and evened the playing field. Mom and Pop video stores couldn’t compete with Blockbuster, but Netflix used technology to build its customer base. It was a friendlier version of the video giant. Now Blockbuster is shuttering up stores and offering videos for 99 cents. Hopefully, Mark Chernoff sees that as he drives back from the office with his Mike Francesa Bobble Head doll on the dashboard.

When every car has an internet connection, you know who is on an even playing field? You are looking at him. I suspect there will be more than a few that will elect to turn WFAN off, and listen to some new and fresh voices on the internet radio circuit. And none of them will need to be a dancing bear in Mark Chernoff’s Fantasy Phenom Circus.

Best part? Legacy ratings don’t guarantee future success. There already has been a drop in Mike’s ratings, but it’s because you all are listening to “FM music.” The world of denial is a great place, isn’t it?

By the way… I don’t criticize Tiki for bringing his agent on with him. Both the Morning Show and Mike’s afternoon drive have a history of ambushing guests they don’t like. Mike was just doing the bidding for his corporate buddies at NBC. Any controversial guest should not only bring an agent, but also a lawyer, or else their reputation will be smeared by WFAN.

 

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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10 Responses to Longest Game, Gardner’s Due, Montero Scouting Report, Subjective

  1. Stu B

    “Ironically, the reason this game didn’t end ten minutes to one is because the rule book excluded the curfew that normally”

    Something missing here…

  2. Daler

    The scouting report on Montero is an utter embarrassment n nybd should be ashamed. I know u have to differentiate in the market n u have done that with ur anti joba thing but this takes the cake

  3. Stu B

    @Daler: NYBD didn’t differentiate with Joba – he was overrated by the Yankees hype machine and, by extension, many of their fans.

  4. Hot Carl

    Wow. That scouting report is ridiculously bad. Projecting a 21 year olds career on 58 games is pathetic. He has a history of success at every level in the minors. Talk to me about this at the end of the season. Talking about subjective…Alex Rodriguez hits quite a few balls to right field.

  5. Hot Carl

    This is what Kevin Goldstein from ESPN had to say today about Montero: ““[The Yankees] just don’t seem to trust their young players,” said one big league executive. “Look at what the Braves did. When they needed a warm body, they had no issue with calling on [Julio] Teheran or [Randall] Delgado, even though those guys weren’t fully big-league-ready.”

    Nobody is saying to call up one of the new killer Bs for good, but to go through all of the machinations for [Brian Gordon] instead of leaning on what you already have for a handful of outings shows either a lack of confidence in their own prospects, or maybe more telling, an almost perverse fear of failure.

    The same applies to position players, as the Jesus Montero situation showcases some of the unique variables that the Yankees are dealing with.

    In nearly any other system, Montero would be a big leaguer and multiple scouts who have seen Montero play during his disappointing .291/.336/.414 showing at Triple-A say that there is a frustration and lack of effort to his game this year, with one talent evaluator just coming out and saying, “He looks like a player who knows he’s stuck in Pennsylvania.”

  6. Russ Cress

    Daler, it’s rather difficult to take anyone seriously who uses “u”, “ur” and “n” when making a post to a public forum. This isn’t a text or a tweet, it’s the 2011 technological version of a letter to the editor. It’s not hard to write out full words, short hand isn’t necessary as there is no limit on space plus if people who do that are self conscious, they can set up their web browser for spell-check.

    Someone can make the most profoundly impressive comment that changes the world, but when “u” write like that it makes it difficult to give your insight or opinion the respect it may deserve.

    Just some unsolicited advice towards the big picture, not personal. (It’s also a HUGE pet peeve of mine, so I needed to rant a little bit)

  7. Stu B

    @Russ: Here, here!

  8. Sid

    Dugout Central doesn’t seem to even exist as an actual blog. Doing a google search reveals that you have quoted Mr. Chuck Johnson more than a few times Mr. Silva. Among his choice comments over the years were the brilliant idea of moving Posada to RF and not wanting to give CC his contract. So Mr. Johnson is quite the idiot. Yet you continue to quote this moron. Could you be Mr. Johnson? It makes sense. This way you can bash a 21 year old hitting .290 in AAA and not put your name on it.

    Too bad Mr. Chuck Johnson couldn’t have been in that car with Mr. Dunn. Montero will be a superstar.

  9. Mike Silva

    Sid

    If you go to http://www.dugoutcentral.com it’s there.

    No, Chuck does exist LOL. He does good work, but I am not sure moving Posada to OF is what I would do. I was also fine with the CC contract, although giving him 7 more year after this might be something I pause about.

  10. Chuck Johnson

    Thank you, Sid, for your feedback, as uneducated and uninformed as it is.

    As far as I go, yes, I’m a real person. I’m not so sure about your desire to get to know me, however. I Googled myself and quit after seven pages with no luck, so I don’t know if I should compliment you on your diligence, or fear you because Internet stalking is a felony.

    Dugout Central is owned and founded by Mike Pagliarulo, and while his company still controls the site, the day to day admin functions have been turned over to the staff at WordPress.

    The death wish was a bit over the top, but I’ll consider the source.

    I’ll be in New York in September, if time permits I’ll try and swing by Bellevue and say hello.

    Thanks again, and keep the comments coming!!

    Chuck

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