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Yankees Fans Want Pom-Poms, Two Headed DH, Connie Marrero, Civil War, Stray Dogs



By Mike Silva ~ August 30th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Over the last week I discussed how I would vote for Curtis Granderson for American League MVP; how Ivan Nova has a great shot at AL Rookie of the Year; and provided platitudes about the work of Russell Martin. Although each was widely read, there was no “pat on the back,” or “good point.” Nothing. Just Crickets.

But when  I wrote about how Joe Girardi‘s management style leaves much to be desired, or the handling of the  A.J. Burnett/Girardi mound fiasco there is anger, defiance, and accusations that I am anti-Yankees.

I get told how the mainstream media is doing a bad job covering the team (not completely untrue, but unfair, the beat reporters work hard with tons of obstacles in front of them), and that sites like River Avenue Blues (which I enjoy by the way) are the wave of the future. I do agree sites like RAB are the wave of the future, but the goal of this site isn’t to give you a view from the eyes of a Mets or Yankees fan, but independent analysis as a fan of the game. The passion that is missing from a local beat reporter that is doing a job, versus me, who lived in this town his entire life, gives the site a certain energy- at least I think.

You want pom-poms; go to a Yankees fan site. Read your coverage with pinstriped colored glasses. This month I have been accused of being anti-Yankees for the Girardi coverage, and then anti-Mets for running a negative story by Joseph Delgrippo about Matt Harvey‘s development.

This is a pom-pom free zone. I make no bones about my allegiance in terms of teams, but that has never clouded my judgment. I am often harder on the Mets then Yankees, and it’s the Mets that are more cooperative with media access.

I believe I am fair and balanced when it comes to Yankees analysis. The same people, who claim I am not, are behaving in the actual manner which they accuse me of.

Doesn’t matter, it comes with the territory. Just an observation; not a complaint.

Ironic, don’t you think?

***

Moshe Mandel of The Yankee Analyst made a great point on Twitter about the combined production at DH by Jorge Posada and Andruw Jones.

Yankees DHs are hitting .247 with 22 homers and 64 RBI.

I realize not all of that production is from Posada and Jones, but they do combine to make a good tandem when hitting against RHP and LHP respectively.

Posada vs. RHP – HR- 12, RBI- 37, OPS- .776

Jones vs. LHP – HR- 8, RBI-24, OPS- .920

In the postseason you keep Gardner in LF, and platoon these two guys at DH? Does he bench Posada and go with Eric Chavez? After a quick start upon his DL return, Chavez has an OPS under .600 (.243 batting average).

I bet Posada gets more opportunities than everyone thinks.

***

For the history buffs in the audience I suggest reading this piece about base ball and the Civil War over at civilwarwashingtondc1861-1865.blogspot.com. 

No, I didn’t spell “baseball” wrong, it was actually called “base ball” (two words) in newspaper reports throughout the piece. You can see how the soldiers and prisoners spent time playing a variation of the game. There is a debate about whether Abraham Lincoln actually was playing “base ball” when he was informed about his nomination by the Republican Party. One takeaway from the piece is the role the war played in spreading the game around the country.

This is an excerpt to whet your appetite courtesy of our friends at Baseball Think Factory

The Civil War helped facilitate the spread of the “New York game” as soldiers idled away time in camp, prisons, and even the front lines. Just as other social organizations, such as fireman units, enlisted together, so to did some baseball clubs. On April 5, 1861 the Jefferson Base Ball Club demonstrated their dedication to the Union by erecting a flag pole at their regular Franklin Square playing grounds at 14th and I Streets NW.

Amongst the thousands of New York troops arriving in Washington in 1861 were baseball players who brought their New York game with them. Naturally, matches between regiments soon ensued. An item in the Washington National Republican on June 28, 1861 announced a game to be played between New York units and hinted at the future NY Yankees/Giants-Brooklyn Dodgers rivalries:

“BASE BALL MATCH- There will be a match played at Camp Wool on tomorrow afternoon at 4 o’clock, between the first nine of the Baldwin B.B. Club (Co. D) and the first nine of the Steers B.B. Club (Co. E). Those interested in the noble game of base ball are invited to witness the contest. As the above clubs are composed of some of the best players of Brooklyn and New York, it is expected that the game will be very interesting.”

There were also matches between various New York units and the local Washington clubs The New Yorkers usually won these matches by lopsided scores such as when members of the New York 71st Regiment beat the Nationals 42 to 13 on July 12, 1861. However, the Nationals got revenge a year later, defeating the 71st 28-13 on August 7, 1862. The rematch brought out a large number of spectators, including a number of women, and guards from the regiment were posted to keep the crowds from encroaching on the playing field.

***

It amazes me how little effort MLB puts into things when the reward isn’t in their favor. Take this story from the Daily News story about Connie Marrero, who at age 100 is the oldest living ballplayer. Marrero was thought to be one of the 900 former players who didn’t have enough service time to qualify for a baseball pension. The News reports he’s currently living in Havana, Cuba on $125-a-month government stipend, sharing a small two-bedroom apartment with a five other relatives.

It turns out Marrero was fully vested. Check out this blurb:

However, since Marrero’s plight has been brought to light, the powers-that-be at the Players Association are on the case and, as it turns out, Marrero, who joined the majors at age 39 in 1950 and compiled a 39-40 record with mostly lowly Washington Senators teams through 1954, was actually a fully-vested five-year player in the pension plan the entire time and conceivably would have been receiving payments for the last 38 years, after he turned 62. The only problem – he never recieved a dime because, after his retirement, he went home to Cuba and never came back. With the enactment of the Cuban embargo in the aftermath of the Castro revolution, it became nearly impossible to transfer money from the U.S. to Cuba, and Marrero, who was apparently never told he was owed a pension, was essentially “out of sight, out of mind” all these years as far as the administrators of the pension were concerned. Nobody made any effort to review his service time and pension eligibility or figure out a way to get his money to him.

To be fair, relations between Cuba and the United States do make it difficult to do business with a resident of that country. I blame Castro and Cuba for that, not the U.S. I do believe, however, if they really wanted to make an effort to fulfill their obligation there was a way to contact Marrero. It might have required time and effort, but there was a way. If Mr. Marrero violated a MLB trademark or owed them money do you think they would have found a way? Again, baseball is just behaving like every Fortune 500 company in today’s day and age so I really shouldn’t be surprised, or make it seem they are alone. They put effort into what is good for them, not always what is right.

Earlier in the year, the Players Association and MLB came to an agreement to pay them $10k over the next two years. A pittance when you consider how much wealth is flowing through the game today.

According to the Associated Press, “The payments will be funded mostly from money paid from the luxury tax assessed each year on high-spending teams. Just to clarify, of the $209.8 million in tax money raised since 2003, $192.2 million has been contributed by the New York Yankees. Basically, Yankees fans are helping these players.

Until 1980, players needed four years to vest in the pension plan. Since then, players need just one day in the majors to vest. If you are fully vested (10 years) you get $195k  annually at the age of 62.

Doug Gladstone, who wrote the book “A Bitter Cup of Coffee,” has done yeoman’s work in spreading the word about these retirees. Legally, both the Players Association and MLB didn’t have to do a thing since it wasn’t collectively bargained until 1980. In an era where big companies hide behind rules to justify greedy behavior, both entities used common sense and at least gave these guys something. Not a lot, but something. They still don’t have health benefits and a pension. They also can’t designate any of this to a beneficiary after death. Again, there is nothing legally MLB or the Players Association is obligated to do.

To learn more about this you can listen to Doug on my radio program from May of 2010.

***

It appears that stray dogs are roaming Citi Field. A fan was attacked by one recently and told the New York Post about it:

The stray dogs have been wandering across 126th Street from Willets Point’s no-man’s land of auto-body shops, and onto the stadium grounds for years, stadium security guards told The Post.

“The police and the security guards told me this happens all the time,” Feerick said. “The stadium employees stayed behind barricades, and after the dogs passed, a cop on a Segway came over to ask, ‘Are you OK?’ “

If I had to guess the story is probably made to be more dramatic than how it actually occurred.

Aren’t these the same “chop shops” that are so vital to the community? The same chop shops that want to fight the redevelopment of the area? Hopefully, Animal Control works out the issues. The animals are a product of the environment around the stadium.

One of the things that hurt’s Citi Field as a venue is the lack of community around it. Some point out it would be a prettier park if the outfield was open, like Shea Stadium. That is correct, but is there really a picturesque view covered up like PNC Park in Pittsburgh or AT&T Park in San Francisco? If burning cars, ugly so-called automotive shops, and an elevated subway is pretty I guess you could make that point.

McFadden’s has at least given the fans a place to hang out before or after the game. It’s a start, but until that area is cleaned up and made viable; with shops, restaurants, and scenery; Citi Field is basically going to be a stadium plopped in the middle of a cesspool.

If there was a positive environment around the place attendance might be better during down periods like the last 3 years.

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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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3 Responses to Yankees Fans Want Pom-Poms, Two Headed DH, Connie Marrero, Civil War, Stray Dogs

  1. A.F.

    How is Connie Marrero MLB’s problem? He chose to live in communist Cuba, and the embargo applies to him like it does to everyone else. Of all the things to bash MLB about, this makes little sense.

  2. Mister D

    Mike, I love your coverage of the Yankees, and its why I still listen to your podcast even though I’ve dropped some by Yankee-related sites. I complained about the Girardi thing because I thought you were disingenuous in saying it wasn’t about whether or not he lied, after you and your guest repeatedly called him a liar.

  3. Mike Silva

    Mr. D

    Keep the comments coming. The debate is what this is about. I just find it funny how some work, specifically on Twitter. Their coverage of my coverage (so to speak LOL) is anything but fair and balanced.

    I also think I learned more about the situation when I heard Cashman the day after the podcast. I think Girardi did a good job of appearing to lie, I can’t tell whether he did. It turns out he was more agitated about the question than covering up the event.

    Great podcast coming up this weekend (pre-recorded). Got a chance to talk to Jack McDowell about the ’95 Yanks – some interesting nuggets.

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