The Midnight Hour <$BlogRSDURL$>

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Moving Day 

Well, as I alluded to earlier this week, The Midnight Hour is on the move. Starting now you can find The Midnight Hour at http://www.themidnighthour.squarespace.com.

Anyone who has been kind enough to include me in their links/blogroll, if you could please update the link I'd appreciate it.

If you stop by please leave a comment to let me know what you think of the new format. The new site isn't fully up and running yet. I haven't fleshed out all the content areas or migrated the archives, and the links section is still under construction, but please give it a whirl.
# posted by Steve : 6:14 PM

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A's v. Yankees: A running stream of consciousness 

Interested to see Zito with his struggles so far this season. Handled A-Rod and Giambi well the first time through the lineup, spotting his fastball but not going to the curve that much through 2.

Sheffield almost spun himself into the ground on a homer to left center. Pitch was a hanging curve.

Posada follows by going to the mall and picking up a sweater and a jean jacket at the gap.

Matsui has a .411 OBP coming into this game. Singles off Zito, Yankees didn't waste much time timing the fastball. Morgan is criticizing Zito's location and selection. He says Barry is throwing to their strengths.
Clark and Cairo rememeber they are Clark and Cairo and don't get anyone home.

A-Rod looks like a pro at third. Tough play on Dye but made it smooth as glass.

Hatteberg homers, sign in the outfield "Fear Mecir" they're kidding right?

Just noticed that Jeter is out with a stomach ache. Cairo, 'rique, and Tony Clark in the lineup tonight, not good times.

Sheffield almost screws himself into the ground again, this time he whiffs

Every single yankee other than a-rod has an awkward stance

Giambi homers off zito to tie the game

duel of the game: Gabe White v. Chavez game tied at 2 first and third, Chavez stinks against lefties, lets see if Gabe gets out of this...nope, Chavez singles to left, matsui throws behind byrnes who overran the bag, but cairo misses the tag. Good call by the ump. Umps take too much heat, they get most of the tough calls right and i can't say the same about NFL ref's.

These unoffical Wendy's guy ads are fucking annoying.

A's up 3-2, Yanks have 2 innings to scratch together at least one run.

Morgan should get credit for his in game analysis, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of hitting, how hitters approach at bats, different swing types and their limitations, he's very very educational. Lineup construction, book reviews and critiquing approaches to winning aren't his strong suit, but between the lines he knows what he's talking about.

Quantrill is money. This bullpen plays like it's the most expensive bullpen ever assembled. Oh. Right.

Infield single for matsui, Hammond D'oh!

Anytime the Yankees are playing a team with Arthur Rhodes as the closer they must feel pretty good.

Mecir is coming in. I have NO fear! Well, Joe leaves Tony the Ex-Tiger in and has him bat lefty, not good. I mean if ever you should pinch hit now is the time to do it. Ruben has his hat on. Tony Clark chases a bunch of crap and strikes out, ugly.

Ruben pinch hits for Cairo. I feel like the ruben express is almost out of gas.

1-12 lifetime v. Mecir. Morgan makes a good point, just because Ruben is hot doesn't make this a good matchup. Ruben's a fastball hitter and Mecir throws screwballs, no fastballs for Ruben unless Mecir falls behind. Well, Ruben gets a 2-0 fastball, and fouls it off. prolly won't get another fasty. Why don't more guys throw the screwball? Sierra bounces out. Potentially a DP but Bobby Crosby boots it, noone out. I think Morgan would make a great coach. I'm not kidding either.

Homer Bush in to pinch run, that's a porno name right? Rique gonna try to cash it in...he prolly won't. Actually he sucks. But you know pitchers must hate pitching to the Yankees, now that Soriano is gone there isn't a guy in the lineup who swings at balls. Unfortunately Wilson didn't swing at a strike and he's outta there. Wilson, for the record, didn't like the call.

Bernie! Bernie! :( Bernie flys out to right. Yanks have left a carton of eggs on base tonight. (that means 12 runners. yeah, it's late, bite me.)

It's sad that the Valvoline ad that shows the little baby underneath the car being taught how to change the oil by it's dad, has to have a disclaimer that says, "Don't Attempt." I weep for the future.

Did I mention Quantrill is money?

Bunting with two outs is like, I don't know, spending the last of the rent money on crack. It's probably not going to help.

Arthur Rhodes really does look like that dude from E.R.

A-Rod don't play no whole lotta mess, do he? First pitch, dead center, later. We gotta brand new ball game.

Think Arthur Rhodes wants to renegotiate his contract to include a " I don't pitch to the #*@#($'n Yankees anymore," clause? 14 HR's in his career. At least he can fall back on medicine.

Giambi walks because he's so money. And the Godfather doesn't pinch run for him. If Morgan says "Dead Red" one more time, I'm calling ESPN. Rhodes has the Contreras Face working.

I would definitely make an exception to my "athletes should not ever fucking rap" rule for Sheffield. He's the 2Pac of baseball. 2Sheff, GIDdyuP's on a sweet play by Chavez.

Posada used to chase balls out of the zone early in his career and he almost never does it anymore. He walks and it's up to Matsui......On the phone with ESPN......

ESPN: Hello ESPN
ME: Can you tell Joe Morgan to stop saying "Dead Red"
ESPN:....
ME: Seriously
ESPN: Sir did you know we're offering a free fleece with every paid subscription?
ME: Screw that, what about the Joe Morgan thing?
ESPN: Who's Joe Morgan?
ME: Nevemind. I'll take the fleece.

Matsui singles, Tony Clark up with runners at the corners, Clark swings at a pitch over his head. I'm not really kidding. It was like, OVER HIS HEAD.

Clark doubles, Yankees lead. It's Mo Betta time.

I see Kenny Lofton has taken a page from the Jayson Stark fashion handbook and shaved off his cookie duster. It just looks weird.

Rivera has a .55 ERA! Damian Miller just hit the hardest ball I've ever seen Rivera give up. Single up the middle. Mo's even a great frickin fielder! Are you kidding me? First and second, Kotsay bunts, Rivera chases it down, boots it, stays with it and flips to A-rod to get the lead runner, he is cool as the other side of the pillow.

Mo must have been still feeling the adrenaline and he almost takes Eric Byrnes head off. Byrnes grounds out.

First and third for Chavez...pop out, Homer does the macarena trying to catch the popup but finally gets it. Game over.

Good Night.
# posted by Steve : 9:23 PM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Gentlemen, Lets Broaden our Minds! 

Out of respect for the two or three loyal readers I have, I should apologize for not posting in several days, and explain that my hiatus is a result of some organizational changes here at The Midnight Hour. I've fired the CEO and replaced him with a Howler Monkey. But I kid.

No offense to Blogger, but I have started to feel that it is tedious and bougeois. I also had a vision for the Midnight Hour that transcended the meager capabilities of Blogger and since the folks at Blogger aren't currently selling upgraded memberships I found it necessary to find new hosting. The result will be a more content rich, more eclectic and most importantly, more visually appealing site.

I've almost got the new digs freshened up enough for company...so stay tuned there will be a redirect and new URL coming shortly!

Seriously, to all the people who read this blog daily or weekly or whenever Pinto or Belth link to me, THANKS. All comments, even the ones that say I'm stupid for advocating putting Enrique Wilson or as I like to call him, 'Rique, at the top of the batting order, are appreciated.


# posted by Steve : 4:45 PM

Thursday, April 29, 2004

It's Good to be the Bing 

Dig it, I like Bubba Crosby. I'm going to default to old school scout parlance and say that he's got a good baseball face, and is a gamer. What I don't like about Bubba is....Bubba. I mean look, Bubba's a good name for an O-Line man or a hunting guide, but I don't think it's befitting of the Yankees new everyday centerfielder..(You reading this Joe?)

As The Donald might say, the Yankees are a "classss organization, they are world class, the best in the woorrrrrld." They need a centerfielder with a bit of style and panache. So with that, let's retire "Bubba" and rename him, Bing. As in Bing Crosby. Think of the possibilities, Bing, Bingo, Buh Buh Buh Boo. When he hits a home run all the broadcast guys can say, "Bingo gets into one, and you can kiss it good buh-buh-buh bye." It'd be fun don't you think?

Memo to Jose: You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough and Doggone it, People Like You!

Ok, so Jose Contreras pitched reasonably well last night and got the win against the A's but I'm not sure how to feel about this. First off, I fully expected Jose to win last night. Jose's biggest problem in the macro sense is that he's very inconsistent, he'll mix in a bunch of woeful starts with a few gems here and there and I figured he was about due for a gem. Which he sorta almost got last night. Here was his line:

IP 6
H 4
R 1
ER 1
K 4
BB 1

Not too shabby on it's face. Jose threw 105 pitches, 61% for strikes which is also good. Despite the fact that he looked wild he only walked one batter. But that's the interesting thing, he DID look wild at times. Eric Chavez referred to it as effectively wild. Even more interesting is that Contrereas game and frustrating inconsistency is pretty clearly psychological, and here's why I say that. In the sixth inning Bobby Kielty lead off with a gift infield single and moved over to second on a wild pitch. So with one out and a runner on second and the Yankees holding on to a 4-1 lead, Contreras had to face Jermaine Dye. Dye's a great hitter but Jose made him look stupid, with a 90+ mph fastball followed by a 78mph splitter that Dye just waved at.

Clearly this man has the stuff to just dominate guys. But it's pretty clear to me that he doesn't believe that. Consider this, Jose sailed through the first two innings on 22 pitches, 15 of which were strikes and 3 of those were foul balls.

Then, leading off the third, Bobby "Don't call me Bing" Crosby lead off with a home run, and Jose wasn't the same from then on. Whereas he had been efficient and effective leading up to the homer, after the shot, he labored. It took him 84 pitches to get out of the next 4 innings and the funny thing was he wasn't walking guys or giving up hits, he was just trying to throw every pitch perfectly to avoid the bats. The result was that after the homer he only gave up 3 more hits and walked one. His strike to ball ratio was 59% to 41% but there were 14 foul balls. Before Crosby's homer, no A saw more than 5 pitches in a plate appearance. After the homer, there were three 9 pitch at bats, two 6 pitch at bats and one 7 pitch at bat.

All the foul balls probably mean one of two things, Jose was throwing fastballs for strikes that the A's couldn't get around on, or Jose was throwing just off the plate trying to be so fine that the A's couldn't take the pitches but they couldn't really hit them either.

I think if Jose can get it into his head that his stuff is so good that it will endure contact, and thus stop trying to be perfect with everything, he'll cut his pitch counts down and become a much more successful starter. Right now under ideal conditions, he looks like a 6 inning pitcher, which granted, could well be good enough considering the Yankees alleged offense and established bullpen, but that's best case scenario. If he can stop getting rattled he'll be fine but if not he'll be a 4 inning pitcher who will lose his composure with every RBI single.

To his credit, he didn't get rattled last night, I thought for sure he was going to lose it when he threw the wild pitch, so the strike out of Dye may prove to have been the most pivotal duel in his young MLB career.


# posted by Steve : 10:35 AM

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Stick a Fork in Him, He's Finito Santiago 

Back when I lived in D.C. I used to listen to this sports/talk radio show called "The Sports Junkies." The Junkies were hilarious in part because their show was more about their own misadventures in life than it was about ranting and raving about the latest stupid move by the Orioles or Wizards. They also used their own made up slang that was part Swingers and part whatever they made up when they were teenagers growing up together. Something good was "money" something bad was, "hurting" pronounced "hurrrt-ting!" If you went into your bosses office and asked for a raise and he said no, you we're "finished" which evolved to "finito" which evolved to "finito santiago."

Well unbeknownst to many, Finito Santiago is currently playing for the New York Yankees. His name is Bernie Williams. Let me be crystal clear, I love Bernie. He has been my favorite Yankee since he came up. But enough is enough. The man has no business playing centerfield in the big leagues. And that means that he has no business playing for the Yankees. Ouch.

It's painful to watch him twist in the wind like this. Not to put too fine a point on it but the Yankees would be just about as well off if they put a piece of flypaper in centerfield, Bernie's range is nothing. He also, thanks to chronically arthritic shoulders, can't throw worth beans. I'm surprised he hasn't resorted to tossing the ball to Matsui or Sheffield and letting them worry about getting it back in to the infield.

The fact that Bernie has to throw the ball most likely aggravates his hurrrt-ting shoulders, which most likely makes hitting all the more difficult. Bernie hasn't looked confident in the batters box all year. So what to do with a guy who could potentially be a productive hitter, if he didn't have to incompetently play the field? Well DH of course. But it ain't that simple. DH'ing Bernie means that Jason Giambi has to play firstbase if you want his formidable bat in your lineup, and I want Jason Giambi playing first base every day, about as much as I want Bernie playing CF. Giambi isn't as much of a liability in the field as Bernie is in part because he's just not, and in part because, well first base isn't as demanding as the middle outfield slot.

Nevertheless, Giambi has a chronically bad knee, and while we can all hope and pray that Victor Conte passed Jason some magic knee healing pills, we know that historically these kinds of things are degenerative. They just get worse over time no matter what you do. Since Giambi is still a valuable hitter, and since the Yankees have him under contract for 5 years and they ain't paying him $17 million dollars per to be J.T. Snow , the best thing they can do to protect their investment in Giambi's offensive production, is to make things as easy on him as possible. Let him not risk worsening his knees and let him simply concentrate on hitting. So Giambi is your de facto DH and that is only going to get more and more necessary as the years go by. So what does that mean to Bernie?

Again, I love Bernie Williams, love him. He used to be the most graceful player in the game. He would run on tip toes, gilding to balls, he could turn around anyone's fastball, go the other way. While never a good basestealer, he was fast, really really fast. But for every Barry Bonds who can deny father time his day, there are guy like Bernie. Father Time, it seems, has come to collect the rent. Now. In full and maybe a bit early. Bernie may prove me wrong and start to turn things around....remember he had a short spring due to the appendectomy so maybe he's still looking for his bearings at the plate. But defensively it seems sadly clear that Bernie's productive days are behind him.

For the good of the Yankees, any and all trade scenarios should be considered, even if that means eating a large portion of his contract because what is at stake is another large contract, Jason Giambi's contract. And gambling with two high priced players is not a good idea for a team that is levereged up to it's eyeballs in high priced aging sluggers.

Bernie, we hardly knew ye.
# posted by Steve : 6:01 PM

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Required Reading 

If you're a Yankee fan or a Red Sox fan for that matter, you should read Rob Neyer's latest piece on the Yankee's real problems. Guess what, it ain't hitting.

As I said last week, what keeps me up at night regarding the Yankees is that they presently have two starters who are anything to feel good about. And since one of those guys is the ever fragile (fra-geel-ay, must be Italian) Kevin Brown, the wheels could come flying off this team at any moment. Mike Mussina will most likely pitch better as the season goes on, but Contreras is a crapshoot, if Brown of Vasquez go down with an injury, there's gonna be some trouble in the Bronx.

Let's hope the Yanks bats wake up against Mulder, Hudson and Zi....nevermind.


# posted by Steve : 9:30 AM

Monday, April 26, 2004

More G n R 

While I'm biding my time waiting for a few free moments to run some numbers on the new Yankee lineup and make some modifications, I thought I'd throw up a quick post.

In yesterday's post I compared the songs on Guns n' Roses Appetitie For Destruction to the Yankees lineup. Thinking about it further I started playing a little Match Game, which Yankees match up best with the songs on that record:

Welcome to the Jungle--Jason Giambi. Well, pre Yankees Giambi...The clean shaven G-man doesn't have the dangerous edge he had in Oakland.

It's So Easy--A-Rod. For years he's made it look that way. Let's hope it still is.

Nighttrain-- Sheffield. The ultimate sleaze rock song, Sheffield looks like the only Yankee who would be more than happy to whip someone's ass.

Out Ta Get Me--Enrique Wilson. And it's even got the word "out" in the title.

Mr Brownstone--Posada. He used to do a little but the little didn't do it so the little got more and more.

Paradise City-- Bernie Williams back in the day. The most graceful baseball player I ever saw and he could pound the living tar out of the ball

Sweet Child o Mine--Jeter. The crossover hit. Everyone loved this song although it's not the best on the album. It's still the icon.

You're Crazy--Matsui. After watching him slam dance with the seats in Comiskey last week, I'm beginning to wonder.

Anything Goes--Javier Vasquez. Shades of Coney out there on the hill, dontcha think? He is inventive and unpredictable...and good.
# posted by Steve : 1:28 PM

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