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Friday, May 1, 2009

The Yankees, Unobstructed - May 1

Remember the Team, as They Were Before A-Rod

For the last six weeks, the Yankees have almost been like a normal team. Other than all the hoopla surrounding the new Stadium, the team has had no off-the-field distractions. That ended yesterday with the Daily News' feature on Selena Roberts' new book, A-Rod. As we prepare to spend the rest of the season talking about Alex Rodriguez and how corrosive his influence is on the Yankees, Major League Baseball, America's youth, baseball statistics for the last fifteen years and Alex's everywhere, we should make sure to honor the Yankees as they are now, a real team. So, without further ado, I present the April '09 "Yankees as an Almost-Real Team" Awards.

Hitting MVP: Nick Swisher, of course

Swish leads the Yankees in runs (21), doubles (8), home runs (7), runs batted in (19), touched bases (55), on-base percentage (.430), and slugging (.714). He's also third in total hits (24), behind Robinson Cano (34) and Derek Jeter (27) and second in walks, behind Mark Teixera . April has been great for Swisher, but it's fair to assume that he will cool off eventually. He also leads the team with nineteen strikeouts and guys who get fanned almost as often as they get hits rarely have incredibly high on-base percentages.

Pitching MVP: Andy Pettitte

At the end of a month in which the Yankees had the second worst earned run average in the majors (5.79 era), Pettitte stood out as a beacon of consistency. Pettitte has pitched at least six innings in each of his four starts, and has yet to surrender more than three earned runs in an appearance.

Hitting LVP: Mark Teixera

Teixera's slump won't go on forever; he is too good of a baseball player. Hitters who want to prove their worth when they first sign with the Yankees, have a tendency to swing too hard (reference the first months of Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez's tenures in the Bronx), but eventually Tex will settle in and hit naturally.

Pitching LVP: Chien Ming Wang, obviously

34.50 era, 'nuff said. Wang will get better as he builds up arm strength and fixes his mechanics, but he may have lost his starting spot, at least temporarily. With both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain putting up solid starts, the Yankees might want to consider making Wang a long-relief option from the bullpen, until (or in case) one of their young starters cools off.

Biggest Letdown: Tie - Yankees Front Office, City Hall and the new Yankee Stadium

The old Stadium is still standing and the Bronx is still awaiting its replacement parks. Meanwhile, the new Stadium has had far more downs than ups: obstructed views, over-priced seats and a jet-stream to right field are just a few of the drawbacks to the $1.5 billion Baseball Basilica.

Biggest Chump: Me

Anyone who has talked sports with me even a few times, knows one thing for sure: my predictions curse worse than the Madden and Sports Illustrated covers combined. So far, this baseball season has been no different. Last week, I predicted that "the Yankees should be able to squeeze out two wins this weekend" against the Red Sox. The Yankees were, of course, swept by Boston.

At the beginning of the season, I declared (the now benched) Brett Gardner to be the Yankees "speedy savior."

In addition, while hanging out at a bar with friends in early April, I also confidently declared that "there's no way Seattle can compete with the Angels!" Seattle is currently in first place in the American League West Division, with a 13-9 record, and the Angels are 9-12. Seattle's favorite Bronx journalist, Alex Kratz, is most likely quite happy.

Got some of your own April awards? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Also, be sure to check back every Friday for "The Yankees, Unobstructed" and every Wednesday for "Pinstripe Politics," your weekly source for Yankees Stadium replacement parks news.


  1. I would describe my feelings about the Mariners' first place status as a cross between utterly baffled and euphoric.

  2. Not to throw salt in Yankee fans' forthcoming emotional wounds, but the 2009 World Series will be a rematch of the 2004 World Series: Red Sox versus Cardinals.

    And the result will be more or less the same: The Red Sox will prevail once again, but this time in six games rather than four...

  3. Or, to summarize the status of the 2009 Yankees' championship aspirations with a quote from the new Dylan CD:

    "The door is closed forevermore/if indeed there ever was a door"

  4. Alex, don't be baffled. The Griffey-Seattle partnership is clearly unflappable.

    Anonymous, I'm still unconvinced by Boston this year. They had that win-streak and their hitters sure do terrify closers, but I can't see their starting pitchers carrying them through a whole season successfully and into the playoffs.


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