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Monday, December 31, 2007

2007, Well that sucked, part I 

2007 was a lousy year for New York sports. In so many ways, it was crummy, bitter and less than glory filled. Worse yet for New Yorkers, their arch-rivals in Boston were enjoying the best sports year in their history. Moreover the larger sports world was filled with stories of disgrace and criminality.

The Mets perpertated the worst collapse in baseball history, wiping the ignominous 1964 Phillies and Gene Mauch from the record books. The Mets, who led all season long, blew a seven game lead with only seventeen to play, and ironically handed the N.L. East to those Phillies.

To the casual, outside observer the Yankees season might have seemed a damn sight better, after all they at least made the playoffs. But for Yankees ownership and fans, making the playoffs is the baseline, not the peak. The Yankees seemed set to take out the Cleveland Indians, their most favorable first round opponent. An epic battle with the Red Sox would have ensued, but instead a swarm of bugs departed Lake Erie meandered over to Jacobs field and descended on the mound and Yankees ace reliever Joba Chamberlin. Chamberlin beyond rattled was quite literally, bugged. It wasn't quite locusts and the Egyptians, but it was the kind of thing that empitomized New York sports in 2007.

It led to the firing of the biggest icon in the current New York sports pantheon, the beloved Yankees skipper, Joe Torre. Torre had led the Yanks to 12 straight post seasons, but it wasn't enough for the son of George and the toadying minions running the organization while the original Steinbrenner ages. So class and past glory were swept aside, now the Yankees are eight years removed from a championship and starting anew again. On top of that, the Red Sox put the final nail in the coffin of the "Curse of the Bambino" winning the World Series yet again.

The Yankees ownership ignoring ominous signs of a "Curse of the A-Rod" resigned baseball most overpaid star to a contract worth more than the value of several current franchises. The Yankees despite bidding against only themselves, set faux deadlines, only to renege on their own public statements and take the full dozen eggs to the face. A-Rod may break Bonds' home run record, but through 2007 they have brought their franchises exactly the same number of championships in a combined thirty-six seasons, zero. Things haven't looked this bleak for the Yankees since the Winter of 1982 when Steve Kemp was their big free agent signing. A signing that marked the beginning of a 15 year drought between World Series appearances. It was the drought that Joe Torre and crew ended.

The Knicks. The Knicks. Could it go any lower was the 2007 mantra for the Knicks. They missed the playoffs for umpteenth straight year. They are saddled with bad contracts through at least 2010. According to guru Bill Simmons the Knicks have five of the twenty-five worst contracts in the NBA. Fire Isaiah chants are ringing through the Garden nightly. Owner James Dolan does he care!?! Is he deaf and dumb? We know one for sure. What can Knicks fans do? You can't fire the owner. Well, at least their arch rival, the Celtics, didn't pull of a miracle winter trade (thanks McHale-once a Celtic, always a Celtic, eh?) and start the season 20 up and 3 down...cause that, that would hurt, worse than say drafting Fredric Weis.

The Nets? The Nets are irrelevant on the New York sports scene. Hofstra basketball generates has more cache. But FYI the 2006 Nets faded. The 2007 Nets made no changes and suck worse, though not as bad as the Knicks.

The Rangers at least made a run. In fact, the 2007 playoff run epitomized the history of Ranger-dom. It started with low expectations after seven straight seasons missing the playoffs. It was a surprisingly good regular season, followed by an early round playoff push, and just when New York started to pay attention...wham, they got beat. Ahhh, the NHL, and their historic champions of recent vintage, the Mighty Ducks, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Carolina Hurricanes, none of these teams existed in their current iteration twenty years ago and only the Hurricanes are even money to exist twenty years from now. Ranger fans over the age of twenty-one remember the singsong torment of "1940" and can take solace that the team won a Stanley Cup within our memory. We're immune. You can't hurt us now. It'll be thirty more years before chants of "1994" start to sting!!

The New Jersey football teams, the Giants and the Jets are spinning their wheels. The Jets have regressed massively from year one under the Man-genius. Follow this link for the Clarion's fuller thoughts on the franchise's direction. The Giants have yet to face that Eli Manning is a flop. After collapsing to miss the playoffs down the stretch two years in a row, it tells you all you need to know about this Giants season that the highlight of the year will be a close loss to the Patriots in week 16. (Another Boston based champion. Poised to be the best NFL team ever.)

At least the news from the rest of the sports world wasn't uniformly bad...Pacman Jones, Michael Vick, NBA refs fixing games, cheater Barry Bonds breaking records (but not the real home run record,) the Mitchell report, the Tour de France (whose last real champ was Greg LeMond.)

Yup, 2007, well that sucked.

Here's to a fresh slate in 2008!!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hooray for David Letterman!! 

David Letterman and his company, Worldwide Pants, settled with the striking Writers Guild of America. Writers are returning to work on the "Late Show With David Letterman" and "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson." Letterman was able to negotiate his own settlement because Worldwide Pants owns the two shows. Letterman is himself a thirty year veteran of the Writers Guild of America. Actors have been reluctant to cross picket lines on other talk shows that have resumed production without striking writers.

Letterman's company agreed to critical provisions about their writers entitlement to a share of future internet revenues. This is the red line that the networks refuse to cross. They want to keep both the goose and the golden eggs. The Clarion has such different views on intellectual property than the present American standards that it is illogical for us to have a position on the writers' strike. The Clarion heard a snappy comment last week at a dinner party that summed up why fairly well, "You can't throw a veneer of libertarianism on the status quo and expect it to work." (Or even make sense.)

On a visceral level we're happy that Letterman did what he felt was right by his writers.


Things that need to be invented, part II 

Someone needs to invent a built in recording unit on the steering wheel of your car.

The Clarion can take no credit for this, other than for showing up at the right kind of parties, where people are batting around brilliant ideas like this one. This particular bright idea is rooted in preserving other bright ideas. How many times have we all been in the car driving along when inspiration struck? The Clarion has tried to scribble notes on everything from the back of a checkbook to the owners manual of the car. They usually come out looking like they were written by a dyslexic on Psilocybin. Not to mention the risk to other drivers caused by careening all over the road while trying to scrawl a coherent thought.

Now here comes a genius answer.

Voice activated or push button, either way, drop in a recording unit. The technology has to be out there already. The steering wheel and the dashboard of a modern car already encompass a range of computers that can do just about anything you want to do. If you can control the cars speed, the radio-CD player and use your Bluetooth through the buttons on the steering wheel and the dash, how hard can it be for the car companies to drop a flash drive or a tiny cassette tape into the steering wheel.

Roll tape. Let the brilliance begin.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Oil prices 

Unfortunately, for those who continue to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the increasingly wide-ranging effects of sky high commodity prices on the American economy the Clarion sees ominous warning signs.

It is not just the war budget. It is not just the weakening dollar. It is not just the rising cost of basic staples and food. It is not only the housing slump. It is not simply the massive losses suffered by investment banks in fancy mortgage vehicles.

It is news like this from Bloomberg today: sales at US stores fell for the fourth straight week threatening to hand retailers their worst holiday shopping season in five years. The bricks-n-mortar stores are not alone in this malaise either, this is the slowest rise in year on year internet sales on record.


NFL 15 games in... 

15 games into the 2007 NFL season, we offer you a few retrospective thoughts on this NFL season, as well as the Clarion's analysis of playoff games yet to come.

The season started with the Clarion predicting a Patriots-Panthers Super Bowl; in hindsight one accurate pick and one homer call. The Clarion also railed against the Brett Favre era in our pre-season divisional breakdowns, throwing shovel after shovel of dirt on what we thought was the grave of Favre's career. But like a zombie rising from the loamy earth, Favre proved us wrong. In fact, until yesterday we looked terrible.

Today, if we offered you to start the playoffs with any of the quarterbacks of the NFL's 2007 division winners, who would you take Favre ahead of? Surely not Tom Brady and Payton Manning! But what about Tony Romo, Matt Hasselback and Big Ben Rothelsberger. If the playoffs started tomorrow for your team, would you rather have Favre at the helm than any of those three? And what about the consummate game manager down in Tampa Bay, Jeff Garcia? Would you rather have Garcia capably, carefully guiding your offense or Brett slinging the ball all over the field in one last vainglorious attempt to seal his legacy? The Clarion would take Garcia, any day of the week, but especially on Sunday. It should be noted that we do rate Favre ahead of Rothelsberger, though remember they have won the same number of Super Bowls, exactly one. Do we take back our pre-season obituary for Favre? Guess we have to at this point. Do we think he is leading his team to big wins in January? No, not so much. (Recall in Favre's last home playoff game, Michael Vick thumped him.)

Speaking of big late season wins, oh, pity the poor Browns fans. Cleveland spit the bit yesterday against underachieving, in-state rival, Cincinnati. The Browns QB Derek Anderson threw two interceptions late in the first half that led to Cincy points. His final desperation bomb at the end of regulation was nowhere near a Brown receiver. Now after what looked like a season long feel good revival for Cleveland and head coach Romeo Crennel, they will need help from a coasting Indianapolis Colts squad to get into the tournament. As the suffering continues in eastern Ohio, at least someone, somewhere is consoled this holiday season.Yes, Philly fans, you can look at
the mistake on the lake and say,"At least we're not Cleveland."

And while no Philly, you're not Cleveland, the only major sports city with a longer championship drought, this season has been a mess for you, too. Once again, the silly front office powers that be failed to provide Donovan McNabb with offensive firepower. Working his lemons to lemonade magic, McNabb helped average wideout Kevin Curtis earn the first 1,000 receiving season of his career, yesterday. The one season Philly provided McNabb with a star wideout, albeit the mercurial T.O., McNabb led his team to the Super Bowl. One of these years, he is going to get sick of Philly management's callous attitude towards his career and his supporting cast.
Panthers fans can only hope it will be sooner rather than later. (Dreaming of McNabb pairing up with Steve Smith right now...)

The Panthers are obviously in desperate need of a quarterback. The team and the Panthers' fans are hoping for a full Jake Delhomme recovery from injury, but have been treated to a parade of horrors this season, from the Ryan Leaf-esque David Carr to the geriatric Vinny Testeverde to the unknown Matt Moore. This Panthers supporter would love to see Carolina pursue Chad Pennington if McNabb isn't available this off-season. Word is though, if the Chiefs keep Pennington's former coach, Herm Edwards, after a bitter season in Kansas City, they will be after Pennington, too.

In the Clarion's view, the Jets are crazy. Last year's mad genius, Eric Mangini, is looking more and more like the Cleveland version of Bill Belichick. His pre-season vengeful dismissal of guard Pete Kendall, following the ousting of outspoken center Kevin Mawae, demonstrate at this point in his career, he values for subservience over talent. It won't work. College coaching is better for megalomaniacs, right Bobby Petrino? Dick Saban? Doesn't work so much with the paid to play big boys. They're called professionals and you're shtick won't fly.

It took Belichick two head coaching jobs to slowly apprehend the same lesson: talent rules in the NFL. Belichick learned and compromised bringing in formerly thought of as miscreants types like Corey Dillion and this year, Randy Moss. Mangini will have to learn, too, coaching is important, leadership is necessary, but talent trumps all in the NFL. Right now, Mangini is relishing in his Napoleonic authority, and until he gets his comeuppance he will continue to be his own worst enemy.

His attitude decimated his offensive line, rendering QB Pennington and leading off-season acquisition, running back, Thomas Jones ineffective. He banished the team's second best defensive player, Jonathan Vilma. Now because the whole league knows of their mutual enmity, he and player personnel guru, Mike Tannenbaum, are going to be unable get much in return for an All-Pro linebacker. Mangini is now moving to dispose of the team's best receiver. He dislikes the reliable and tough, Pennington favorite, Laveranues Coles for much the same reason he black-balled Kendall and Mawae, too outspoken in the locker room.

It says here that Mangini's dictator act and attitude, along with his Soviet style secrecy and degrading treatment of the New York area media will wear thin quickly. Already, there are questions post the Vilma affair of him "losing" the locker room. Mangini will be out on the street looking for work by the end of next season. (And he may get it, go someplace else and succeed wildly, but not in New York, not with the Jets.)

Final note, wanted to recognize an excellent under the radar season by Jets wideout and N.C. State alum Jerricho Cotchery.

Still sticking with the Patriots to obliterate the NFC Super Bowl representative.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Presidential Predictions 

The Clarion is predicting John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton as, respectively, the Republican and Democratic party nominees for the 2008 race for the presidency. Perhaps this is a less shocking call than it might have been a month ago, after all, these are in fact, the closest thing to the establishment candidates for their respective parties.

The Clarion thinks that McCain can and will win the general election over Hillary. (Excluding the possible wild card scenario of Mike Bloomberg independent, personally financed, run.)

These two candidates are not the Clarion's favorites. This prediction in no way constitutes an endorsement of either candidate.

Why do we think these two candidates will win? The Clarion's prediction is rooted in our analysis of the likely primary voters for each parties' nominees. Our thinking says it is more about the flaws of their opponents in the eyes of the primary voters, than a longing for or devotion to these nominees. (Which is why the door is wide open for Bloomberg.)

Link to the Clarion's pithy analysis of the Democratic nominees and/or the Republican nominees.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Excuse me, Mr. Safire 

The Clarion will admit to a certain modest affection for cliches. As a lover of language, we enjoy colorful usage, and generally believe in the spirit of go ahead and give'em the full nine yards. We try not to fall back on cliche too often ourselves when a more detailed point needs to be made. Perhaps this is what makes us hypersensitive to the misuse of a cliche by others. One such offense occurred in this weekend's On Language column penned by William Safire for the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Safire open his piece introducing us to the New Yorker magazine's fictional cliche expert of the 1930's, then fails to heed his quoted advice to purge platitudes and banish bromides from our language. It would be no big deal except Safire, who is a policy wonk, and a former presidential speechwriter, who is occasionally asked to testify before Congress, is addressing a bigger issue than the usual linguistics essays he pens. In this case he is attempting to allay concerns about the American economy by doing an exposition of the phrase credit crunch.

Safire wishes to convince his wealthy readers that there is little to fear from the magazine's teaser of his article as, "Seized up in securitized subprime." Safire tells that readers that the alliterative crunch is used because squeeze is too mild, but crisis is too severe. This sounds good, but his own analysis contradicts his blithe assurances. Safire allows that crunch is chosen because it combines the memes of, "the sound of an icebreaker plowing through the Arctic wastes with the happy sound of breakfast cereal snapping, crackling and popping in the mouth." Would that it were so for the American economy, mere breakfast cereal popping in the mouth.

However, Safire's further explication reveals just how far from the reality this wish is. For what is a credit crunch in the financial system? It is in Mr. Safire's own words when the financial system seizes up. He reaches for an old French definition of seize's root where it meant, to seize by the wrists for flogging, and somehow equates this with market volatility, before admitting that these days the meaning of the phrase seized up is owned by auto mechanics. Flogging the economy would be bad, but what mechanics mean by "seized up," as any good ol' boy can tell you, is finished. Unfortunately, Safire must not drive himself or have been acquainted with too many mechanics or good ol' boys recently. When he blandly proclaims "seized up" means “to fuse with another part to prevent further motion, requiring lubrication or prying apart," he may be right, but he clearly misses the substance of what this fusing means.

Excuse me, Mr. Safire, but any mechanic worth his salt can tell you when your car seizes up it has little in common with the happy sound of breakfast cereal being popped in your mouth. For most folks it is more likely the crummiest day of their year, because, Mr. Safire, a seized up car is dead, junk. Fused with another part barely begins to say it, prying apart hints at it, but rest assured, Bill, when your car seizes up and things truly fuse, your car is finished. Replace the engine or throw it away or put it up on blocks in the yard, but don't expect it to rally back from seizing up. As for the American economy in these days of exorbitant war spending, extreme commodity prices and tax breaks for the wealthiest, who can say if it will rally. But one things for sure, Mr. Safire, we better all hope it doesn't seize up. Bromides aside.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Led Zeppelin Rocks 

That Led Zeppelin rocks is probably not news to some of our older readers, what is amazing is that they still rock. Reviews from their concert this week in London were almost universally positive. In fact, they were glowing.

Here's a sampling culled from Rolling Stone of what the pundits thought of Zep's first live show in twenty-seven years.

“Some of the top of [Robert Plant]’s voice has gone, but except for one attempted and failed high note in “Stairway to Heaven” (“there walks a la-dy we all know”), he found other melodic routes to suit him. He was authoritative; he was dignified.” (The New York Times)

“The finale of “Whole Lotta Love,” played as the first of two encores, was as raw and mesmerizing as ever.” (Los Angeles Times)

“The riff that powers In My Time Of Dying is authentically churning and queasy, Ramble On sounds not like a song that’s been brought out of mothballs for a benefit concert but wrigglingly, obscenely alive.” (The Guardian UK)

“By Dazed And Confused (all 26 minutes of it), Page was at his most avant-garde, attacking his guitar with a violin bow, but on Kashmir, unleashing the Zeppelin riff of Zeppelin riffs, he was almost inhumanly exciting. It was like watching a man invent electricity. One oft-repeated Seventies myth suggested Page’s prowess came as a result of a pact with the devil. Superstitious nonsense of course, but sometimes you wonder.” (The Evening Standard)

“Page may no longer swagger across the stage, his guitar worn low like a gunslinger as he churns out riffs. And Plant can’t scram and strut like he did in his rock god heyday. But the awesome power and majesty of the music was undiminished.” (The Daily News)

“Bonham’s volcanic fills on Nobody’s Fault But Mine confirmed that there are some things that can be transmitted only through DNA.” (The Times UK)

Those are some raves.

On a personal note the Clarion would like to concede, Wheeze, you were right all along.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Try This 

Our two new favorite internet places are iGoogle and Shelfari, local hipsters steered the Clarion to both.

iGoogle is a marvelous idea. As is typical of the best ideas, it made the Clarion say, "Now why didn't somebody think of that ages ago." And maybe they did, but just don't have the marketing(and more importantly) word of mouth clout of Google. iGoogle is essentially an aggregator, it is a page where one can easily arrange links to all of one's other favorite pages. Now perhaps one's initial reaction to this is, "I already have a 'Favorites or Bookmarks' button on my browsers toolbar." Well maybe so, but iGoogle is on another level. iGoogle not only allows the user to put all of one's links in one place, like Favorites or Bookmarks on a browser, but it also summarizes the links. So if the Clarion throws up a link to the Durham weather on our iGoogle page, it isn't just the link to Durham's local weather forecast, instead our iGoogle page shows, in miniature, the Durham three day forecast. Likewise, the link to ESPN.com on the Clarion's iGoogle, displays ESPN's current top three headlines as links. There are hundreds of pre-programmed links available for the the choosing. And of course, under the "Add stuff" tab there is a uber-easy to use 'Create your gadget' option that allows one to add one's own custom links, pictures, and what have you. For example, throw up the link to a favorite blog or post a link to one's email, behind the picture of a mailbox. Once you design your page, it is an effortless compiler. Rather than angling for MySpace's or Facebook's social networking, iGoogle is a utilitarian time saver.

Shelfari is fun, but not so utilitarian. It is a book lovers toy designed to allow one to share one's love a books with others. Shelfari allows one to create one's own virtual bookshelf (or shelves.) Post what one has read recently. Read other folks reviews of said books, or see what else they read. Publish reviews. Put every book one has ever read on line or see the collections of people who have. Join discussion groups about particular books or genres. The possibilities are staggering. The Clarion's gut knows it is a good sign when we're thinking, "Whoa, how cool would it be if all my friends joined this, too?" Link to the Clarion's shelf.

Shelfari also offers a way to rank one's top ten favorite books, nothing wrong with that, but if you want to do it right follow this link to the Blue Pyramid's list of the 700 or so best books of all-time. Then submit your own top 25 vote to storey@bluepyramid.org.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Playoff? Playoffs. 

Can we finally get a playoff? Is not college football in a big enough mess that the powers that be can see that there has to be a playoff? This, by the way, is what happens when one entrusts Myles Brand to run one's organization (as any Indiana alumnus can tell you.) Brand and his bunch at the NCAA were too busy renaming Division I-A and I-AA, the new ridiculously clumsy monikers are the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Division. All the while they and the college presidents are ignoring the much bigger mess on the field. The irony is that Division I-AA get to decide their championship with a playoff, while the bigger programs do not. This not too even mention the biggest silent elephant in the room, the fiscal drain put on the academic university as an institution by the football program at all but a few places.

However, the issue at hand is not the university system itself, but the playoff or lack their of, in the division formerly known as I-A. All season the Clarion had been thinking this might be the year that made the current lobbying/popularity contest so obviously asinine that a playoff had to be instituted, and that was before last night's losses of #1 Missiouri, the first time so ranked since 1960, and #2 West Virginia to a 4-7 Pitt team. Our original thought had been that it would be enough if the SEC were shut out again, which looked likely after LSU's loss to Arkansas. Now a two loss LSU squad will likely leapfrog a two loss #4 Georgia, and a one loss Big 12 team, Kansas. Could twice beaten Oklahoma hop over them all, having beaten #1 yesterday? What about the ACC Champs, Virginia Tech? And the team the Clarion thinks is the best on the field, USC? It is a trick question. There is no right answer. See here and here for some good explanations of the candidacies and likely match-ups.

In a very unscientific poll more than 200,00 people told SportsNation by a vote of 85% to 15% they that Division I-A needed a playoff. They were fairly well split on who should play one loss Ohio State, with LSU, Georgia, Hawaii and Oklahoma all receiving more than 10%, but less than 30% of the vote. The presumption of Ohio State makes no more sense than any of the rest of this, either. They didn't beat a single team in the top twenty this year, four wins versus mediocre Big Ten competition ranked between #21 and #25, and their best out of conference win was against a 4-9 Washington team that finished last in the PAC 10.

The Clarion's Division I-A recommended playoff would include the winners of the six major conferences and two at-large bids. At least the argument would be over #8 versus #9, so much preferable to this year's chaos and downright illegitimacy. Why shouldn't Stoops campaign for Oklahoma's shot, that is what the system has incentivized him to do. Why shouldn't Ohio State schedule pansies out of conference, the system rewards it. Kansas nearly got all the way to the championship game with their best win coming against Texas A&M, 7-5, 5th best in the Big 12. It isn't like the system broke this year, it has been broke. They have left legit teams out, and let stinkers in, they have tweaked the formula for the BCS nearly every year since they wrote it. Hint Myles, it isn't the formula, it is the theory itself, that the championship is decided on paper by microchips, in smoke filled rooms, behind closed doors with formulas. The honchos, they will likely offer up Ohio State versus LSU this year and the lame line that it is a good debate.

The Clarion's playoffs would have Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, USC, West Virginia, Missouri and Hawaii. Georgia and Kansas fans could get frustrated, but they would have had a chance to win their conference on the field and failed to so. Missouri gets the reward of having played, on the road, at out of conference foe and Ohio State slayer #15 Illinois. Hawaii gets the undefeated nod.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Yanks got played 

We all know where the Clarion stood on the Yanks signing Alex Rodriguez, "NOOOOO!! Don't do it." Or words to that effect. The Yanks postured and postured, and then they did it anyway. They are giving A-Rod an approximately $300 million contract. They bid against themselves. ESPN's Buster Olney reports than they could have had him for over $100 million less. No one else was ever in it. The Red Sox never even thought about it. The Angels took a pass. The Giants thought about it for one second. The Dodgers took Torre and laughed all the way to the bank.

The Yankees are signing A-Rod through 2018. They are committed to giving him more $220 million more than they had previously owed him. They are giving him the biggest contract in sports history. Bidding against no one. They got played.

It is now up to A-Rod. Steinbrenner senior, George, got ill. Since he fell at Art Modell's funeral he has had little sway. It appears that young Hank Steinbrenner is calling the shots. He envisions himself inheriting his father's mantle. That is all well and good, but which one of his father's incarnations will he be?

The Clarion has read critics who are so brutal as to refer to Hank as Dolan 2.0, a reference to the horrendous scion of a Cablevision fortune running the Knicks down the fast track to hell. It doesn't look quite that bad to the Clarion from here. Yes, the A-Rod deal was a rip off. Do we care that Goldman Sachs or Warren Buffet may have talked A-Rod into going over Boras's head and coming to the Yankees organization to make peace? Or that he brought his wife? Bleep no we don't care! At the Clarion we care whether he hits with men on base in the post season!! And the jury is well nigh still out on that one. If the Yanks don't win championships the A-Rod contract was a massive waste of resources. In the Clarion's view Hank Steinbrenner, while he's not as bad as Dolan, unfortunately he may be as bad as the 70's-80's George, with the wild spending sprees, short term agendas, and insane pressures.

That said, would the Clarion trade Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrerra + any young arm (save Chamberlin and Kennedy) to Minnesota for Santana? Yes, definitely yes. The Clarion loves Melky and his vibe, but Santana's twenty-nine and a front line, bona fide, number one starter. He is an answer to the Red Sox Beckett. Santana changes the Yankees chances in every post season series he pitches in, and say they sign him for seven years, that could be quite a few. Picture heading into next year's A.L.D.S. under Girardi, pitching Santana in Game 1, Pettitte in Game 2 and Wang in Game 3, that's quite the improvement from the line-up of starters they gave the departed Torre. Santana hasn't pitched in the New York spotlight or in the World Series, but at the Clarion we would be inclined to give him a chance.

If the Yanks acquired Santana we would also then keep Chamberlin in the bullpen, setting up, preparing to inherit Mariano's role. Starting the aforementioned trio, plus Kennedy, and the winner of the camp #5 competition. This is a playoff built rotation, top heavy. The plan would be to win the regular season games of the four and five starter with A-Rod and the offense. The Clarion would absolutely not trade Cano. We would consider signing Andruw Jones, he could hit seventh and play that shallow centerfield of his. Santana might throw a no-no or two with Jones in center. Damon, who showed last year there is no way he can play 145 games in center, would be the fourth outfielder and share the DH duties with Giambi and Matsui.

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