Each year for the last three or four years, I have commended the players for their donations to BAT - Baseball Assistance Team. This year, they have donated from the players' own pockets, not from the MLBPA, of over $1.5 million. BAT supports former MLB players, minor league players, former executives, managers, coaches who are having financial difficulties. On Jan. 25, 2011, BAT will have its annual dinner and one of the teams honored in New York will be the New York Yankees. Anyone who wants to attend the dinner can get more information at <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/community/bat.jsp">www.BaseballAssistanceTeam.com</a> or call 866-605-4594. As a board member, I want to give a thanks to the players for their donations.
With Martin Prado going down with a hip injury, do the Braves have enough offense to sneak into the playoffs?
I always thought their offense was suspect even with Prado. He's had a great year, but he's not a Chipper Jones who can carry you for a few days at at time. They're still going to have to manufacture runs here and there, like they were playing. But if their starting pitching holds up they can make it.
You saw the meltdown firsthand on Sunday. Realistically, what is Papelbon?s future with the Red Sox?
I think his future is suspect there. He wants to be paid as the premiere closer and he has not pitched that way this year. I think you'll see a difference in two areas of the game. One, I don't think you'll see teams pay managers the big bucks any more. And two, I think it will be the same thing with closers. I don't think you'll see them get the elite money like starters. I think that big money will go to the starting pitchers capable of putting the team on their shoulders.
Love ur work Joe!Last night's gem against Washington locked up Halladay for Cy, do you agree?
Well, the fact that Jimenez has not been able to win, I would say yes. Jimenez has pitched well, but he hasn't been able to win and Halladay has won. I think with the fact that the Phillies have won that Halladay will win it.
As wide open as the AL CY Young race is, I haven't heard Jon Lester mentioned once, even though his numbers are better than C.C.'s. across the board, an equal to Felix. For instance, opponents hit .243 off CC, .213 against Felix and .214 against Lester. Did his flirtation with a no-hitter against the Yankees Saturday put him on the map, finally? Who would you give the CY to?
I think he's always been in the race in my mind. I like what Felix Hernandez has done, but he has won only 12 games. People say that he doesn't get support from his teamamtes, but guess what, every award is a team award. You can't win the MVP without your teammates. Do we look at an MVP candidate and say his team didn't give him a chance to drive in runs? The fact is that Felix has won 12 games and CC has won 20. It is harder to win in a championship environment in New York than in Felix's situation. Just look at AJ Burnett this year. Felix has done a good job this year, but he's not in the same difficulty level of pitching this year as CC.
But Jon Lester has done a fabulous job as well this year.
We have gotten to a point where it seems as only strikeouts are important to a pitcher and it's not. If the big stats were the only factor than Jose Batista with his HRs should be the MVP and I don't agree with that.
Hey Joe, given their late season success, is there hope for the Orioles next year?
There is hope for improvement, because they've shown they can improve. I don't expect them to win the division, but there's hope for improvement. If you look at the Padres and Reds last year, they closed the season down well. This year, they've played well. This could definitely bode well for the Orioles next year.
What would the odds be if the Rays don,t get a new stadium soon that they will leave for greener pastures?
All this talk about teams leaving, where are they going to go? There aren't places to go any more. Everyone thought that Washington was a great place, but their attendance hasn't been that great. There are 30 MLB teams, are there a lot more cities that can support a team the way they want to be supported? I'm not sure. There are a lot of teams that are not doing well attendance wise, but there are not a lot of places to go. And the economy has effected baseball's attendance, football's attendance. Just moving won't change the economy.
Very good question.
Thoughts on Mattingly as the Dodgers manager? Seems to me like he's in a bad situation, since the ownership issue appears that it will linger on.
He's in a bad situation, but there are only 30 MLB managers and he will be one of them. There are a lot of guys standing in line wanting to be managers. In fact, MLB says you're supposed to interview minorities before you hire somebody. It doesn't seem like the Dodgers did that in this case and Mattingly got a pass to become a manager.
Do you think the Phillies can make a third straight world series appearance?
No doubt about it. I think the Phillies are the best team in the NL. I said that in spring training. The fact that they added Roy Oswalt, only elevated their team. I think the Phillies can do it. But, anybody, I repeat, anybody, that gets into the playoffs can get on a roll for a short period of time and make it to the World Series. But I favor the Phillies to win. I very rarely pick a team this early.
What do you think about Longoria commenting on Ray's attendance about time, out of line or too late given the declaration that the Rays are not going to re-sign Crawford
It's easy for me, Longoria and other people to criticize the fans for not coming there, we all make a good living. But there are people out there that can't afford to go. The economy has taken its toll on people. If we don't realize that, then we are the problem, not them coming to the ball park. A lot of people can't afford the hundreds of dollars it takes to go to a game. Even though there are some stadiums half full, I will not criticize the fans for not going to the games. There are a lot of folks that just can't afford to go and have to spend that money on their families. It's not just baseball either. It's all of the major sports.
I am looking forward to a possible SF-PHI matchup. If there is one team that can compete with the Phils rotation, its the Giants. Thoughts?
The Giants rotation can compete, but where are they going to score runs? The Phillies are the most complete teams. They can hit, pitch and field. Of those three things, the Giants can only pitch. Their defense doesn't have a lot of range. Their offense is inconsistent. They can pitch well, but they can't win a 0-0 game. You have to score runs and the Phillies can score runs. The Reds can score runs, but they do not have a Big Three as good as Philadelphia has.
Do you agree with Girardi starting CC today instead of on Friday which would line him up for game 1 of the playoffs on normal rest?
I can't get into the head of Girardi or the Yankees, because I'm not in the clubhouse to know. I talked to him Sunday and I thought I got an understanding of what he was trying to do. I'm not sure he knows exactly what he is going to do. I think he's trying to keep CC on his normal rotation. He's making it up as he goes along. This is not the same Yankees teams as the past. They won't be able to roll along like they did last year. He's going to have to manage more throughout the playoffs.
Should we be concern about the Twins losing streak, Will this have a affect come playoffs time?
Well, if they lose homefield advantage. If they do lose that, it will have an effect.
I'm tired of hearing people say that homefield doesn't help. I played in enough playoffs to know that it's always better to be able to start at home. That one game sometimes makes a big difference, even if it doesn't get to a final game. It gives you an opportunity to get off to a great start in the playoffs.
Baseball is a Business, Entertainment, Sport- Back in your playing days how would you rank those as priorities- and then how would you rank today's baseball?
That is a great question. From my perspective, it was a sport first, because if you didn't do well, you wouldn't stay in the game. The business is a necessary part of the game, sometimes a necessary evil. The entertainment value came from the game itself, not the players. I can't be the lone entertainer out there. But I could be the lone hitter out there, the lone guy in the contract negotiation.
SF/SD or ATL? WHo you got winning the wild card?
I have San Francisco coming out. And I thought San Diego would finish second, because the Phillies would be playing the Braves at the end. But now that they've clinched, I'm not sure how they will play those games. If they were in a tie, they would pitch Oswalt, Hamels and Halladay, obviously. But now, who will they pitch? I'm going to go with the Giants winning the division and it's a toss up with the Braves and Padres, but I'm going to give the edge to the Braves.
The Braves' home record is unbelievable.
Don't forget about the BAT dinner, Jan. 25 in New York. You can get information at <A href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/community/bat.jsp">www.BaseballAssistanceTeam.com</A> or by calling 866-605-4594. Hope to see you there.