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Derek Jeter’s Other Offers: Where Are They?

This is going to sound mean.

In fact, it will be in tune with the entire Yankees game plan this offseason.

Derek Jeter…where are the other offers that you’re looking for to make the Yankees increase their three-year, $45 million offer?

Oh, they’re nowhere to be found? How long has it been since Brian Cashman told you to go look for a better offer? And how long has it been since we’ve heard from your camp other than to talk about offers from the Yankees?

Methinks you need to recognize that nine days is an eternity when it comes to playing a game of chicken. If that is the case, then you and your agent have driven the car so far off the cliff that you’re now languishing in the passenger seat burning to a crisp while Brian Cashman sits in the front seat of his Camaro sporting his leather jacket and smoking his fifth victory cigarette.

Victor Martinez has been signed. Adam Dunn has been signed.

Newsflash Derek, both of those players are better hitters than you at this point in time.

The only positional players left on the free agency market are career scrubs and forgotten sluggers; oh, and a third baseman that likes to perform well in his contract years (go ahead Boston, re-sign Adrian Beltre, I dare you).

So where are these other offers, Derek?

Who is offering you more than the three years and $45 million that the Yankees offered you?

Who is going to be as nice as the Yankees and offer you more than those three years at $45 million?

The answer is nobody.

When weighing your value as a player against your legacy as a player, no club is going to clamor for you as much as the Yankees will. It’s just not going to happen.

The sooner you come to this realization the better.

Of course the small matter of pride strikes at your heart and brings forth bile in your stomach when you observe Alex Rodriguez’ contract, but remember that you have always and will always be a Yankee in the hearts of Yankees fans.

Both of you can attend “Old Timer’s Day,” but you will be the only one who has earned and will receive the unwavering support of the Yankees fans.

Make no mistake, Rodriguez might make more money than Jeter in the coming years, but that doesn’t change who is No. 1 in the heart of Yankees fans.

And that’s why Jeter should not fret about making what seems like an insignificant amount of money for the remainder of his career. He will be infinitely more valuable as a Yankee than Alex Rodriguez will after their careers are over.

For that matter, he is infinitely more valuable attaining his 3,000th hit as Yankee then he is donning any other uniform.

Rodriguez will probably get 3,000 hits and maybe the home run record, but he will never get 3,000 hits as a Yankee and about half of those home runs will have come as a member of the Mariners and Rangers.

Consider this a perversion of a love letter, Derek. Sure anybody could argue that the very facts listed right above this sentence entitle you to more money than the Yankees have offered you, but at the same time this ensures you will be invaluable to the Yankees down the road.

And then there’s always the rude, mean side of the argument that most Yankees fans don’t want to recognize: Where are the other offers, Derek? Who is going to give you a better deal than the Yankees?

Chances are the team did not want to enter into this mudslinging affair. Chances are they met with you and told you that they were not going to overpay you for past services rendered. Chance are they offered you this three-year, $45 million contract in private to avoid this whole mess.

But your pride got in the way of things. Pride stings, as Butch says in Pulp Fiction. Now the Yankees are offering you more without another competitive offer on the table, all to help you save face.

Don’t be foolish and let your pride destroy the end of your career, which should be magnificent, Derek. Re-sign with the Yankees and put yourself in position to win a World Series ring for your other hand.

Realize, like Mariano Rivera did, that extra money, even though it’s not there in your case, is not worth ruining your legacy as one of the greatest players for one of the greatest franchises in all of sports history.

And as far as I can see, most of the mainstream media is trying to be nice to you by holding back on the lack of other offers that are pouring in for your services because you are who you are.

After all of this, Yankees fans will still love you specifically because you are who you are.

Alex Rodriguez will always be a second-rate slugger in Yankees lore, Derek. There will, for the foreseeable future, only be one five-plus-time World Series champion and 3,000-hit Yankee.

That’s worth more than money (that isn’t really on the table) and faux-pride.

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Felix Hernandez Wins Cy Young Award: Advanced Metrics or Common Sense Wins Out?

The results are in!

Felix Hernandez has won the American League Cy Young Award despite winning just 13 games in the 2010 season.

This is an exciting development regardless of what you think of advanced metrics because when you get down to it, this is not about a triumph of advanced metrics over baseball traditionalists.

It’s a triumph of common sense over the absurdity of slavish tendencies toward traditional points of view. It’s the death of wins as a meaningful statistic when judging the value of a pitcher.

You don’t need FIP, WAR or any other advanced metric to realize Felix Hernandez was the best pitcher in baseball. ERA, WHIP, innings pitched and strikeouts told you that. Just like you didn’t need advanced metrics to tell you Zack Greinke was the best pitcher in the American League in 2009 despite only winning 16 games.

Not only did Hernandez win, but he won in a rout. Hernandez received 21 of 28 first place votes.

The “Wins” statistic has dominated the landscape of major league baseball for the better part of the 20th century. Now we know the 21st century is going to feature a new set of rules—a new understanding of what valuable is.

Well, maybe not just yet. The MVP award will still probably be “the best player on a winning team.” That’s OK. One step at a time.

Hernandez beat out both David Price and CC Sabathia. They had fine seasons in their own right playing for the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees respectively. Their teams’ performances helped them post win totals that dwarfed Hernandez’.

But Hernandez was better than both pitchers, even with just 13 wins, which is now the lowest total of wins for a Cy Young winner in a non-interrupted season.

Somewhere Bert Blyleven is cursing himself for not being younger and pitching in a more enlightened era, although hopefully this is the precursor of finally getting one of the best pitchers of that generation into the Hall of Fame.

If Hernandez can win the Cy Young with 13 wins, then maybe Blyleven can make the Hall of Fame with 287 wins.

While this isn’t a victory for advanced metrics (many sabermetricians would tell you Cliff Lee deserved the Cy Young), it is a statement on how the one-time subculture of baseball analysis is slowly but surely getting its footing in the mainstream.

That’s a good thing as far as it means we are starting to base our decisions more on reasonable statistics than wins. Even if you wanted to argue for Price or Sabathia, there were better arguments to be made than pointing at their win totals.

This is not a call to start worshiping the odd acronyms of advanced metrics. It’s a call to accept the fact that wins have always and will always be a team stat and not an accurate gauge of a pitcher’s value.

While we’re at it, let’s recognize that the save is a completely arbitrary stat that tells us absolutely nothing. How else did Wes Littleton get a save in a 30-3 rout?

So congratulations to Felix Hernandez—and congratulations to everybody who has written an article on B/R over the past few months declaring Hernandez’ superiority to CC Sabathia this season (there have been many).

Common sense has won out for the second year in a row. Much credit is due to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, an organization that many are critical of for their inane voting.

However, don’t get too excited. Derek Jeter still won a Gold Glove. It’s just a reminder that we have a long way to go before all baseball awards are actually given to those who deserve them.

Finally, rest in peace, “wins.” You had a good run, but I can’t say I’m sad to see your reign of silly injustice come to an end.

Next up is saves. You hear that, “saves?” We’re coming for you next.

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MLB Free Agent Rumors: Where Will Cliff Lee and 10 Other Free Agents Play?

Ahead of the 2010 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings (Dec. 6-9), rumors are swirling around Cliff Lee and other big name free agents.

Both the Yankees and Rangers have already visited with Lee, and yesterday Dan Uggla was traded from the Florida Marlins to the Atlanta Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn.

As we get closer to the Winter Meetings, baseball’s Hot Stove will heat up greatly. So let’s take a moment to try and guess destinations for Cliff Lee and 10 other big name free agents. 

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Baseball in America, Part I: The First Baseball Uniforms

This is the first part in a six part series that will explore the history of baseball and how the sport’s history has, at times, interspersed with the history of the United States of America, through good times and bad, truly making it “America’s Pastime.”

Baseball is a symbol of the lasting unity of the United States of America from a time when the first uniforms were blue and gray.

What follows is a brief history of both the United States of America and baseball in their formative years, leading up to the American Civil War, when the sport was intimately wedded to the nation on the battlefields of its struggle for unity under its professed ideals.

A Nation Divided

For nearly a century, the individual municipalities forming the United States of America existed in a questionable union, fraught with contentions between various regions.

When the British Parliament imposed the Coercive Acts on Massachusetts colony in 1774, outrage spread throughout the other American colonies, not out of solidarity with Massachusetts, but out of fear that the same steps could be taken against them.

In the 1790s, the question of the sovereign rights of individual states apart from the Federal government was brought to a head in the Whiskey Rebellion.

The inability to come to a lasting compromise when it came to territorial expansion and emancipation resulted in the Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, each of which only staved off a question that was prevalent in the forming of the nation and brought to a head by the question of slavery:

Was the United States of America to be a loose confederation of separate entities or one entity standing in solidarity?

It’s why the nations of Europe laughed at the Declaration of Independence and scoffed at the ability of 13 individual governments to bind together in a lasting union.

By 1861, the United States of America was on the verge of splitting apart. The president, Abraham Lincoln, wasn’t even on the ballot in some southern states.

When the South declared its intention to secede from the Union, Lincoln brought the country to war to answer the nearly century old question once and for all, even if it required force.

While the Civil War featured gross savageries, captured quite frighteningly by American writers such as Ambrose Bierce, it also serves as the beginning of our story about baseball in America.

Baseball Goes To War

The game of baseball developed, much like our nation developed out of British customs and social movements carried out in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, out of the British game of rounders.

But in the middle of the 19th century, the sport, while played in urban centers down South, was mostly contained to the country’s Northeast corridor.

Various clubs and organizations played baseball, each using their own version of the rules. It wasn’t until Alexander Cartwright, of New York’s Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, codified a set of rules in 1945 that organized baseball began to take shape.

However, the game lacked widespread popularity. Besides being relatively contained to the Northeast corridor, the sport was thought of as a “gentleman’s game.” Commoners could not afford the fees required to join a club such as the Knickerbockers.

All of this changed in 1861 when thousands of young men from the cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc…marched off to war on battlefield’s such as Bull Run, Antietam and Gettysburg. With them they brought a favored pastime, the sport of baseball, which had only been codified a little over a decade earlier.

When they weren’t busy dying, many soldiers took to playing games of baseball for recreation. Both Union and Confederate soldiers played. Officers played with the common soldiers in their regiments. They played while waiting for enemy advances. They played in prisoner of war camps. The two armies even played baseball together while they waited for General Robert E. Lee to surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

Games of baseball were played by Union soldiers as far South as Texas, where George Putnam, a Union soldier, wrote of the regiment’s game being interrupted by an attack by Confederate soldiers.

Putnam lamented, “centerfield was hit and was captured, left and right field managed to get back to out lines. The attack…was repelled without serious difficulty, but we had lost not only our centerfield, but…the only baseball in Alexandria, Texas.”

When the war ended, the thousands of surviving soldiers from both sides went home and continued to play baseball. While slavery had been abolished by the Civil War, the sport of baseball had been proliferated.

One Nation Under Baseball

As trumped up as claims that Abner Doubleday is the inventor of baseball are, is it mere coincidence that Doubleday was most known as a Union general during the Civil War?

The nearly century old question about the state of the American union had been answered—the country was to be one body that lived up to the ideals professed in their Declaration of Independence. It would also be one nation obsessed with the sport of baseball.

Shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, the Cincinnati Red Stockings formed the first professional—meaning paid—baseball team in the country in 1869.

Two short years later, the National Association of Baseball Players, the predecessor of what is nowadays known as the National League, was formed.

Is it any wonder why baseball is known as our national pastime?

Before 1861, baseball was not a widely popular professional sport. It was the leisure activity of gentleman.

Before 1861, the United Sates were anything but united.

It took the American Civil War to bring about both. Since the surge in popularity and the formalization of baseball as a professional sport is wedded to the defining event in the formation of America into an indivisible union, it holds a stake in our hearts that football, with its rigid gridiron, cannot hope to eclipse.

When the prospects of national growth were greatest, it is baseball’s mythical pastoralism—the ability to hit the ball as far as the wide open field could carry it, the prospect of time never eclipsing the accomplishments on the field—that best captured the ethos of the American spirit.

And when the nation fell upon fractious times, it was baseball that alleviated the grim maladies of the battlefield and emerged from the fray as a footing on which both Union and Confederate soldiers could find common ground.

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Mets Biggest Offseason Addition Should Remain in the Front Office, Off the Field

Hopefully for fans of the New York Mets, memories of this off-season will be filled with only happy thoughts. One way to ensure that is for the “Moneyball with Money” crew to avoid being too reactionary.

This means not making moves because your fans are fed up with the current roster.

Because if you look at the roster, this team can compete with its current makeup. The Mets don’t need to rush out and sign anybody or trade away their players. They have quite a collection of talent, mercurial as much of it may be, and the 2011 season can be played in a holding pattern as the new star-studded front office formulates a plan moving forward.

This isn’t to say new general manager Sandy Alderson and his cohorts, special assistant J.P. Ricciardi and vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta, shouldn’t jump into action if the right deal can be made.

But the Mets roster, as currently constructed, will give the team a shot at a wild card in 2011 and then leave Alderson and crew with an incredible amount of cap space to work with.

The 2011 season will be the final shot this group of players has to prove their worth to Mets fans. Let’s take a look at how the team stacks up.

At the Plate

Carlos Beltran, who played 159 games and posted a .915 OPS with 38 home runs and 42 stolen bases in his last contract year, will come into 2011 completely healthy. After dragging his feet upon returning from injury more than halfway through the 2010 season, Beltran hit really well in September, posting a .321/.365/.603 triple slash stat line. If Beltran can stay healthy— which is a questionable proposition— he should be a great middle of the order bat.

In a similar boat is Jose Reyes. After dragging his feet at the start of the 2010 season while he got back into the swing of things, Reyes hit .310 with an .829 OPS over his final 80 games of the 2010 season. Again, staying healthy is a questionable proposition. But if he can, he will be another key component of a Mets offense that was never firing on all cylinders this past year.

Then there is Jason Bay. The Mets big free agent acquisition is not going to have another year like 2010. His .749 OPS is nearly .150 points lower than his career OPS coming into the season.

Add a healthy season from these three to David Wright, Angel Pagan, and what should be a season of moderate improvement for first baseman Ike Davis, and the Mets have a solid core around which to base their offense going into the 2011 season.

Naturally, Beltran will need to move to right field and allow Pagan to takeover in center field. All that will do is improve the Mets outfield defense.

That leaves holes at second base and catcher.

Unless Luis Castillo can be traded, he wouldn’t be a bad bench player at this point in his career; but it’s unlikely that he could handle the full workload at second, or that a competent general manager would expect him to.

At catcher, Josh Thole should be able to at least partially handle the starting duties.

This means the Mets should be looking to fill the hole at second base and sign another catcher to platoon with Thole. In both instances the Mets would be best served to fill the positions without making a big splash.

They could make a run at Orlando Hudson. But back in 2007, the Mets acquired a 32-year-old second baseman. How has that worked out for them? Hudson will be 33 in 2011.

What if they gave Reese Havens a shot in 2011? Would the 25-year-old be any worse than any of the overpriced, over-the-hill veterans on the market?

Plus, if the core six players perform up to expectations, the Mets will not need to make such ridiculous splashes at the other positions in order to field an offense that could keep up with any National League team.

Last year, the problem was that the team was never firing on all cylinders at once. Hopefully they avoid that problem in 2011.

On the Mound

For all the complaints levied against the Mets and their lack of depth in the rotation, the team’s pitching was actually their strength.

Behind Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey should form a decent rotation.

While Santana is no longer the same ace as he was in Minnesota, he is still a good top of the rotation starter, as evidenced by his 2.98 ERA. His hit rate is increasing and his strikeout rate is going down, which are both bad signs. That’s why it’s becoming more important for the Mets to have strong pitchers behind him.

With Niese, Pelfrey and Dickey they sort of have that.

R.A. Dickey is not going to duplicate his numbers from last season. That being said, he is a relatively new 36-year-old knuckleballer. Knuckleballers have a long shelf-life. Dickey should be a solid piece of the rotation.

Mike Pelfrey is not a top of the rotation starter, but he is a decent middle of the rotation option. The same can probably be said of Jon Niese.

What the Mets need is another starter to increase the rotation depth and not have to thrust too much responsibility on a guy like Dillon Gee.

However, it’s highly unlikely that the Mets will want to try and stand toe-to-toe with the Yankees in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, so their targets will be the next rung of free agent pitchers. So they should try and sign a veteran that will come at a relatively low cost and not want a ridiculously long contract. Aiming for a pitcher like Ted Lilly, Carl Pavano or Javier Vazquez would give the Mets a strong one-five with talent from the farm providing depth.

Vazquez is particularly intriguing. After his abysmal season for the Yankees, he could use a return to the NL East where he’s seen his best perfomance, including a 2.87 ERA in 2009 with 238 strikeouts.

In the bullpen, the Mets should hand Francisco Rodriguez his job back. They are not going to get anybody more talented to close other than Rafael Soriano. But adding a guy that will most likely want to close for a lot of money is pointless when you already are paying a guy a lot of money to close.

The variability of success in the bullpen is astounding, so making suggestions on what to do with a bullpen in the offseason is a recipe for having egg on your face come April. It is best to let things remain fluid when it comes to the bullpen and lean on organizational depth. Names that strike us as valuable abound on the list of free agent relievers. The Mets should probably sign one or two, but speculating on that is pointless at this point.

Just because the Mets rotation was a strength last year doesn’t mean they should stay put. In fact, it is the one place they should make a move.

2011 New York Mets

This Mets team will be competitive, at least competitive enough to start the new front office out on good standing with the fans.

At first they may be upset about the lack of moves. But look at the money coming off the books after the 2011 season: Carlos Beltran ($18.5 million), Oliver Perez ($12 million), Francisco Rodriguez ($11.5 million), Jose Reyes ($11 million) and Luis Castillo ($6 million).

That’s $59 million coming off the books in one offseason. In the meantime, Alderson and the rest of the “Moneyball with Money” crew can maneuver and tinker with the organization to prepare for using money wisely. Restructure the farm system, evaluate what’s already in the cupboard (Fernando Martinez, Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Ruben Tejada etc…should all have reserve roles at some point or another during the season) and get low-budget value players in place to complement either free agent signings or assets acquired via trade.

If the new front office can trade off guys like Castillo or Perez then more power to them. But if they can’t, things won’t be so bad in 2011 if the New York Mets are left as currently constructed.

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Hal Steinbrenner Should Sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera Before Sunday

I’ve, perhaps, been exhausting in my stance on the upcoming negotiations between the New York Yankees and Derek Jeter, as well as Jeter’s future productivity.

The Yankees should not bend unflappably to Derek Jeter’s will. However, that does not mean they should not make any sort of statement to Jeter about his worth to the franchise.

That statement would be most effective if he, and fellow Yankee for life Mariano Rivera, were signed to contracts before Sunday.


Because the Yankees have exclusive negotiating rights with both players up until midnight on Saturday. Once we pass into the early hours of Sunday morning, other teams will be able to negotiate with Jeter and Rivera.

Recently, there has been an explosion of interest in the resigning of Derek Jeter because of statements made by Hal Steinbrenner.

“There’s always the possibility that things could get messy. I know our fans are very emotional and that’s what we love about them,” Steinbrenner said. “But I have to do my job on behalf of the partnership and everyone else involved in the organization. Hank and I need to keep a level head and realize we’re running a business here.”

This is a difficult situation to navigate. While some will adamantly proclaim Derek Jeter’s right to be given whatever contract he wants, that is simply not the way contract negotiations work. The team will not hand Derek Jeter a blank check.

However, the Yankees are dancing a fine line in these negotiations.

Two years ago they handed Alex Rodriguez the richest contract in the history of Major League Baseball. At the time, Rodriguez was 33 years old. The 10-year contract made Rodriguez a Yankee until he is 43, and pays him an average of $27,500,000 a year.

The contract does have a decreasing value as the years roll by, but the specter of its magnitude now looms large in the upcoming negotiations with Jeter and Rivera.

At rock-bottom, Alex Rodriguez is nothing more than another one of the Yankees’ mercenaries.

But Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are something entirely different. They are representations of both the Yankees mundaneness and how they are truly an exceptional franchise.

Both players came from the Yankees farm system, and both players have been Yankees for sixteen years! They are a testament to what truly makes the Yankees great. Not only do they develop their own stars, but they spend to keep their stars on their roster.

Naturally, they supplement their roster with free agents, but without the ability to develop players within a farm system, a major league ballclub is incapable of winning. Every team other than the Yankees and Red Sox in the past decade are a testament to that, and the Yankees and Red Sox are perhaps more of a testament to that than any other ballclub, because they never could have won without their own stars, the ones they developed on their farm system and paid to keep in their cities.

Is it any wonder that the Yankees went without a World Series from 2000 to 2009 when nary a prospect from AAA contributed to a championship? Is it so shocking that suddenly the farm produces talent like Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner and the Yankees win a World Series?

That’s why, if Hal Steinbrenner is truly serious about wanting Mariano Rivera, and especially Derek Jeter, to be Yankees for life, he must give Brian Cashman a mandate to get both players signed before midnight on Saturday.

Get creative. Offer a front-loaded contract, less years and more money, whatever it takes. Come to an agreement before Sunday.

There would be no grander statement from a team that is habitually criticized as buying championships than to send a message to the league that these two players, whatever it takes, have always and will always be Yankees.

Take the adjective “messy” out of the equation, Hal. If it takes round the clock negotiations between the publication of this article and the signing of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, it will be worth it.

If you have to overpay them, it will be worth it.

It will be worth it because you know nobody is going to pay these two as much as you will.

You know you don’t want to suffer them the indignity of hitting the open market where their true value is in question.

Because you know their true value as Yankees is priceless.

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Joe Girardi’s Binder Gets Shakespearean, Takes Blame for ALCS Defeat

Hello there! Perhaps you recognize me? You’ll often see Joe Girardi, manager of the New York Yankees, bent over me in the team’s dugout, flipping through my pages and perusing my invaluable information.

You know, they say experience is the teacher of all things. That’s what Joe has me for. I hold all the past experience he requires to make the appropriate decisions regarding various game situations, such as who should bat against who and who he should bring in from the bullpen in certain situations.

Who cares if information ascertained in the midst of summer heat is not necessarily applicable in the midst of the October chill of the pressure-packed playoffs?

My repeated counsels to Girardi to put David Robertson in the game has become a topic of much derision.

What! must I hold a candle to my shames?

Truth is truth to the end of reckoning. Putting Robertson in was not a sin! Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Fortune, which has a great deal of power in other matters but especially in baseball, can bring about great changes in a situation through very slight forces.

It matters not that Robertson pitched to a 20.25 ERA in his four appearances, bad fortune does not make a decision incorrect. In hindsight, those of less knowledge can strike forth at me for if to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces.

Now all blame for this appalling defeat falls on my shoulders, a binder who spent his formative years on the shelves at Oxford!

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving. So now I have borne this reputation of evil without deserving.

Still have I borne it with an ancient shrug, for sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog and spit upon my binding. And all for use of that which is mine own.

How am I then a villain. To counsel Girardi to this parallel course, directly to his good?

Of course my pages contained no common sense. It said nothing of the fact that Dustin Moseley had pitched two no-hit innings against the Rangers in Game 1, striking out four in the process.

A fatal flaw indeed!

To be a slave to reason and unfettered by the better parts of passion is a curse of binders, as we are a most academic lot.

I, who am not shaped for sportive tricks, nor made to court an amorous looking-glass; I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty to strut before a wanton ambling nymph; I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion, cheated of feature by dissembling nature, deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up, and that so lamely and unfashionable that dogs bark at me as I’m placed before them.

Who am I kidding? This heinous defeat is all my fault!

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, and every tongue brings in a several tale and every tale condemns me for a villain.

I shall despair. There is no creature loves me; and if I die, no soul will pity me: nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself find in myself no pity to myself?

I pray you, in your letters, when you shall these unlucky deeds relate, speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speak of one that advised not wisely but too well.

The die is cast.

Demand me nothing: what you know, you know: from this time forth I never will speak word.

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World Series 2010: 10 Reasons You Need to Watch

News Corp. wants you…to watch the 2010 World Series!

OK, so maybe helping the interests of a large multinational corporation isn’t the best incentive to get people to watch the World Series. Do you really care if you help line Rupert Murdoch’s pocket?

Of course not.

However, reasons abound for taking in this particular World Series; from facial hair to missing elements of drama, this matchup between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants offers something for everybody.

So tune in to FOX tonight at 8 P.M. 

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New York Yankees Win in ALCS Game 2 Locks Up Another AL Pennant and Cliff Lee

The look on Nolan Ryan’s face toward the end of the top half of the eight inning said it all. What was happening was shocking, unfathomable and frustrating. Couldn’t any pitcher get a gosh darn out?

The occurrences of that inning were a reminder to the Texas Rangers, their fans and their gregarious owner and erstwhile pitcher of just what they were up against.

In an inning when the Rangers used five pitchers before an out was recorded, the Yankees showed the mettle that makes them the owners of 27 World Series Championships.

Having all that money can’t win championships. It helps, but money can’t go out on the field and perform. And for all the multi-million dollar studs that take the field for the Yankees each night, it was the only non multi-millionaire that made the hustle play that started off the five-run rally in the eighth.

No, Brett Gardner is not the personification of everything the Yankees stand for. Anyone would be foolish, and most likely crazy, to try and make such a sweeping, grandiose statement.

But Gardner does stand to remind those who are not Yankees fans—the people that will damn all logic by declaring that the Yankees only win because they spend money in one breath and with another say, “money can’t buy championships,” when they lose—that the commitment to excellence from the Yankees organization extends past opening up the coffers for big name free agents and onto the field.

And now the Texas Rangers are left aghast at the destruction the Yankees talent and determination has wrought on their playoff momentum.

However, it isn’t completely crushed just yet.

The Yankees saved that for this afternoon in Game 2.

A win today and the Yankees will have locked up the ALCS before it really got started, before Cliff Lee takes the mound.

In their entire history, the Rangers have never won a home playoff game. Imagine the demoralization the Rangers would undergo if the Yankees take the first two games of the series in Arlington before sending the series back to the Bronx?

If the Rangers hope to get a second home playoff victory this season, they better get their first this afternoon, because if the Yankees head to the Bronx for Games 3-5 with a 2-0 lead in the ALCS, they will not have to leave the confines of Yankee Stadium II before they get to pop champagne and celebrate their 41st AL Pennant.

Some will be quick to object, “but the Rangers have the indomitable Cliff Lee pitching in Game 3 and the Yankees have abominable A.J. Burnett pitching in Game 4.”

In Game 4, the Ranger will match up Tommy Hunter, and his 5.37 career road ERA, with Burnett.

And the psychological effect on Cliff Lee of dropping to 2-0 in the series against the Yankees cannot be discounted. Before the Rangers swooped in to steal Lee out from under the Yankees at midseason, it was said that Lee’s wife had contacted Amber Sabathia about potential houses in the New York area.

If the series is 2-0, nobody can deny that the little imp in the back of Lee’s mind will be telling him that it’s better to join them than face them, that if the Rangers are going to win this series it’s going to almost be by his efforts alone, that he is supremely jealous of the way the Yankees picked up CC Sabathia after he struggled in Game 1.

The Yankees recruit free agents harder than any other team. This ALCS, on top of being a series for the AL pennant, is a recruitment battle between the Yankees and Rangers for Lee’s services.

Last night was a statement in the battle, a clear unintentional message to Lee about the support the Yankees give their aces. An opening salvo in what will be contentious winter bidding that said, “not only do we have the money, but we have the legacy and mystique to confound even the greatest swings of momentum.”

If the Yankees win this afternoon in Arlington, Cliff Lee will have the weight of the Rangers’ season on his shoulders going into Game 3 in a hitter’s ballpark. He will also have the nagging thought that the dugout on the first base side of the stadium is the best place to be.

This is not to say that Cliff Lee won’t come out and pitch well, but all of this has to weigh him down. The Rangers can do their ace a gigantic favor by getting a win today.

However, that’s a tall order, because 31-year-old journeyman Colby Lewis is 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees, while Phil Hughes has dominated the Texas Rangers, going 2-0 without surrendering a run in 15.1 innings of three-hit ball.

Unless Lewis is able to shut down the Yankees lineup, Ranger batters will have to respond with some run support against a pitcher who has completely owned them.

Much to the chagrin of the Rangers and the rest of Major League Baseball, the Yankees have to be favored in this game, they have to be favored for the rest of this series and they have to be favored in the race for Cliff Lee.

This afternoon the Yankees will take the field with a lot on the line, because a win here locks up the ALCS, and by extension, the battle with the Rangers for Cliff Lee’s services in 2011 and beyond.

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Making the New York Yankees Unstoppable in 2011: Controversial Viewpoint Inside

OK, so 2010 isn’t even in the books yet.

But it’s never to early to start talking about 2011, especially when the team is expected to compete for a championship each season.

Very little can be done about this year. The chips will fall where they may regarding a 2010 championship. It’s time for “The Evil Empire” to start plotting for next season.

In that regard, I have something very evil for them to pull off.

Read on to find out…

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