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2013 New York Yankees: 3 Things to Like

The New York Yankees off-season has been a quiet one due to ownership implementing a new frugal stance.

Instead of story-lines about signing the biggest free agents, Yankee fans were relegated to watching the realities of missing the 2013 postseason grow by the day.

So as a result, fans, the media, and bloggers alike have been provided with plenty of things to grumble about.

And for the first time in almost two decades, the paved regular-season road to October that the Yankees build during the off-season is no longer a smooth ride.

But in reality, not all hope is lost yet; and here are three reasons why.

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Excuse Me Hal Steinbrenner but What Are You Doing to the New York Yankees

The New York Yankees hot stove has felt more like an icebox this offseason, and every one wants to know why.

As this winter has been full of mixed messages, causing a wave of emotions amongst Yankee fans—some sad, others angry and the rest in complete denial. While other MLB ball clubs are getting stronger, faster and younger, the Yankees have gotten worse.

And fans have Hal Steinbrenner to thank for that.

So it is about time George’s son gave some answers behind his logic, because what is happening here is unfair, unjust. It is damaging the game of baseball at its core.

Well, here are the five questions I would ask the Yankees inherited owner.

1. Following the announcement on November 20, 2012 of the mega-deal between YGE and News Corp, you stated to the Associated Press:

“The Steinbrenner family expects to have a continuing, long-term ownership stake in the YES Network and we will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship caliber team for decades to come.”

Do you feel like the Yankees are putting together a championship caliber team for the 2013 season? And how do you define “championship caliber?”

2. Presuming that you answered ‘yes’ to question No. 1, could you please explain why the Yankees did not even make an offer to starting catcher Russell Martin

Martin signed a two-year; $17 million deal with the Pirates, leaving the Yankees without a top backstop and his 21 homers and I would like to how that makes the 2013 better?

3. You have been plenty upfront about wanting the Yankees payroll to fall under baseball’s $189 million maximum by the 2014 to avoid paying a 50 percent luxury tax, but is that really fair to fans 

If Yankee fans need a reminder of what Hal stated after getting swept in the 2012 ALCS please click HERE to be directed to the official Yankees Press Release.

4.  In the beginning of this offseason, Yankees President Randy Levine claimed that the team had a plan or strategy ready to go. Could you please explain what Levine was taking about in detail?

5. Finally are the Yankees planning to lower regular season ticket prices in 2013? Or God forbid raise them up?

The bottom line here is the Bronx Bombers now have holes at 3B, DH, catcher, right field and the bench.

Add that to a 38-year old shortstop, a 43-year old closer, a 41-year old starter and an ace all coming back from recent surgeries. Oh don’t forget a farm system that is rotten at the top.

Well I don’t know about you, but that does not spell C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N-S-H-I-P to me.

Look, I get that the Yankees spend a lot more money compared to the other 29 teams, but saving a buck by not filling vital starting positions with legitimate players is extreme. Not to mention it is punishing Yankee fans for the big contracts they had nothing to do with.

Fans better be ready to kiss October baseball in the Bronx goodbye; and Hal Steinbrenner should be ready to see lots of empty seats if something doesn’t give.

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New York Yankees Have to Beat Teams Not from Seattle

Before last night’s 14-strikeout blowout by Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, the New York Yankees took two of three games from the Seattle Mariners in the Bronx last weekend.

The Tigers’ 7-2 smacking marks the Yankees’ 11th loss in their last 17 games, and the Bombers are now four games deep into a 20-game stretch that continues with three more versus the Tigers.

The Yankees head into Comerica Park tonight maintaining a 5.5-game lead in the AL East, but like the great Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.”

Now, this year in Detroit it has been a different story.

Coming into 2012 as the heavy division favorites, the Tigers stumbled through the first half of the season. But, thanks to improved play and a weak AL Central, they now trail the Chicago White Sox by just 1.5 games.

The Tigers are hot, as they are on a five-game win streak and came in fresh off a walk-off win on Sunday, courtesy of a Miguel Cabrera homer in the 10th inning. Oh, and the Tigers haven’t lost in Comerica in their last nine games either, so home field lends some comfort.

Call me cynical, but I think a better word is concerned, as the Yankees are coming into this stretch stumbling a bit. They haven’t been at their sharpest over the last two weeks.

Fact is, since July 18, the Bombers have lost 11 of 17 games and lost series to the Red Sox, Orioles and Athletics. Four of their six wins were against the Mariners, which is not comforting.

If you think I am the only person worried about the state of the Yankees, you would be mightily mistaken.

So, I compiled a list of some good reads for Yankee fans out there, like from my father, who is already talking about the World Series and such.

State Of The Yankees 16: Needed Series Win Over Seattle Has Yankees On Road With Positive Momentum—Brad Carroll’s Gameday

Yankees’ situational stats are reason to sweat—NY Post

Past collapses show Yanks’ lead is not insurmountable—Hardball Blog, NY Post

Yankees pregame: The injured come into focus—LoHod Yankees Blog

New York Yankees: Why Fans Need to Be Patient with This Year’s Team—Bleacher Report

New York Yankees: Surviving August Schedule—

Injury updates on A-Rod and Andy Pettitte—NY Daily News

If anything, I hope this adds some perspective to the numerous delusional Yankee fans out there, as after this Tigers series, they face the Blue Jays, Rangers, Red Sox and White Sox all in a row. Things don’t get easier any time soon.

Fact is, the Yankees need to play better baseball now to stay atop the AL East.

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Updated MLB Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves Knock Texas Rangers out of Top Spot

The 2012 MLB season is about to hit the quarter mark, and a lot of teams who were considered “playoff contenders” are still struggling to find their footing.

A lot of baseball fans are counting out the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Tigers, but be warned, there’s a ton of baseball left to play, and all five of these teams will lean on their experience to pull through in the end.

Still, it’s Week 6 and Orioles, Indians and Nats fans are living the dream so far. I hope they don’t get to ahead of themselves just yet, but can also enjoy their team’s moment in the spotlight.

Interleague play is up next, and that always makes things more interesting.

AL pitchers love to hit; NL teams can take advantage of adding a DH to their lineups.

Overall, the 2012 season has been a blast even if my Yankees are a pain in the RISP….

Here are my power rankings for Week 6…ENJOY!!

1 Atlanta Braves This team is scary good and no sign of stopping. 4
2 Texas Rangers Lost three of last five including getting mini-swept by Royals. Lucky next 6 are against Astros and Mariners. 1
3 Los Angeles Dodgers Have lost 2-of-3 since Kemp got hurt and won’t be back till May 29th.  3
4 St. Louis Cardinals Are 1-3 vs. NL East teams… 2
5 Washington Nationals Bring on the Orioles in a Baltimore Royale.  7
6 Tampa Bay Rays Rematch of 2008 World Series this weekend;  should win this one. 6
7 Cleveland Indians Didn’t the Tribe do this last year? Given up 195 runs this season. 12
8 Baltimore Orioles Up next, the Baltimore Royale; but O’s still 2-5 vs. Yankees…is this for real? Can pitching hold up all season? 10
9 New York Yankees Struggles continue, but Yanks had same record today back in 2009 too, and we know how that season ended. Too talented… 5
10 Miami Marlins Hello Marlins, welcome to the 2012 season as you have arrived. 13
11 New York Mets Scored 21 less runs than they allowed…not amazin’ guys. 14
12 Detroit Tigers Stinking but still in second place in weak AL Central; wait till Tigers play well. 9
13 Toronto Blue Jays Took 2 games from the battered and struggling Yankees, but Bautista is raking again. 11
14 Philadelphia Phillies Still manning the NL West cellar but have won four in a row to get to .500 16
15 Cincinnati Reds When will Chapman move to the rotation?? 8
16 Oakland A’s Love to spilt series, but that’s the best the A’s are going to get. 17
17 Boston Red Sox Who are the Red Sox? Cheers…to finding yourselves! 20
18 Los Angeles Angels  Pujols seems to be connected. 15
19 San Francisco Giants Same story, different season…26th in scoring runs with 134. 19
20 Chicago White Sox 7-12 in Chi-town…need to play better at home. 18
21 Arizona Diamondbacks Took 2-of-3 from the Kemp-less Dodgers, but injuries are no excuse. 21
22 Kansas City Royals Mini-sweeping the Rangers must boost confidence in young Royals. 29
23 Pittsburgh Pirates  Have scored the least runs in baseball with 111. 23
24 Seattle Mariners Team has a.232 batting average, which is 27th-worst in Bigs. Get a new issue… 22
25 Colorado Rockies Cleanup hitter Tulowitzki finally got his first RBI in May. 26
26 Houston Astros Mini-swept the Brewers; 3-4 so far in 20-game stretch. 13 to go… 24
27 Milwaukee Brewers Braun in denial that pitchers are not hitting him on purpose; what’s next losing two games to Astros? Whoops.. 25
28 Chicago Cubs Playing .359 baseball is not what Cubs fans were hoping for Theo. 27
29 San Diego Padres 14-25 is worst record in the NL. 28
30 Minnesota Twins Won 2 in a row to bring their record to 12-26.  30

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New York Yankees: CJ Wilson vs. Phil Hughes


If you looked at Kuroda and Santana’s career stats vs. the active hitters prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankee win was already a lock.

Not taking anything away from Kuroda, but no one foreseen a less than an inning away from a complete game performance considering his last and only two both took place in 2008.

Kuroda also did have some success and experience against Angels Albert Pujols back when he was a Dodger, and that is advantage that the other Yankee starters don’t have.

As for Santana, the majority of the Yankees bats have always whacked the heck out of him except for Swisher, he came into the game with a career .182 average against him. Swisher came into yesterday with a hot and confident bat, which proved lethal.

Still, as a whole the Yankees had hit almost .300 against Santana making the matchup in favor of the Yankees from the get-go; pending that Kuroda as back to his old self.

Looking at this afternoons game, it is just not as cut and dry.


Looking at today’s matchup it is not as clear-cut because Phil Hughes’ stats read like a script to Jekyll and Hyde. He went from 2010 All-Star to being almost ineffective last season and now I think he is somewhere in the middle.

And that makes it easy to pick C.J. Wilson as the clear winner, but in baseball it is the unknowns that make it so fun.

Analyzing Hughes is tough; he did show up in shape this spring, and pitched well in camp, but that has yet to carry over.

Hughes didn’t look sharp at all in his first regular season start down in Tampa. He was pulled after throwing 99 pitches in four and two-thirds innings; he allowed two walks, two runs and one homer, while striking out five.

That is why I think the outcome of this game depends heavily on Hughes performance and how he handles Pujols.

As of today, the only thing that Hughes and Pujols share is a love affair with the fastball; Hughes throws it about 62 percent of the time and Pujols hits it all the time.

This could be a potentially big problem for Hughes unless he throws his with a lot of confidence.

He needs to keep his fastball on the outside upper corner, his change-up high, and stop worrying about what the radar gun reads, if he wants to get a hitter like Pujols to swing and miss. Hughes has to mix it up more than normal, as I believe that if he throws his breaking ball more he has a good chance.

Pujols has yet to hit a homer this season, but it will happen and Hughes doesn’t want to be his target practice.

Bottom line is that if Hughes doesn’t throw like it is 2010, the Yankees could be in for a long afternoon.

As for Wilson, he has clocked 164 at-bats with the active Yankees roster, holding them to a .226 batting average. He has given up homers to Jeter and Ibanez in the past but his biggest threat is Robinson Cano, who in 23 career at-bats vs. Wilson he is hitting close to .400.

It will be interesting to see how A-Rod’s hot bat will do against a pitcher who has never given up a homer to him, and has held him to a .111 average.

On the road Wilson posted a 2.25 ERA last season, which was the best in the AL. This might be Wilson’s first season with the Halos, but he got plenty of big game experience against the Yankees in the Bronx when he was with the Rangers.

Wilson got the Halos first win of 2012, as he threw seven innings of one run, three hit ball against the Twins.

Advantage: Wilson unless Hughes dazzles. 

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New York Yankees: Angels Turn to the Dark Side

I am talking about the new evil empire called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who dropped a bomb at the MLB Winter Meetings with the signings of Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson.

Pujols will be making $250 million over the next 10 years; while Wilson will be paid $77.5 million over the next five years.

If the Angels’ new pricey transports work out like the 2009 New York Yankees, the Halos are banking on being World Series-bound in 2012, literally.

It must be a wretched day in St. Louis, Mo. My heart goes out the Cardinals fans who lost the face of their franchise today, as Pujols took money over loyalty and that hurts, no doubt about it.

Pujols is the West Coast’s version of A-Rod, which would make him A-Jols?

Need a better nickname than that, but you can’t fake the Yankees without an A-something, and the Halos got themselves an expensive one.

Since Rangers fans have only been around for like three years, who cares, but supposedly their offer to Wilson was no comparison to Anaheim’s, according to Wilson. Boo hoo.

Now not to worry, Yankee fans, as it will take the Halos at least a decade more of overspending, while winning four more World Series, for them to ever catch the boys in the Bronx.

Hey, the Bombers are still the rightful owners of the highest paid player ever in Alex Rodriguez, so take that, Angels.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Should New York Yankees Get Edwin Jackson? 10 Pros and Cons

It is no secret that the New York Yankees will be shopping for starting pitching.

How desperately has yet to be seen, as spring training just started and all eyes will be on the mound. It is comforting that the Bronx Bombers have the trade-bait to lure teams.

Trades with teams who don’t look to be in contention pre-All-Star break are especially likely, as it then makes perfect sense to begin looking towards next season and to trade a top pitcher who still has market-value.

Rumors are swirling of talks between the Yankees and Chicago White Sox trade, specifically about Edwin Jackson and how much he would cost for the Bombers to attain him.

Is this trade a good idea for the Yankees?

This is tough question, as even I can’t decide if Jackson would excel in the Bronx. The Yankees have to see what holes can be filled internally and what prospects and players they are willing to give up. 

So, let’s weigh out both 10 pros and cons on whether trading for Edwin Jackson is worthwhile.

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2011 MLB Team Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Just like the Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays suffer from AL East syndrome.

The Toronto Blue Jays haven’t seen the postseason since 1993.

The AL East Division was tough enough when it housed the two best teams in baseball, the Red Sox and Yankees. Then, in the last few seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays jumped onto the elite list, which made baseball life in Toronto only harder.

What is so frustrating is that the Blue Jays would have made the playoffs many times if they played in any other division.

In 2010, the Blue Jays won 85 games, and in four of the last five seasons prior, have won 80+ games. That amount of W’s has been enough to make the playoffs many times and even clinch a division title outside of the AL East.

For the Blue Jays, even with their major league-leading home run total of 257 from last season, heading into 2011 things look to be the same…

Anything is possible.

Blue Jays fans blamed missing the postseason on unfortunate circumstances for a darn good team, until the Rays proved that theory wrong. 

The Positives

With the sad departure of skipper Cito Gaston, the Jays hired Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, which was a great move. The Jays have a young pitching staff with a lot of potential and could flourish under Farrell’s guidance.

Trading ace Roy Halladay prior to last season was not a popular move, but the starters finished with an ERA of 4.30, which topped the Yankees’ 4.35 ERA.

Led by Rickey Romero, who looks to replace the traded Shaun Marcum, the starters have the potential to make Toronto a 2011 surprise story. Romero finished last season with a 14-9 record and an ERA of 3.73. Three other youngsters in Brandon Marrow, Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek will follow Romero.

The Jays had the most home runs, including 46 more than the Red Sox. Jose Bautista led that charge, as he was accountable for 54 of the 257 total. He also had 124 RBIs last season.

Bautista should have a big year, as the 30-year-old is a free agent at the end of 2011, and players know the better the play, the bigger the contract.

Joining Bautista is rookie Travis Snider, who displayed power in the minors. Moving Bautista to third base frees up  the outfield for Snider to move in full-time.

Also, the Jays were the slowest team in baseball, finishing 2010 with a pathetic 58 steals. Signing Rajai Davis, who stole 92 bases for the Oakland A’s over the last two seasons, is a huge improvement. Look for Davis’ RBIs and total runs to jump because of the massive power bats behind him in the lineup.

The future of the Blue Jays looks very promising, as their outlook has changed under second-year GM Alex Anthopoulos. Instead of trying to compete with the “win now” attitude of their peers, Anthopoulos is putting the money into acquiring top young talent by adding scouts all over; in California alone, the team has five.

This attention to detail seems to be right on track so far.

If Anthopoulos’ reorganization of priorities keeps up at this pace, the Jays will get in the playoffs again, just not yet.

The idea is to get in not just for one season, but for many to come. 

The Negatives

Fact is, winning 85 games is meaningless when you play in the AL East.

After years of the Blue Jays being lead by false hope, they seem to finally have come to grips with this fact. It has lead to major frustrations for both fans and players.

The team with the most power couldn’t seem to do much else at the plate. The Jays’ on-base-percentage was a pathetic .312, third lowest in the AL. Even with all the home runs, the Jays need to improve on their 732 RBIs, which was almost 100 less than the league-leading Yankees.

The Jays will have to make up for the 71 total home runs hit by Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and John Buck, who will not be back in 2011. It’s a lot of pressure on Bautista to have another 54 home run season, an achievement that is hard to do in the first place, mind you repeat.

In reality, the Jays might look different heading into 2011, but it is doubtful to be the year when Toronto finally gets to see a postseason berth again.

My advice is to keep one eye on the Blue Jays, because it is a franchise going somewhere very soon.

Also, Blue Jays fans have to give the team something to play for; an empty Rogers Centre all season long is unacceptable.

The Jays had great fans in the 90’s, so time to come on back because in sports, you need fans to keep you going.

Players To Watch

Second baseman Aaron Hill and first baseman Adam Lind both had horrible 2010 numbers.

This duo has to get back to 2009 form in order for the team to avoid finishing last in the AL East. Hill and Lind both took home Silver Sluggers in 2009, combining for 71 home runs and 222 RBIs. Considering Lind is 27 and Hill is 28 years old, they can easily reproduce those numbers. It will soften the blow of losing Wells and Co. during the offseason.

The two infielders will make or break the Jays’ season by either putting them in the mix, or turning it into just another average year for Toronto.

2011 AL East Prediction

If all goes accordingly, the Jays could take the Rays, but it will be tough to land in third place. Look for the Jays and the Orioles to battle for fourth place in the last two months of the season.

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2011 MLB Team Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Over the last 13 seasons, the Baltimore Orioles have been the bottom-feeders of the AL East, often referred to as the toughest division in baseball.

The O’s started last season 2-16, which added to an already-diminishing fan base at Camden Yard.

Looking for an answer, the O’s made three managerial changes. I guess third time’s the charm, as Buck Showalter took over on August 1st and the O’s finally got their man.

Under Showalter, the team went 36-23, the best record in the AL East during that span. The pitching staff made 36 quality starts and the bats averaged .300.

Whatever Showalter was cooking, the O’s players were eating it.

So, how do the Birds look heading into 2011?


The Positives

Showalter could not have been a better fit.

His confidence became infectious, as the O’s ended the 2010 season winning. The fans started showing up again at the Yard and the O’s displayed resilience.

The O’s needed a power bat at third base, so they sent some prospects to the Diamondbacks and got Mark Reynolds in return. Reynolds has averaged nearly 35 homers the last three seasons, but the trade-off is his 200+ strikeouts each season.

The O’s enhanced their infield defense by signing first baseman Derek Lee and trading with the Twins for shortstop JJ Hardy.

The O’s finished their offseason just like they did the 2010 season: on a high note.

The $8 million one-year deal with future Hall-of-Famer and perennial All-Star Vladimir Guerrero was unquestionably their biggest upgrade. Vlad had a .300 batting average with 29 homers and 115 RBI last season with the Rangers.

Bringing in Vlad makes a statement not only at the plate, but also with his influence. This move was owed, as the O’s have one of the best fanbases in sports who needed a jump and got one in Vlad.

The Birds have young pitching with a lot of promise. Adding veteran starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer, even with his injuries, makes a lot of sense. Also, adding Jeremy Accardo and Kevin Gregg will solidify their bullpen.

The O’s made a lot of moves this offseason, paying attention to detail by filling the major holes for the immediate season. They were already above average in the outfield with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, so focusing on players to surround second baseman Brian Roberts was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Overall, the O’s had a constructive few months and the team looks respectable heading into 2011.


The Negatives

Even though the Orioles could win the most improved award this offseason, they still have a long way to go unless they can trade themselves out of the AL East.

Playing the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays 18-19 times each season is tough, so if Baltimore can come in any higher than last place it will be a marked improvement and prove they are on the right track.

The goal should be a postseason birth, even though it is a long shot. But if all the cards fall perfectly and the other teams have bad luck, you never know.

For any of this to happen the O’s have to stay healthy, and their new additions come with some injury history. Every team’s primary target is to stay fit, so the O’s are not alone here.

Players To Watch

Second baseman Brian Roberts needs to stay healthy.

Roberts bats leadoff and when any team loses that bat to the DL, it can muddle their entire lineup. He was limited to 59 games in 2010 and the O’s win more when he plays.

Third baseman Mark Reynolds brings power and presence to a weak lineup, but he will need to reduce his strikeout rate by a lot to make the O’s a serious threat.

Even with Reynolds racking up 32 home runs in 2010, his batting average was a pathetic .189 and his 211 strikeouts were the highest in baseball. Reynolds had 223 strikeouts in 2009 and 204 in 2008, so he has topped this category for three seasons.

Reynolds needs to cut this number by at least 25 percent He is only 27 years old, so it is possible with hard work, maybe not immediately but in a few years.


2011 AL East Prediction

Baltimore Orioles will finish in fourth or fifth place, but will have a record over .500.

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New York Yankees: Fox’s Joe Buck Sticks It To A-Rod at Super Bowl

Late in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV, the camera flashed New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez sitting with his girlfriend Cameron Diaz.
Diaz was feeding A-Rod popcorn at the moment, and Fox’s Joe Buck was elated to have caught the slugger being feed like a baby. It was typical A-rod awkward.
At that moment in the broadcast, Buck was narrating around the box seats what celebrities were where, like Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, President George W. Bush, his wife and Ashton Kutcher. Buck obviously had direct video access of this feed as he was pointing out each star.
Buck is no dummy. He knows how to piss off Yankees fans and A-Rod is an easy target.
Admittedly, my first reaction was whatever the definition of “yuck” is in the dictionary. It is so typical that A-Rod has to be fed, but maybe because it was by Diaz that made it so gross.
Diaz serves right into A-Rod’s want and joy of hanging with celebrities. This offseason A-Rod has been photographed at parties in Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Mexico and most recently Paris, and that is just off the top of my head.
This Diaz-A-Rod relationship is not sitting well with me, as she seems like more of a distraction than Kate Hudson or his ex-wife Cynthia or even his stripper friends.
Considering the state of the Yankees right now, if A-rod doesn’t hit as hard as he has partied this offseason, sh*t will hit the fan. His visit to Paris was as recently as January 26 and I doubt he brought his trainer along with him.
A-Rod will have to wave adios to Diaz shortly as spring training begins shortly. His 2010 numbers took a dive below his career average, and he looked tired.
A-Rod has to be aware that Yankee fans expect big things in 2011.
So, as much as I hate to admit it, Joe Buck’s anti-New York reporting definitely hit a nerve with me.
Buck knew exactly what I was thinking during the feeding, as he commented,

“I’m sure Alex is thrilled we just put the camera on him at that moment.”
As for Diaz, who once said in Harpers Bazaar interview,

“I grew up with the Dodgers, but now I’m a Yankees fan.”
My message to her is please stay with the Dodgers; it’s better for everyone and A-Rod can feed himself.

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