"No one gives us the finger. We're Yankees!"

I don’t really consider myself a Yankee-hater. I don’t have the energy to begrudge them their $200 million payroll or 26 World Series crowns. That’s negative energy I’d rather expend on Nickelback, Jay Leno and people who use smiley faces in their e-mails.

That being said, the fact that the Yanks were officially bounced from postseason contention last night gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. And the fact that the Rays are the likely division winners only makes it better. This is the chess team captain getting the head cheerleader while the quarterback sulks (of course, I don’t know where that leaves the dork who wrote for his school paper… but enough about me).

Anyway, Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner isn’t as happy about this scenario as I am. He vented to the Sporting News about baseball’s need to do away with divisions and let the top four teams from the American and National Leagues advance to October. Here was one particularly choice quote:

“Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn’t fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we’re not. This is by no means a knock on Torre — let me make that clear — but look at the division they’re in. If LA were in the AL East, it wouldn’t be in the playoff discussion.”

Now, I could write an entire blog entry filled with reasons why the LA probably shouldn’t be in the AL East, but I’ll spare you. Instead, I’d like to open up the floor to other Hankian ideas for radical realignment. Should baseball do away with divisions? Should the divisions be rearranged? Or are you happy with things the way they are (the Indians’ October absence notwithstanding).

As Hank taught us, no idea is too crazy to propose, so let’s hear what you’ve got. That is, if you’re not too busy consoling LeBron.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

INDIANS (79-78): CF Grady Sizemore, 3B Jamey Carroll, RF Shin-Soo Choo, SS Jhonny Peralta, C Victor Martinez, DH Travis Hafner, LF Ben Francisco, 1B Ryan Garko, 2B Josh Barfield. RHP Fausto Carmona (8-7, 5.19).

RED SOX (92-65): CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, 3B Kevin Youkilis, RF J.D. Drew, 1B Mark Kotsay, C Jason Varitek, LF Chris Carter, SS Alex Cora. RHP Paul Byrd (11-12, 4.53).

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Scott Elarton has been on the Indians’ DL since June 30 with a non-baseball medical condition, the details of which have not (and will not) be divulged. But Eric Wedge said he spoke with Elarton about a week ago. “He siad things are going good, he’s doing better,” Wedge said. “We didn’t talk about whether or not he wants to pitch next year.”
  • Cliff Lee is one of just seven pitchers since 1920 to win 22 of his first 25 decisions (according to Stats LLC), and his 22 wins are one shy of the team record for wins by a left-hander, set by Vean Gregg in 1911. He’ll get one more shot at that record Sunday in Chicago.
  • The Red Sox last night became the first team to clinch an appearance in the postseason by defeating a pitcher with at least 20 wins since Sept. 23, 1973, when Oakland won the AL West by defeating Chicago’s Wilbur Wood (24-19). That nugget comes to you courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau.
  • The Indians tied the Major League record for getting hit by a pitch. The mark of 100 was originally set by the Astros in 1997.
  • Ryan Garko has reached base safely in 31 straight games.
  • Josh Barfield went 2-for-3 last night to triple his hit total for the season.
  • The Indians haven’t made an error in five games and rank fourth in the AL with a .985 fielding percentage. Of course, that didn’t help Jhonny Peralta get to the grounder to his left side in the fifth inning last night.
  • The Indians are hitting .280 in the second half with 350 runs scored in 63 games (5.6 runs per game). They are first in the Majors in runs and first in OPS (.820) in the second half.
  • Bullpen coach Luis Isaac was asked who has the advantage tonight — Paul Byrd or the Indians’ hitters. “It’s 50-50,” Isaac said. “But one 50 can be stronger than the other.” I really don’t know what that means, but I like it.

~AC

17 Comments

From the same Hank who said “we all know baseball is better off when the Yankees are winning”, awesome. Baseball already has the lowest ratio of playoff spots to eligible teams, so I don’t think there is any point in reverting backwards. Besides, we all know how much money additional postseason games generate for teams and MLB and I’m sure that even though his is spend the frugality (if thats a word) of 3rd grader at a candy store, I’m still positive he still likes the smell of it. We all know that this wouldn’t be an issue if his Yankees weren’t a multi-million dollar bust.
-As for any other suggestions, I do wish the AL and NL had an even number of teams, though it doesn’t seem to be helping their chances in the AllStar game. I also sometimes lament about only having one wildcard in each league, but ya gotta draw the line somewhere, right?

*spent with the frugality… darn typos.

I like the idea of 2 divisions, but that’s too “hockey” for me. And we all know, America hates hockey.

They should have given the Expos to Portland and stuck them in the AL West, then moved the Pirates to the NL East. That would have evened things out.

Did anyone point out to Hank that, technically, it’s harder to win the wild card in the NL because there are more teams competing?

I actually kind of wish baseball would cut back a bit. The situation in Florida is just sad and I don’t think Arizona even sold out their playoff games last year.

Luis Isaac is the man.

Hank is just bitter. He has to find a solution to a situation his team is in, its pitiful. Our pitcher got hurt running the bases? Stop letting pitcher run the bases! Oh, we didn’t make the playoffs? Let’s tweak it so we do!

Hank has a lot to learn about this “baseball” thing he is involved with.

I was under the impression that the divisions (with a few exceptions) were meant to assist with fiscally responsible travel between games. . .but then again, “fiscally responsible” is not exactly a problem for the Yankees.

I have always suggested that to even out the american league and national league, to move the Astros to the NL West. This way, both leagues will have 15 teams, and each division would have 5 teams. This leaves the overcrowded NL Central to 5, and gives the AL West 5. My justification for bringing the Astros to the West is that the Texas Rangers, the other team from Texas, is also in the West.
It is a problem that the Dodgers are making the playoffs, and other more deserving teams with better records are not. Teams with this advantage should have some sort of penalty going into the playoffs, or there should be a new playoff system all together.

I disagree with Hank, and really the whole idea that the teams with the top 8 records should make the playoffs. While in this case, the AL East is probably stronger than the NL West, I still don’t think it is fair to compare records. It is like comparing apples to oranges as they say. The Yankees played around 144 games against the AL, while the Dodgers played 144 games against the NL, so, while it may not be the case today, it is entierly possible that the someday, a team like the Dodgers will have to play a tougher schedule, and a worse record, might not automatically mean that they are a worse team. It is amazing that someone who has a team that has made the playoffs thirteen years in a row would complain about things not being fair for his team, but it is also sort of sad. Often in sports you are not taught to make excuses, but rather than congradulate the Rays and Red Sox and accept that the Yankees didn’t get it done this year, he wants to complain about the system and make excuses for while his team didn’t live up to it’s payroll. Along with the Rays and Brewers, the Dodgers are the other team I will be rooting for in the playoffs, not just for Casey Blake, but because I do think it is wonderful that Joe Torre made the playoffs, while little Hank Steinbrenner cries at home about the increduble injustice that has been put on the Yankees.

As they said on PTI, why not just have the top two teams play in the World Series and just call it a day?

Also, the league wouldn’t move the Astros to the AL West because they like to have teams in similar geographic locations in different leagues, like the Angels/Dodgers, A’s/Giants, Cubs/White Sox, Yankees/Mets, Royals/Cardinals, etc.

Sorry kvanderneut, i forgot to mention that the Astros move from the NL Central to the NL West, and the Rockies move to the AL West. I knew I was forgetting something. Thank you for reminding me.

You can’t have the same number of teams in each league with the current number of teams. With an odd number of teams in a league, one team from each league doesn’t have anyone to play on any given day. I suppose you could rearrange interleague so that on any given weekend, there is one interleague series going on, or something, but it would be an even more difficult logistical nightmare than it already is to make the schedule. Besides, interleague should be quarantined as much as possible, not spread throughout the entire year.

That said, Hank Steinbrenner is possibly an even bigger AUTO-CENSORED TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN — THINK OF THE CHILDREN! than George.

magrathean, good point. I knew there had to be a reason for the lopsided divisions.

My dream, in the future, is for Ozzie Guillen to manage the Yankees with Hank still at the helm: what an unholy hot mess that would be :)

Here’s the deal with Lil’ ‘Brenner: he pops off like he had ANYTHING to do with the Yankees becoming what the “were”, but in actuality, it all fell in his lap. When he can make something of a contender again of his team, I’ll bend my ear a little. But for now – like AC – it does give me a tingly feeling they’ll be sitting at home in the offseason. (It would’ve made me happier if they would’ve remained behind the Blue Jays in the standings, too – but I don’t want to get greedy.)

As our former ace said last postseason, LeBron has that rally towel to cry into.

Here’s the deal, Hank. We’ll do away with the Divisions and let the 4 best teams advance to the play-offs if you’ll agree to a salary cap.

Hahaha, zing! steppassociates! Although, sometimes I relish in the fact of watching a bunch of over-spoiled players not mesh and advance nowhere.

good point, magrathean

The current system wasn’t designed for the Yankees, it was for small market cities who’s financial survival depends on keeping their teams in the playoff race as long as possible.

For fairness, have a play-in game between the two teams with best records (who aren’t otherwise in). Play it the day after the season ends and you wouldn’t push the playoff schedule back any further. This would also keep most teams in the hunt even longer.

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