Posts Tagged ‘houston astros’

In Praise of Jorge Posada

Jorge Posada returned to the Yankee lineup Wednesday night after over two weeks on the DL. If you don’t actively follow the Yankees, though, you may not have even realized he was gone. Posada is not the kind of marquee player whose injury would be national news.

Even though the last few weeks haven’t been the best for the Yankees, it’s not really like the Yankees have missed Posada so much—Francisco Cervelli’s surprising performance (he’s put up a .383 OBP and a stunning 1.442 OPS with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, albeit in an extremely small sample) has made Posada’s absence more palatable. Even before Posada’s injury, there was talk that he should become the team’s full-time DH to make room for Cervelli.

This isn’t really new. Being underappreciated seems to be Posada’s destiny. The most anonymous of the Core Four has flown under the radar throughout his career.

If you live in the New York area, have ever watched the YES Network, or picked up Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago, then you’re already familiar with the term “The Core Four.” This is how we insufferable Yankee fans refer to the quartet of teammates—Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada—that have been with the team since the beginning of the Yankee Dynasty in 1996. All four players made their MLB debut with the Yankees in 1995 and would go on to play major roles in the Yankee championships of the late ’90s, 2000, and then again last season. When critics point out (fairly) that the Yankees can sign free agents and assemble a roster of All-Stars seemingly at will thanks to their bottomless pockets, fans point to the Core Four as the four examples of homegrown talent that the Yankees didn’t have to “buy.” Earlier this season Jeter, Rivera, and Posada became the first trio of teammates in any major professional sport to play together for 16 consecutive seasons—a pretty remarkable fact in the era of free agency, even for the Yankees. Pettitte would have joined them, if not for a three-year stint with the Houston Astros from 2004-2006 that Yankee fans conveniently ignore in their memory. Continue reading

MLB Preview Bonanza: NL Central

Ugh…whenever I find myself waiting in a line or at an airport and I need something to do to keep my mind occupied for a little while, I try to name all the sports teams. This isn’t all that difficult for me at this point; I usually get them all. But my strategy is always to go division by division. And the NL Central always screws me up. Six teams? Every other division in major professional sports now contains five teams or fewer…except the NL Central. And so I always end up taking longer than usual to run through them: Let’s see…Cardinals, Cubs, umm, ugh, Pirates, who else? Having six teams in the NL Central throws off the whole attempt at scheduling in the NL. I know the Mets play their division foes 18 times, but how many times do Central teams play other Central teams? It’s not still 18, right? Is it only 12? Twelve seems too few, doesn’t it? Well, you know how many it is? There’s no standard. The Cubs, for instance, play the Cardinals, Brewers, and Pirates 15 times, the Reds 16 times, and the Astros 18 times. This is the worst division in sports.

It wasn’t the worst division in the National League until recently, though. The Central had more representatives in the NLCS (eight) than the East or West in the Aughts. But only one of those teams–and ironically, the worst of them, the 2006 Cardinals–went on to win the World Series, and the Central hasn’t gotten a team out of the Division Series in the last three years. St. Louis is the favorite to repeat in 2010, but I’ve got other ideas. Continue reading