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July 09, 2006

July 9th @ The Devil Rays


We took the kids to go see the Trenton Thunder play today (against the Binghamton Mets) and I missed the Yankees game.

If you count the last minor league game that I went to this season, I'm two-for-two this year - in terms of having the Yankees lose a bad game while I was away having fun at another ballpark.

They announced an interim Yankees score at the park in Trenton - when it was 5-0 in favor of New York. And, I thought "Cool, this one should be in the bag." When I got home from Trenton, and turned on the T.V., I saw Nancy Newman showing highlights of Baldelli throwing out Melky and robbing Jeter. And, then, I said, out-loud, what any Yankees fan would say seeing that and learning the final score.

Mercer County Waterfront Park at Trenton is very nice. I asked for tickets in the shade (as the kids are little and fry in the sun). And, they gave us perfect seats - right behind home plate and under cover. Boomer is the mascot for the Thunder and he did a good job of working the crowd with his water cannon. And, the Thunder had a nice give-away for the kids today - a logo softball.

We sat surrounded by a fair-sized group of folks who must be regulars for the Thunder - as they sounded like they go to a lot of games. We were also about 20 feet from the Annies section - where the gals were busy reading books, talking on their cells, and working on their tans. It was a funny sight.

Most of all, it was great to see, in person, guys like Tyler Clippard, Brett Gardner, Kevin Howard, Vince Faison, Felix Escalona, Eric Duncan and Randy Ruiz.

For those wishing to see Philip Hughes in New York soon, let me tell you, Double-A play is far away from the Major League level - let's give Hughes some time in Triple-A before he hits the Bronx.

Back to the Yankees game today, well, the only thing that I can say now is: Thank you Jermaine Dye!

Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 9, 2006 08:31 PM


Wow, I spoke too soon about the White Sox rolling over to Boston. When I wrote that on the other thread, it was 5-3 in the top of the 11th and basically figured it a done deal. I hate the ChiSox but I hate the BoSox even more and am thrilled that we didn't lose any ground to them.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 9, 2006 09:22 PM

This is why I don't understand why the Yankees messed around with Kris Wilson instead of promoting Steven White. White is still considered a prospect. At worst, a good game in the majors by him elevates his trade value. Did the Yankees really expect anything from Wilson? He's a Small clone -- good changeup, lousy fastball, if he makes a small mistake they hit him hard. At least White has a good fastball. Starting Wilson cost us cutting the Sox's lead to two. It was a dumb move altogether.

After pitching so many multi-inning games, Villone finally blew a lead (on a lousy changeup). Scott Proctor showed he's Scott Proctor and gave up the lead run. The best thing about Dotel coming back is that Proctor won't be the seventh-inning guy anymore.

And, Steve, going to Trenton games is a lot of fun. It's three hours away for me, so I don't go often, but I try to get there as much as a I can. One thing, though: it's the level of competition, not the stadium and amenities, that separates AA, AAA and the big leagues. And AA and AAA aren't far off from one another.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 10, 2006 12:11 AM

Sort of off subject but do you (or anyone else) know when the gap between AA and AAA started to narrow? When I was a little kid, AAA was where all the prospects made their bones. Now it's like AA is AAA and AAA is the weigh-station between the bigs and retirement.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 10, 2006 09:36 AM

I want to say that it's been around 10 years now, thereabouts, where Triple-A became a home for old-timers and the like, and Double-A became where the real prospects live en masse.

baileywalk - I have to say, I watched Clippard close yesterday. He looked good against the Double-A hitters. But, his actions/body language, etc., as he went about his business, screamed out "kid" to me - someone too young for the majors. It's this type of gap that I noticed.

He didn't look like someone who was ready to face major league hitters - yet.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 10, 2006 09:50 AM

MJ, I guess it happened as baseball expanded. Once there were so many rosters to fill, teams started stuffing their AAA squads with journeymen. AAA is still the final stop -- Lester was there before being called up, Melky was there, and Hughes will be there next year -- but the real test is in AA because all the true prospects are there now. There's a kind of sad feeling in AAA. I don't want to get too poetic about it, but there are so many over-the-hill, never-gonna-make-it guys clinging in AAA that it can get pretty depressing if you think about it too much.

Steve, I think you can only judge a pitcher on who he's facing and what he does while facing them. And Clip -- who I've seen pitch in Trenton and who I have to say I really, really root for (his underdog story is too long to get into here) -- struck out eleven in seven innings. So while you're right Clip isn't ready for the majors (he's only twenty-one years old) I think it's just about learning more about pitching and working on gaining a few ticks on his fastball.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 10, 2006 10:26 AM

FWIW, my comment was not about Clippard's stuff. That, I liked. It was just the way that he walked around the mound between pitches, etc. He just seemed like a kid - and not someone ready for the big league stage in New York. I could see him being eaten active in the Bronx right now - sorta like Melky last year.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 10, 2006 10:38 AM