Monday, November 30, 2009

Derek Jeter: Sportsman of the Year

CONGRATULATIONS TO DEREK JETER!

The 2009 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year


What can I say? Its hard to argue with this choice.

Congrats to Mr. November!

Photo courtesy of si.com


Sunday, November 29, 2009

The SEC Championship: The De Facto National Title Game


Its official!

No. 1 Florida (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-0)

There are no more scenarios to talk about. No more if, ands or buts-- the Gators and the Crimson Tide are undefeated, untied, un-everything. The two will rumble next week for the SEC championship-- with the winner going to the BCS national title game. The loser will most likely play in the Sugar Bowl. But I'm sure for Florida and Alabama anything less than a national championship is unacceptable.

Its unfortunate the Florida-Alabama showdown won't be for the national championship. Many are calling it the de facto national title game. The survivor will have to wait until a couple of things play out.

That being--

The other big game next week-- the Big 12 championship between the No. 3 Texas Longhorns and the No. 22 Nebraska Cornhuskers. If the Longhorns win-- they'll face the Florida -Alabama winner for the national title-- no doubt about it.

But if the Longhorns lose? Uh, oh!

This is where it can get a little sticky and controversial--

The No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs are banking on Nebraska to upset Texas so they can sneak in and play the Florida-Alabama winner for the national championship. The Horned Frogs (12-0) are done for the regular season and all they can do is wait and hope.

But--

There's a major game next week (in these necks of the woods) between the No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats (11-0) and the No. 15 Pittsburgh Panthers (9-2). The winner of this game will win the Big East and get an automatic BCS berth. This may be a major problem for TCU (in the event of a Texas loss) because if the Bearcats beat the Panthers (and Texas loses) they will be the only other undefeated school (along with the SEC champion) in any of the big-6 conferences. And my gut feeling is that Cincinnati will then leapfrog TCU in the rankings and play for the national championship.

So if I'm TCU-- the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Pitt Panthers are my best friends right now. If the Cornhuskers and the Panthers can pull off the upsets then TCU will become the first non-big 6 conference school to play for the national championship.

But again, if Texas wins, then all this just becomes a lot of typing. Then the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh winner will most likely go to the Orange Bowl and play the ACC champion (Georgia Tech-Clemson winner). TCU will get a BCS berth-- most likely in the Fiesta Bowl.

And if I'm the Fiesta Bowl, I would snatch the Boise State Broncos and put them up against TCU. Let's not forget about the undefeated Broncos (12-0). A TCU-Boise State match-up would draw almost as much attention as the national title game. We are talking about two very good, unbeaten teams going head-to-head and both of whom are victims of the system. If ever a game would create a BCS backlash and bring them to their knees-- it would be this one.

It would definitely leave us asking the usual question after the national title game-- what if?

Pictures courtesy of the AP

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bring On The Cornhuskers!


As usual the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry did not disappoint.

The Texas Longhorns (12-0) escaped College Station tired but still unblemished after a shootout win over the Texas A&M Aggies, 49-39. Now the only obstacle standing between the Longhorns and the BCS title game are the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The Longhorns and the Cornhuskers will dual next week in the Big 12 championship game-- and if Texas wins then they're off to the BCS title game. Nebraska may be poised to get an invitation to the Cotton Bowl. It'll depend on where Oklahoma State ends up. Anyway--

To the Aggies credit, they kept the game interesting till the end. They cut the score to 42-39 with 7.10 left in the 4th quarter but Texas ran one back for a late touchdown to seal the game, 49-39. The Aggies' 39 points have been, by far, the most given up by the Texas defense this year.

So there's no doubt the Longhorns showed their grit in this most hostile of hostile environments.

Longhorns quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Colt McCoy had a monster game-- 24-40, 304 YDs and 4 TDs, 1 rush TD. But it was Aggies quarterback, Jerrod Johnson (l.) who left a lasting impression by throwing 4 TD passes himself against the stingy Texas defense. Many are already considering him a front runner for next year's Heisman Trophy.

Anyway, a lot still needs to happen before the picture becomes more clear. No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama still have business to take care of before one of them falls in the SEC championship game.

And lets not forget, No. 4 TCU, No. 5 Cincinnati and No. 6 Boise State are still lurking in the bushes.

Pictures courtesy of the AP

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The AL & NL MVPs: No Brainers!

CONGRATULATIONS TO JOE MAUER & ALBERT PUJOLS!

2009 American League and National League MVPs


Joe Mauer - 27 of 28 First Place Votes
Albert Pujols- 35 of 35 First Place Votes (Unanimous Choice)

The only questions about this year's MVP voting is: Who is the one voter who didn't vote for Mauer and what season was he watching by casting his 1st place vote for Miguel Cabrera?

Miguel Cabrera? No disrespect to Cabrera, he's an awesome player-- but he wound up 4th in the voting anyway. So that 1st place vote kinda looks misguided.

Anyway--

Congrats to Mauer and Pujols.

Photos courtesy of the AP

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Civil War Before The Rose Bowl


The road to the Rose Bowl is finally clear.

Last week the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) punched their ticket for the big game and are waiting to see who would emerge out of the crowded Pac-10. With little excitement in the polls (the top 7 haven't budged in weeks), the race in the Pac-10 has been the best thing going on in college football lately. Six teams, at one point, had a legitimate shot at winning the conference title and seven teams are bowl eligible.

But after Oregon's epic win at Arizona, 44-41 in 2OT and California's upset of Stanford and Oregon State's victory-- the picture has cleared up. Being bowl eligible is great but in the Pac-10, unless you're going to the BCS title game, the Rose Bowl is the coveted prize.

So after Saturday, six teams has now become two--

The winner of the upcoming Oregon-Oregon State showdown (known as the Civil War) will win the Pac-10 and earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. It's that simple. The No. 8 Ducks (9-2) will be favored at home over the No.16 Beavers (8-3)-- but I wouldn't count the Beavers out because teams have a tendency of rising up to the occasion when they play their in-state rivals.

Other significant in-state rivalries this week are: Florida State at No. 1 Florida; No. 2 Alabama at Auburn; No. 3 Texas at Texas A&M. Both Florida (11-0) and Alabama (11-0) have already clinched their spots in the SEC championship game but I'm sure they both want to go into the title game unbeaten, with the winner then heading to the BCS title game. A loss to an in-state rival before the championship game will be a hard pill to swallow for both the Gators and the Crimson Tide.

The same is true for Texas. The Longhorns (11-0) have already clinched their spot in the Big 12 championship game against the resurgent Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-3)-- who would love nothing more than to spoil the Longhorns national title hope. But before the Big 12 showdown, Texas needs to take care of the pesky Aggies. Looking ahead and beyond College Station could be a fatal mistake for the Longhorns. But I'm sure head coach Mack Brown is preaching this to his players even as we speak.

Anyway, if any of the Top 3 were to fall to an in-state rival, it'll be great news for No. 4 TCU (11-0), No. 5 Cincinnati (10-0) and No. 6 Boise State (11-0) who are also unbeaten but have reached a dead-end unless someone can break the Florida-Alabama-Texas brick wall.

And for their sakes, it needs to happen soon because they are running out of games.

Photos courtesy of the AP

Friday, November 20, 2009

R.I.P. UGA VII


Some sad news today in the world of college sports-- Uga VII, the mascot for the Georgia Bulldogs has died. Uga, who was only 4 years old, died of an unexpected heart illness. His sudden passing caught everyone by surprise, including Georgia head coach Mark Richt, who is said to be distraught by the bad news.

Now--

To anyone outside of Georgia this may not sound like a big deal. But for Georgia football and its fans, Uga is an icon-- a superstar in his own right.

I first learned of Uga's star power around 8 years ago. For starters, every Georgia mascot is named Uga. For example, Uga VII was the son of Uga VI.

Anyway--

Around 8 years ago, I noticed (by accident) that certain issues of Sports Illustrated were considered collectibles. So I went on eBay to check it out and was amazed at all the issues that people were bidding on. As a lifelong subscriber, I knew I had boxes full of them all over the house. So I monitored the bidding for a few days to learn which issues were the hot sellers and which weren't. It turned out that I had some of the hot sellers still lying around.

So logically, I decided to put them on eBay-- and did pretty well I might add. I made enough money to pretty much make back all the money I'd spent on subscriptions.

Anyway, to make a long story short-- one of the most popular issues, which I sold, was the April 28, 1997 issue featuring, you guessed it, Uga V, Georgia's then-mascot, on the cover. I can't remember the exact final bid, but I know it was around $10.00 and like 5 or 6 people bid on it. I know $10.00 may not sound like a lot of money but if you consider, at the time, I was paying like .75 cents an issue for my subscription-- its a pretty nice profit.

I remember being amazed at the issue's popularity-- and all the bids came from the state of Georgia. Obviously, I have no idea what has happened with my issue since then. On eBay, once you get paid and you ship the item, the buyer can do whatever he/she wants with it. But knowing how beloved Uga is to Georgia fans, it wouldn't surprise me if in some home or bar somewhere in Georgia, the issue (with my address label still on it) is framed and up on a wall.

So when I heard the news today of Uga's passing, I immediately thought about the fans of Georgia football. Uga's death may not get national press, but to Bulldog fans, I know its big news.

R.I.P. Uga VII.

Photos courtesy of si.com

Tim Lincecum Wins NL Cy Young Award!

Congratulations to Tim Lincecum!

2009 National League Cy Young Award

Back-To-Back

San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum became the 8th pitcher in Major League history to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards.

A look back--

Sandy Koufax

1965 - (26-8, 2.04 ERA, 382 K)
1966 - (27-9, 1.73 ERA, 317 K)


Denny McLain

1968 - (31-6, 1.96 ERA, 280 K)
1969 - (24-9, 2.80 ERA, 181 K)


Jim Palmer

1975 - (23-11, 2.09 ERA, 193 K)
1976 - (22-13, 2.51 ERA, 159K)


Roger Clemens

1986 - (24-4, 2.48 ERA, 238 K)
1987 - (20-9, 2.97 ERA, 256 K)

Greg Maddux

1992 - (20-11, 2.18 ERA, 199K)
1993 - (20-10, 2.36 ERA, 197 K)
1994 - (16-6, 1.56 ERA, 156 K)
1995 - (19-2, 1.63 ERA, 181K)


Roger Clemens

1997 - (21-7, 2.05 ERA, 292 K)
1998 - (20-6, 2.65 ERA, 271 K)


Randy Johnson

1999 - (17-9, 2.48 ERA, 364 K)
2000 - (19-7, 2.64 ERA, 347 K)
2001 - (21-6, 2.49 ERA, 372 K)
2002 - (24-5, 2.32 ERA, 334 K)


Pedro Martinez

1999 - (23-4, 2.07 ERA, 313 K)
2000 - (18-6, 1.74 ERA, 284 K)



Tim Lincecum

2008 - (18-5, 2.62 ERA, 265 K)
2009 - (15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 K)

The future looks bright for the young kid. Congrats Tim!

Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Washington Redskins Get A Victory!


So far this season the Washington Redskins are 3-6 on the football field and 1-0 in the courtroom. The courtroom? What's this about?

Oh boy! This is one of those politically correct/sensitive issues type of story that many people stay away from. But being the nonpolitical dude that I am, well, let's just say, I'll throw in my two cents about it. Quite frankly, this (non) issue has been going on forever and I'm glad the Redskins won the court battle on Monday.

A quick bio: As early as the late-80s, a group of Native Americans have had issues with sports teams using Native American names and logos. They say the logos are insensitive and offensive. So in 1992, a group of American Indians sued the Redskins and asked the courts to force them to change their name on the grounds that it violates their civil rights. Initially they won, but then a U.S. District Judge overturned the decision. Apparently the case had some strong legs because the group was able to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, on Monday the Supreme Court rejected their appeal, thus ending the 17-year battle and handing the Redskins a victory. I mean, where else can the group go? The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land-- if they turn you down, its over. Go home and find something else to do.

Anyway, like I said, this issue has been around for a while. The only program that I'm aware of that has actually caved in to these disgruntled Native American groups is the University of St. John's. Their teams are now called the Redstorm-- but remember, they were once called the Redmen. But out of political correctness, St. John's decided to change their name. What can I say? That's their prerogative. All I know is that the St. John's Redmen were once a force to be reckoned with in college basketball and after they became the Redstorm, let's just say, they have disappeared into intergalactic space. Who knows-- maybe its all coincidence.

But anyway--

A quick note: This group (who's offended by the Redskins name) is a small group. In 2002, Sports Illustrated commissioned a poll which found that 75% of those Native Americans surveyed had no objection to the Redskins' name. Furthermore, in 2004, a poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found that 91% of American Indians surveyed found the Redskins' name acceptable.

So my question is: Who else is on the group's radar? The Cleveland Indians? The Chicago Blackhawks? The Atlanta Braves? The Florida State Seminoles? Furthermore, what is their beef? If anything they should feel proud. I know I would be, if my ancestry was kept alive by a major sports organization.

Using their logic--

Shouldn't Irish-Americans be offended by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or the Boston Celtics? But I don't hear them beefing.

And shouldn't the people of Scandinavia be offended by the Minnesota Vikings? I don't hear them beefing. And shouldn't Mexican-Americans be offended by the San Diego State Aztecs? I don't hear them beefing either.

Anyway, I think you get my point.

Lastly, the Redskins aren't out of the woods just yet. The word is that a new group is going to open up a new case from scratch. Since the old group has exhausted all of their avenues, I guess they think a group of fresh faces may have better luck.

In my opinion, I get the feeling that in 17 years we'll be reading about the Supreme Court turning down their appeal also.

To be continued....

Photos and stats courtesy of Wikipedia

Zack Greinke Wins AL Cy Young Award!

Congratulations to Zack Greinke!

2009 American League Cy Young Award

A No-Brainer!

Greinke (16-8), 229.1 IP, 2.16 ERA, 242 K, 3 SHO, 6 CG

Greinke is the 3rd Kansas City Royals pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. He joins Bret Saberhagen (1985, 1989) and David Cone (1994).

Greinke received 25 out of 28 possible first-place votes (3 2nd-place votes). Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners received 2 first-place votes (23 2nd-place and 1 3rd-place) and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers received 1 first-place vote (9 3rd-place votes).

In other words, the voters got it right!

Nobody deserved it more than Greinke. Period!

Stats courtesy of espn.com

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Grizzlies Give AI The Boot!


Its official! The Grizzlies have canned Allen Iverson.

Although in their announcement, the Grizzlies called it a "mutual agreement" to go their separate ways.

General Manager Chris Wallace issued a statement, which read, "Because of personal matters that forced him to leave the team on November 7, Allen will step away from the game at this time, allowing him to focus on those matters. As a result, we will be ending our contractual agreement with Allen, which will allow both parties to move forward. We wish Allen the best."

Yeah. Yeah. Whatever.

The Grizzlies' statement should have looked more like this:

"Listen NBA fans, we the Memphis Grizzlies had to give Allen Iverson the boot. First of all, he missed all of preseason and the start of the regular season with a quote, unquote, hamstring injury and when he returned on Nov. 2 at Sacramento, he got all gangsta on us because he was coming off the bench. He played a total of 3 games for us before taking his now infamous leave of absence. Oh yeah, and all 3 games were on the road in California. In other words, our fans never got to see AI play a home game. To bad for all those fans who bought AI's No. 3 jersey and never got to see him play one minute. But that's part of being a fan of our team. Remember, we're the Memphis Grizzlies. The same Grizzlies who traded Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown. Now we can add the AI fiasco to our 'storied' history of bonehead moves."

AI's rebuttal:

"I'm Allen Iverson! The 4-time scoring champion and former league MVP. Coming off the bench for the Grizzlies cramps my style. I mean, this team stinks. I thought I was gonna come here and play 48 minutes a night and take 50 shots a game. You know, to pile on my Hall of Fame numbers. Peace out Memphis! AI don't ride the bench for nobody!"

All I can say is, "Good riddance!"

Photo courtesy of the AP

Sunday, November 15, 2009

TCU Is For Real!


With apologies to Florida and Alabama, but the state of Texas may have the two best college football teams in the country. We all know about the No. 3 Texas Longhorns (10-0)-- who have been ranked in the top 3 all season long-- and who officially control their own destiny all the way to the BCS title game. If Texas wins a home game vs. Kansas, @ Texas A&M and the Big 12 championship, then they are in the national title game-- no if, ands or buts about it. They will meet the winner of the SEC championship game between the No. 1 Florida Gators (10-0) and No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0).

But if Texas somehow stumbles, there is a strong possibility that the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs (10-0) can sneak in and play for the national title. This is an unheard of scenario. A non-BCS school in the national title game? I'm sure the BCS hierarchy is cringing and rooting for Texas to go unbeaten.

But as we saw on Saturday, TCU is no slouch. The Horned Frogs displayed their dominance by completely annihilating No. 16 Utah, 55-28. And Utah is no slouch either. The Utes (8-2) have one of the best defenses in the country. Prior to the TCU blowout, the Utes had allowed over 20 points in a game only once (a 31-24 loss to Oregon, their only other loss) this season.

No doubt the Horned Frogs impressed the entire college football world on Saturday. But before it's all said and done, the No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats (10-0) and the No. 6 Boise State Broncos (10-0) may have something to say in this conversation.

For starters, Boise State beat the Oregon team (mentioned earlier) in Week 1, 19-8. The same Oregon team that controls it's own destiny in the Pac-10 and may quite possibly play Big Ten champion Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. With a win @ Arizona and a home win against in-state rival Oregon State-- the Ducks (8-2) will win the Pac-10 and play OSU in the Rose Bowl. And it gives Boise State more credibility because the better Oregon does, the better they look.

Cincinnati has a major showdown coming up against the No. 9 Pittsburgh Panthers. Both the Bearcats and the Panthers (9-1) are having phenomenal years and the winner of this game will win the Big East and earn a trip to the Orange Bowl to most likely play the ACC champion. The No. 7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-1) are right now the favorites to come out of the ACC, but it looks like they'll have to play the No. 23 Clemson Tigers in the ACC title game-- and that's no gimme. Earlier this year, the Yellow Jackets barely beat the Tigers, 30-27 at home and Clemson (7-3) is a much improved team, so Georgia Tech has their work cut out for them.

By the way, TCU beat Clemson earlier this year, at Clemson, so if the Tigers come out of the ACC, it would definitely look great on TCU's resume.

If both Texas and TCU go unbeaten, it's quite possible that two schools from the state of Texas will finish #1 and #2. The Longhorns will of course be the national champions and the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian will have to settle for runner-up.

Photos courtesy of the AP

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Allen Iverson Should Hang It Up!


Where in the world is AI?

It looks like the Allen Iverson-Memphis Grizzlies experiment has fallen apart even before it started. Iverson, a 4-time NBA scoring champ and future Hall of Famer, has seen his career take a steep downward spiral over the last couple of seasons.

His latest escapade is an abrupt leave of absence from the Grizzlies. But AI's demise began last season--

First, there was the now-infamous trade when Iverson was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups. That turned out to be a nightmare for the Pistons and a blessing for the Nuggets. With Iverson, the Pistons lost their way and faded into obscurity-- and with Billups, Denver became a championship contender, making it all the way to the Western Conference finals as the No. 2 seed. Many consider it the worst move of Piston's general manager Joe Dumars tenure and a decision that will haunt him for a long time.

After the debacle, the Pistons wanted no part of Iverson. So with nowhere else to go, AI signed with the lowly Grizzlies in the off-season, giving Grizzlies' fans at least something to be excited about. But it looks like a disgruntled Iverson isn't too happy about coming off the bench and rumor has it he's contemplating retiring. I'm sure the last thing AI expected was to be playing the bench for one of the worst teams in the NBA.

So last weekend Iverson took an extended leave of absence for personal reasons. Hmmm? I wonder what that means? Personal reasons?

Neither, Memphis owner Michael Heisley or coach Lionel Hollins were willing to give specifics about Iverson's abrupt departure-- but neither one is expecting him back any time soon.

Somehow I get the feeling that Iverson's pride is playing a role in this fiasco. I'm sure for a player of Iverson's elite status (or at least in his mind he still considers himself part of the elite) to be relegated to playing the bench for the Grizzlies (1-6) is a major bruise to his ego. I mean, that's about as low as you can go in the NBA and Iverson has been barking about it, big time .

Personally, I think Iverson has overextended his welcome. Either he accepts the role of coming off the bench or he should just retire. There's no way Memphis can take minutes away from their young guards, O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley and give them to Iverson just to satisfy his ego.

In my opinion, this is what this MIA stunt is all about. The personal business he's taking care of is nursing his bruised ego.

So my message to AI is-- if you can't be humble about it and accept coming off the bench, then just hang it up. Your days of being referred to as "The Answer" are over-- now you're more like, The Question Mark.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Coast Is Clear For The Texas Longhorns


Finally-- they can't be denied!

The only entity that can stop the No. 3 Texas Longhorns from reaching the BCS title game is-- the Texas Longhorns. All the Longhorns (9-0) need to do is win their remaining 3 games (all very winnable-- @ Baylor, Kansas, and @ Texas A&M); win the Big 12 championship (most likely against Nebraska, maybe Kansas State) and they are in the national title game.

The BCS mess, which last year denied the Longhorns, is not in play this year anymore. Only a major upset can prevent them from a shot at the national title. And in the world of college football-- that's all you can ask for-- control of your own destiny.

The Longhorns will play the winner of the SEC championship game between No. 1 Florida (9-0) and No. 2 Alabama (9-0), considered by many, the real national championship game. Unfortunately for the Gators and the Crimson Tide, they play in the same conference and only one can survive. Texas knows exactly how the loser is going to feel as they were the victims of the system last year.

After it all gets played out, only 1 undefeated team (between Texas, Florida and Alabama) will remain-- that being the national champion. There is however a strong possibility that there will be 3 other undefeated teams when it's all said and done. The TCU Horned Frogs (No. 4), the Cincinnati Bearcats (No. 5) and the Boise State Broncos (No. 6) are all 9-0, but all 3 have reached a road block. Barring any major upsets-- the Texas, Florida, Alabama triangle is unbreakable.

All TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State can do is keep winning and let the system play itself out. TCU has a big challenge with No. 16 Utah this Saturday and Cincinnati still has 2 tough games [a home game vs. No. 25 West Virgina (7-2) and a road game vs. No. 12 Pittsburgh (8-1)]. Boise State has the easiest remaining schedule, with Idaho (7-3) being their toughest challenge.

If Cincinnati prevails and wins the Big East title, they are guaranteed a BCS Bowl appearance (most likely the Orange Bowl). TCU and Boise State may be fighting for the one BCS spot which has been allocated for schools from the lower-tier conferences. From the looks of it, this may be a spot in the Fiesta Bowl because somehow I get the feeling the Sugar Bowl is salivating for a rematch between LSU and the loser of the Florida-Alabama showdown. The Rose Bowl, as usual will feature the Big Ten champion and the Pac-10 champion and Cincinnati's opponent in the Orange Bowl looks like it's going to be ACC-front runner, the No. 7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-1).

The Fiesta Bowl should do the politically correct thing and have an undefeated TCU play an undefeated Boise State. But I get the feeling that one of the big boys (i.e. Ohio State, if Iowa wins the Big Ten) won't let that happen.

Anyway, Mack Brown, Colt McCoy and the rest of the Longhorns know all too well how it feels to get hosed by the system. But this year the shoe is in another foot and Texas is looking pretty good right now.

And in the crazy world of college football-- TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State may find out the hard way that even perfection is not good enough.

Let the debate continue...

Photos courtesy of the AP

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New York Yankees: The Evolution Of A Champion

The Building of an Empire....

1995

Still together after all these years.

Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte made their ML debuts in 1995. All 4 were drafted by the Yankees. Simply amazing!

2003 & 2004

Hideki Matsui made his ML debut in 2003. The Yankees signed Matsui as a free agent from Japan. Alex Rodriguez made his Yankees debut in 2004. A-Rod was acquired by the Yankees in a blockbuster trade with the Texas Rangers.

2005

Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera made their ML debuts in 2005. Both were drafted by the Yankees as amateur free agents.


2006

Johnny Damon and Brian Bruney made their Yankees debut in 2006. Damon was signed as a free agent from the arch nemesis, Boston Red Sox. He may be the most popular player who has won a world championship with both the Yankees and the Red Sox since Babe Ruth.

2007

Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Jose Molina made their Yankees debut in 2007. For Hughes and Chamberlain it was also their ML debuts. Molina may have a job with the Yankees for a few more years as he has become A.J. Burnett's personal catcher. Hughes and Chamberlain were both drafted by the Yankees.



2008


Brett Gardner, Phil Coke, David Robertson, Damaso Marte and Alfredo Aceves made their Yankees debut in 2008. For Gardner, Coke, Robertson and Aceves it was also their ML debuts. Gardner, Coke and Robertson were drafted by the Yankees; Aceves was acquired in a minor league trade with the Toronto Blue Jays; and Marte was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jerry Hairston, Jr. made his Yankees debut in 2009 after being acquired in a late-season trade with the Cincinnati Reds.

2009


The year the piggy bank was broken.

The Yankees showed the world just how deep their pockets were by completely annihilating the rest of baseball in the free agent sweepstakes. C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira were signed for a whopping $423.5 million dollars. These 3 powerful free agents made their Yankees debut in 2009. Unless Major League Baseball does something about instituting a salary cap, it looks like The Empire is going to be around for a long time.

Oh yeah, Nick Swisher also made his Yankees debut in 2009. Swisher was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.

The reign of The Empire continues....

Photos courtesy of the AP and Getty Images