MLB’s Unprecedented Sanctions: Were They Harsh Enough and Will This Solve Baseball’s Rampant Cheating?

MLB’s Unprecedented Sanctions: Were They Harsh Enough and Will This Solve Baseball’s Rampant Cheating?

NEW YORK, N.Y.- After months of in-depth investigative work that involved dozens of interviews and thousands of reviewed emails, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred finally had enough information to levy what he hopes to be a punishment so harsh that organizations will consider cheating with the use technology to never be worth it. Manfred punished the most egregious offender, the Houston Astros, by suspending general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for a full season, stripping the Astros of their first and second round picks in both the 2020 and 2021 MLB Draft and slapping the organization with a $5 million dollar fine, the highest amount possible allowed the MLB constitution. The punishments were further enforced by Astros owner Jim Crane, who subsequently fired both Luhnow and Hinch after the suspensions were announced. 

MLB is in the middle of picking up all of the pieces after yet another scandal has rocked their sport. This is the biggest scandal since the steroid era because not only did the 2017 World Series champions get busted for illegally using a video feed to decode signs and relay them in real time to the batter by banging a trash can, the 2018 champion Boston Red Sox were also recently busted for using the video room, designed to help with manager challenges and batters reviewing pitcher tendencies, to decode catcher signs and relay those signs to runners on base who then translated those signals to the batter. Two out of the last three champions now have stains on their trophy and Manfred had to make sure nothing like this happens again. 

A.J. Hinch, left, and Jeff Luhnow in 2017.Credit…Bob Levey/Getty Images

While we are still awaiting the investigation into the Red Sox to conclude, the biggest question regarding the punishment of the Astros centered around whether the sanctions were harsh enough. No players were suspended despite Manfred stating most of these sign-stealing schemes were devised and executed by the players. Manfred explains why he decided to punish only those in charge and not the players:

“Assessing discipline of players for this type of conduct is both difficult and impractical. It is difficult because virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability. It is impractical given the large number of players involved, and the fact that many of those players now play for other Clubs.”

There are a few reasons why I have no problem with the players skirting the blame. One is that in order to get to the bottom of this scandal and find out the real details, he needed honest testimony. I doubt many if any players would fully admit their role or explain the full scope of the scheme if those details would lead to their own punishment. By granting players immunity, Manfred and his investigators were able to get the full scoop of who was involved and how long the cheating continued for.

The biggest reason why I liked the idea to solely punish those in the front office is because cheating using technology is more than just a Houston Astros problem. This is a baseball problem. As Ken Rosenthal wrote in his initial article detailing the sign-stealing antics by the Astros, this extends far beyond just the 2017 World Series champions.

“Electronic sign stealing is not a single-team issue,” Rosenthal wrote. “Still, the commissioner’s office hears complaints about many different organizations.”

That was backed up by Tom Verducci’s latest article, who spoke with two sources familiar with the investigation who said that Astros personnel told MLB investigators that there were eight other teams that used technology in some fashion to cheat either in 2017 or 2018. 

This sign-stealing scandal, while headlined by the Astros, includes much more than just them, which is why it’s nearly impossible for Major League Baseball to track down every player involved and dole out a punishment. Cheating has always been pervasive throughout baseball, which is why the commissioner had to strike down hard to ensure his sport would veer back to its righteous ways.  

Punishing those who had chances to stop these acts from happening was the most efficient way to send a message and finally show that gaining an illegal edge aided by technology will not be tolerated in the game, which is something up to this point that was just words more than anything else. 

I look at these suspensions as a long term play by the commissioner in an attempt to place responsibility on the entire organization, starting from the owner down. By forcing general managers, managers, executives and owners to be responsible for player behavior, there is less of a willingness to break the rules because now jobs and reputations are on the line. These kind of stakes were never created before by baseball, who mostly turned a blind eye or delivered a slap on the wrist for any wrongdoing in the past. 

With the floor of punishment being a year-long suspension and a possible firing, why would any general manager or manager risk their livelihood at a chance to win a championship? I understand winning is the sole focus and motivation, but I have a hard time seeing an executive allowing his players to cheat to win a championship only to get caught and have their legacy ruined. While fans can say they would do whatever it takes to win a championship, it’s no longer lucrative for those inside the game to risk their place in the sport just to have a chance to win it all. 

For the commissioner’s office, disciplining the Astros is just the first step. Parameters have to put in place to ensure that the crime is not worth the time. While the precedent has been set for  those in the front office, a message also has to be sent to the players. Players have always tried to gain an edge, whether that be through corked bats, steroid, pine tar, etc. While no players faced the wrath this time around, Manfred needs to erect a set of guidelines and harsh punishments for players caught cheating by use of technology. Whether it’s mirroring the steroid suspension model or creating an even harsher penalty for offenders, there has to be no doubt that this behavior will be tolerated ever again. 

For Manfred, his work is just beginning. I applaud his loud first step of coming down harshly on the Astros, but more has to come. After all, he does have to look in the mirror and remember how the sport got to this place. The commissioner has sat on the sidelines, allowing the cheating to fester for years. Now it’s time for the New York native to step up to the plate with the sanctity of baseball desperately needing him to come through.  Down 0-2 in the count, Manfred is finally taking his swing. 

Blue and Orange is the New Eh?

Blue and Orange is the New Eh?

By Dan Radzicki

If you are a Mets fan, you got an early Christmas present this week. As I wrote merely a week ago:

“The Mets presently have enough parts to just need a few more pieces to be short term solid. What pieces? A competent front office, an experienced manager, experienced coaches with winning records, a few key free agents, a few solid drafts, and an owner willing to spend.”

The most important part of my prediction as to how to reinvigorate this team became a treat for New York Mets fans. This week the Mets made an agreement to be purchased by local resident, Mets fan and current Mets part owner Andrew Cohen. Cohen is a filthy rich multibillionaire. Rumor is, he is willing to spend.

The announcement caused dizziness to Mets fans. Visions of free agents danced in their heads. Experienced managers and general managers suddenly seemed possible, instead of having a rookie GM and two rookie managers hired at the lowest total cost within the last 24 months.

To me, it seemed all too recently familiar. In the last 20 years, one New York team that wears orange and blue were sold two times to billionaires, and once in agreement to maybe the next John Spano, and saw changes immediately in each purchase.

No, I’m not talking about the Knicks who have sucked for 20 years and just fired an NBA coach with a 20% winning percentage. I’m talking about Long Island’s only team, the New York Islanders.

The Islanders ownership changes came in three waves. Charles Wang, Andrew Barroway, and the team of Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky.

Each time the Islanders announced a new owner, the roster made significant short term improvements. For instance, the Charles Wang era brought in Roman Hamirlik, Alexi Yashin, Adrian Aucoin, and Michael Peca.

The Andrew Barroway era got the Islanders Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin. And as an aside, it looks like the Barroway era would have ended with the Islanders similarly to the John Spano era like it is in Arizona. The Maldecky team got Nick Leddy with his alleged huge penis that he doesn’t know how to use as per Beth Brock and Johnny Boychuk.

He looks stressed. Wonder why?

But most importantly, the Maldecky era had the new owners replacing a pile of shit.

Maldecky saw how Wang ran the team and realized just as Wang did upon their taking over the team that the only way to make money with a small market team was with an arena tied to mass transit and with multiple entertainment options and lodging. Oh, and spend money and win. Wang missed that part. And so in trying to get an arena built- and seeing how the last owner screwed up in trying to get an arena built- they brought in hall of fame GM that’s past his prime but still knows how to build an org chart, and cozied up to politicians instead of taking their ball and going home. To Brooklyn.

Like Garth, another Wang fuck up

All of the Islanders prospective owners made immediate impacts to the roster when they acquired the team. All stars were added. Depth players were added. Stanley Cup Champions were added. For each new Islanders owner there was significant roster movement.

The most significant move of any of those acquisitions? Hiring Barry Trotz. Which came from hiring a Hall of Fame and old ass GM, Lou Lamoreillo. Not to be mistaken with GM Garth Snow, where GM stands for grotesque manatee.

Why bring that up? Because now we get to the Mets.

The Wilpon Mets announced this week that they have a deal done in premise with minority owner Andrew Cohen to sell his majority ownership of the team. Combined with what Cohen already owns, he stands to own 80% of the organization.

With a net value of $13 billion, Cohen would by far be the wealthiest owner in baseball.

And there are similarities between the last few sets of owners of the Islanders with Mr. Cohen.

To start with, Charles Wang was a billionaire that was also an alleged felon that avoided prosecution. Mr. Cohen is a billionaire that was an alleged felon that avoided prosecution.

Felons of a feather flock together…

The current Islander owners took over an 80% stake in the team. Mr. Cohen will ultimately have an 80% stake in the team.

But then there are differences.

In the dawn of the Cohen era? As the Braves acquired star pitching, the Phillies picked the Mets pocket, and the World Series champs prepare an offer for their star pitcher that anyone can exceed. And the Mets traded assets for a guy that hits .233 and is a bench player. Because you can’t sign those for just cash.

Oh, and the management? A rookie manager and a second year GM. In an offseason where there were two World Series Managers available as free agents, and at least 30 assistant GM’s were looking for a promotion.

If you’re buying a team? Here’s an idea- make a splash.

Look at Steve Balmer when he bought the shitty Los Angeles Clippers after a golddigger mistress claimed that the guy she milked for tons of money was racist. They now have Paul George and NBA finals MVP Kawai Leonard on the team. Thomas Dundon made the Carolina Hurricanes acquire Dougie Hamilton and swat away an offer sheet for Sebastian Aho- the good Aho. Terry Pegula in Buffalo overpaid for Kyle Okposo, but also acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Jeff Skinner and tried multiple AFC finalist coach Rex Ryan for the Bills. Mark Cuban turned a second rate NBA team into champions in Dallas. Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz looked at the way his dad ran a team, realized how bad an idea it was, and promptly replaced the GM and head coach and won 3 championships. Hal Steinbrenner won a championship in his second year of team ownership.

Three Cups in six years. One less than the Rangers have in their existence.

Immediate splashes. And the Mets? Christmas shopping at WalMart. Picking up players who are still being paid by their last team, and given options to not pay them. Trading prospects for .200 hitters. Mets gotta Met.

Here’s what Cohen doesn’t have to worry about- a new arena. Citi Field is beautiful. And is subsidized by taxpayers, so he won’t have to pay for it. And that lacking sports network channel, SNY? Since the Islanders and Mets have ties, maybe the Islanders becomes their winter tenants like the Yankees have with the Nets? Who have become a ratings draw for a moribund winter network? And make even more money for Cohen, as they would be the only winners on the network?

Looks like Pac Man ate its death

Cohen allegedly paid the Wilpons $2.6 billion for their stake in the Mets. That is a sweet payout for a team that hasn’t won a title since 1986. But the bigger question is this – Did the Belmont deal provide enough cash flow for the Wilpons that they were willing to take a buyout on the Mets to pursue their own interests? If so, every Mets fans should thank Islander fans for getting Maldecky to remove the shitbag owners that were willing and allegedly successful participants of a Ponzi scheme at the cost of a decade of austerity at the expense of the fans.

It’s time for the Mets to amp up the payroll by $60 million dollars. Amp up the front office. Prepare to get rid of a GM that has tried to acquire the worst of his prior clients. Add 400 scouts. If that doesn’t happen over 14 months, get ready for the next shit show.

Things will not change overnight for the Mets. But to win some public opinion, they do need to make some significant moves this present winter. As in today. Two all stars would suffice as an introduction. They added a manager that looking back may have been a premature move if the team was in discussion to be sold. But there is time to fix everything. Money lets you do that. So spend the fucking money, or else Mets fans can piss away 2020 as more of the same.   

The author is a motherfucker. Follow him a@JoshBailey on Twitter

Lets GO, Mets

Lets GO, Mets

By Dan Radzicki

We have a saying in this house- Knicks gonna Knick. It means that the Knicks will always find a way to lose. They’re losing is so powerful that they turned ten time champion Phil Jackson into a pathetic unemployed loser in a matter of weeks.

Good calls.

You can easily make the connection with the New York Mets. It’s totally fair to say that the Mets are gonna Met. Because the Mets find a way to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Look at the last three times the Mets were worth a shit.

In 2000 the Mets were handily defeated by a New York Yankees team full of future Hall of Famers, all stars, and a steroid fueled fuckface. The best player in the game at that time, Alex Rodriguez, expressed his desire to come play for the Mets. That move would have given the Mets two Hall of Fame monster hitters in the heart of their lineup. So what did they do?

Mets gonna Met. They did nothing.

A few years later the Mets retooled under General Manager Omar Minaya and added a distinct Latin flavor to their roster. Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Pedro Martinez made Queens a well paid home. They also added 100 year old Orlando Hernandez and 117 year old Julio Franco to the team, along with any player with a Spanish surname (Looking at you, American born Xavier Nady). And that team’s major highlight? A caught looking strike three to end their season.

Must have been a tough play.

And the next season? The epic September collapse where Tom Glavine showed that he was truly an Atlanta Brave with that final start. Also? That game began the era of wasting David Wright’s career.

The Mets languished from that 2007 season all the way to a miracle post season run in 2015 where some rare in season trades bolstered a lineup and a bench. A fine, young pitching staff with tons of promise and some timely hitting from playoff hero Daniel Murphy propelled the Mets to the World Series. Where they promptly lost the series in five games.

In the process they lost Murphy to a division rival and never replaced his bat, then watched as their star pitcher blew his arm out. So there’s that. They did return to the playoffs the next year…for one game.

It’s not like the Mets don’t spend money. They have a TV network and a beautiful stadium that see millions of fans arrive or watch at home annually. And it’s not like the Mets have the lowest payroll in baseball. They don’t. They were 9th in baseball last year, and were almost 10% higher than the next tier of team salaries.

No, it seems where the Mets make bad decisions stems from one place, which affects a few others. Their owners- the Wilpon’s- are fuck ups.

Fuck ups.

Not financially. There, they’ve done great. They avoided being held accountable throughout the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, where they made fantastic returns on their investments as other people went broke in the scam, then allegedly did not suffer any financial losses after. They sold a chunk of team ownership to raise personal capital, and watched the team gain value in the process. They have a TV network that is part of a cable package, so they get monthly revenues from commercials and subscribers, although Frontier Communications did end their broadcast relationship with SNY this fall due to their “excessive carriage rates.” And unlike every other New York area sports channel, they have no other New York based sports tenant to pay to air.

And with those resources? The Wipons make horrible decisions.

Mets fans can list off the failed free agents and veteran trades the team has made like it’s a Dishonor Roll. Some of those were surprises. Who saw Roberto Alomar falling apart so quickly? Who thought Mike Piazza was going to resign with the Mets? But there’s a whole lot of Mo Vaughns, Bobby Bonillas, Jason Bays, Jeremy Burnitzes and Mel Rojases going on. A Mets trade for a major contributor is rare- consider the trade of Cy Young award winner knuchleballer R.A. Dickey for a catching prospect that they expected to be a star- Travis DeArnold. If the Blue Jays didn’t throw in level A ball pitcher Noah Syndergaard, that trade would have been awful as well. 

What a chunk…er, chump.

Why are the Mets so bad at assessing talent? Here’s an idea: Look at the amount of scouts the Mets reportedly use (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Major_League_Baseball_scouts_by_team). The Mets have 78 scouts. That’s way more than a lot of teams. Teams like the Colorado Rockies or the Seattle Mariners or the famously cheap Oakland A’s.

Some teams have just about the same amount of scouts- the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The shitty Pirates have a similar org chart. That can’t be good. But the Giants have been successful for decades, so we have to call into account the quality of Mets scouts.

But look at the teams with more scouts than the Mets. The Atlanta Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies. The St. Louis Cardinals. The Boston Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers. The Houston Astros. The Cleveland Indians. The Chicago Cubs. The Chicago White Sox. The Detroit Tigers. The Baltimore Orioles. All of these teams have had greater levels of success than the Mets in the Wilpon Era. They all have had faster rebuilds, have had more sustained successes, and almost all of them have won a World Series since 2000.

You may notice a team that didn’t make the list. The New York Yankees. Why? Because their scouting staff is DOUBLE what their same market peers have. Well, not exactly double. Two scouts short of double. 154 versus 78.  

So we know the Mets are short of amateur and professional scouts as compared to more successful organizations. But surely they hire managers and coaches with winning pedigrees, right?

Wrong. The Mets seem to be a landing pad for reclamation projects and first time managers. They’ve had two decent managers over the last 30 years. Davey Johnson and Bobby Valentine. The Mets have had chances to hire managers with pedigrees, as recently as a few days ago when they’ve watched World Series winning Joe Maddon go to the Angels and World Series winning manager Joe Girardi go to the divisional rivals Phillies.

And the Mets? They replaced first time manager Mickey Calloway with first time manager Carlos Beltran. And who hired him? First time general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Which in fairness was a turn around from the prior administration or longtime reclamation project and career loser Terry Collins, with retread GM Sandy Alderson. These two teamed up to luck into a postseason based on young pitchers who never had a lineup to supplement their work, and always, ALWAYS a sketchy bullpen.

But look at that stellar, inspiring list of recent Mets managers. You can marvel at:

Mike Cubbage

Art Howe

Dallas Green

Jeff Torborg

Jerry Manual

And you wonder why they lose?

Wally Backman came through the Mets system as a player, then became a manager in various levels before returning as manager in the Mets system. He had a winning record in A ball, AA, and AAA, even managing to win some championships. He had a winning record! But hey, Terry Collins was running a sub 500 team for years, so why change things up?

Even as recently as 2019, a player developed by the Mets and who starred for the Mets- Edgardo Alfonso-  took the A level Brooklyn Cyclones to a league championship. And was fired for it. You read that right. What the actual fuck is this organization doing? Alfonso was a Met in the last era in which the team was consistently good, and past of what some called the greatest infield ever. Fired for winning. This is the GM Mets fans get.

W
What shit.

And this is the GM Mets fans deserve. Why? Because Mets fans are stupid. They line up each year to put 2,000,000 asses (literally and figuratively) in the seats of an admittedly beautiful ballpark. And then they take off their shirts and have the Mets organization shit on their collective chests like a high octane German shizer film. They pay their monthly cable bills and don’t ask the providers to remove the stain from their drawers. They buy t-shirts and jerseys and pay $40 to park under a train track or on the side of a highway because…they’re fucking stupid. Why? Because they don’t ask for better.

You know thaty the divisional rival Atlanta Braves have already begun signing free agents? They took former Giants closer lefthanded All Star Will Smith off of the market well before the Mets made reservations for the Winter Meetings. Mets fans will say Smith isn’t good. If he was in the Mets bullpen last year? They make the playoffs.

Let me be the first person the make this point and argument. If the Islanders arena progresses at Belmont, the Mets should move there as well. Not the indoor arena. That’d be silly. No, instead of ANOTHER shopping mall, build a baseball stadium. And maybe….shhhh….a small casino in the proposed and yet unbuilt hotel. Imagine a horse track, an indoor sports arena, an outdoor sports arena, a hotel, a casino, and two train stations- one coming from Long Island and one from Queens – all within walking distance of each other? And near their fanbase? That’d sound…smart. So that’s fucked.

Instead the fans have accepted the existence of chop shops and grey mud puddles for generations.

So to Mets fans- stop it. What you’re doing is the equivalent of Magic Johnson buying billboards in support of spreading AIDS. Cancel your TV packages. You don’t need them. Just buy channels you want and stream Mets games. Stop paying for failure.

Business as usual.

Stop with season tickets. Stop with t shirts. Stop paying to watch games. I can tell you what will happen.

The team will lose money. Then they will lose value. Then someone with money will come in recognizing the bargain to own a mass market team at a bargain price and do what new owners always do- use the savings to reinvest in their product. That way if they sell it’s a quick flip. And if they stay it’s a fortune down the road. And will the present owners reinvest in this team to make it a winner?

No. The Mets presently have enough parts to just need a few more pieces to be short term solid. What pieces? A competent front office, an experienced manager, experienced coaches with winning records, a few key free agents, a few solid drafts, and an owner willing to spend. Just look at their take on analytics, which is growing in all sports.

Are you at all shocked?

This plan doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for the Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox, Astros, Marlins, Giants, and Tigers. Clearly it didn’t work for the teams that never invested.

Like the Mets.

So, which side of the fence do you want to be on? Perpetual pissing your own money away to a rich guy with a losing team for more of the same? Or maybe a sense of satisfaction from not the usual “almost successful” season?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Or smash your head into the wall as you order your Mets Christmas gifts. Unlike what the team owners do at this time of year.

For Yankees and Astros it was a tale of two cities

For Yankees and Astros it was a tale of two cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” describes one of the most quoted literary lines ever written. Such was the case in the 2019 ALCS.

Fans of Major League Baseball had the matchup they anticipated. Both the Yankees and Astros dominated the American League from the first pitch this season. MLB executives dreamed of another exciting seven-game classic as they had witnessed in 2017.

Both teams did not display the offensive talent that saw each of them finish in the top three in runs and OPS during the regular season. Houston hit just .179 for the series, while the Yankees had four regulars bat under .150. After combining to average 11.5 runs a game during the regular season, they scored 7.1 in the ALCS.

However, despite all the offensive futility in the series, both teams treated fans to a ninth-inning they will never forget.

YANKEES POSTSEASON FAILURES, HOUSTON SUCCESSES

In one corner stood the Yankees, who fought off Justin Verlander in keeping their season alive in Game 5. Getting back to the Fall Classic is a rite of passage for the Bronx Bombers. At least it was. New York risked failing to appear at least once in a decade if they could not rally to win the series. The last time the Yankees went a full decade without reaching the World Series was 100 years ago during the decade that saw the United States fight in World War I (1910-1919).

New York Yankees, World Series Appearances By Decade

2010-19 0 2000-09 4 1990-99 3 1980-89 1 1970-79 3 1960-69 5 1950-59 8 1940-49 5 1930-39 5 1920-29 6 1910-19 0

Aside from that incredible streak of excellence being at risk, the intimidating influence the Yankees once had on the postseason seems to have expired. Entering Game 6, the Yankees experienced walking off the field losers nine previous times this millennium. Luis Gonzalez floats a ball over Derek Jeter’s head in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series started a trend that no one saw coming.

Mixed in those memories was the biggest postseason collapse in MLB history. Needing just three outs to get to the 2004 World Series and complete a sweep of the hated Red Sox, the unimaginable occurred. Boston tied the game off Mariano Rivera then extended their season with a walk-off HR by David Ortiz. Three days later, they watched Boston celebrate on their home field, becoming the only team in MLB history to blow a 3-0 series lead.

Most Postseason Walk-off Losses, MLB History

Yankees 18 >> Dodgers 12 Red Sox 12 Braves 11 >> Four have ended series (most in MLB history)

In the other corner stood the Astros. The same Astros who previously delivered walk-off postseason wins twice against them (Game 2 of 2019 and 2017 ALCS).

However, facing a two-run deficit entering the ninth-inning, DJ LeMahieu saved their season with an inspiring AB that resulted in a game-tying HR. Undoubtedly, the swagger was back as they took the field for the bottom of the ninth. Surely, momentum was on their side.

The Astros suffered a previous meltdown in the 2005 NLCS (yes, they were in the National League then). One-out away from reaching their first World Series, Brad Lidge surrendered a 3-run HR to Albert Pujols to push the series back to St. Louis. However, the Astros finished the Cardinals off in Game 6 to pick up their closer.

Jose Altuve experienced scoring a walk-off run in the 2017 ALCS. As he approached the plate, he knew he could pick up his closer. He stared out at Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. In his previous 31 postseason appearances, Chapman only allowed one HR. Despite allowing one of the most significant HR in World Series history, allowing Cleveland to tie Game 7, he had allowed just one run in his 13 postseason appearances since.

Altuve delivered the Astros 10th walk-off win in postseason history. No other MLB team except the Yankees 23 has reached double-digits. On the flip side, it was the Yankees 18th postseason walk-off loss.

For Altuve and the Astros, it was the best of times, while for Chapman and the Yankees, it was the worst of times.

Yankees Look To Continue Domination of Twins

Yankees Look To Continue Domination of Twins

As the MLB Wild Card games take place this week, it gives us a chance to look back at a historic regular season.

For the first time in MLB history, four teams finished the regular season with 100 or more victories. Two of those teams will face each other in the American League Division Series as the Twins travel to Yankee Stadium on Friday.

The Twins and Yankees mark the second time in MLB postseason history that a pair of 100-win teams faced each other in the LDS. Last season, the 1 Yankees (100 wins) lost to the Red Sox (108 wins).

YANKEES OWN MINNESOTA

After losing Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS, the Yankees have won 13 of their last 14 postseason games against the Twins. Overall, their 13-2 record against the Twins is the second-best postseason winning percentage for one team over another. Only the Cardinals, who are 9-1 against the Padres in the postseason, have a higher win percentage against another team.

The Yankees’ dominance against the Twins doesn’t just apply to the postseason. Going back to the 2002 season, the Twins are 37-100 (.270 win percentage) against the Yankees (postseason included) That is the lowest win percentage for one team against any opponent in the same league over that span.

The Yankees defeated the Twins in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, sweeping the Twins in 2009 and 2010. In each of their first three postseason meetings, the Yankees owned the home-field advantage in defeating the Twins. In 2010, the Twins finished with the best record in the American League before the Yankees swept them out of the postseason.

The Twins record at Yankees Stadium is bad enough (lost 15 of last 17 including 2017 Wild Card), but even going back to Minnesota isn’t much of a consolation (Twins have lost 10 straight postseason games at home and are 0-7 against the Yankees).

TWINS COULD SET POSTSEASON FUTILITY RECORD

Minnesota has not won a postseason game since Game 2 of the 2004 ALDS, a span of 13 games. The Twins losing spell matches the Boston Red Sox for the longest in postseason history. Boston’s streak stretched from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series to Game 1 of the 1998 ALDS.

YANKEES POSTSEASON REGULARS IN WILD CARD ERA

The Yankees’ achievements in the Wild Card era are incredible. They will be making their 21st postseason appearance in the 25 years since MLB introduced the Wild Card. Their five World Championships are the most in this era.

Most Postseason Appearances; Wild Card Era

TeamsApp.World Series
Titles
*Yankees 21 5
*Braves16 1
*Cardinals14 2
*2019 Postseason teams

In their previous 20 postseason appearances, the Yankees combined to win 23 series. That is seven more than the next closest team, the Cardinals, who have won 16. The Red Sox (15) and the Giants (11) are the only other teams to win more than 10.

The New York Yankees Are One of Baseball’s Biggest Surprises

The New York Yankees Are One of Baseball’s Biggest Surprises

The New York Yankees have been turning everybody’s heads this season 360 degrees, or completely around.  Despite the staggering injuries to the majority of their star players such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, along with Luis Severino and Dellin Betances, the Yankees have been able to exceed expectations and have managed to stay well above .500 for most of the season.  Not to mention, they are in first place in the American League East Division by two full games over the Tampa Bay Rays and 5.5 games up on the defending archrival Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees are 30-17 and imagine that when they get the majority of their elite players/starters back, they will be even better and more dangerous/powerful than where they are now.  The Yanks are 13 games over .500 and the main reason for their success without their starters has been their depth.  Role players such as Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin and the newly acquired Kendrys Morales have all stepped up and delivered on a night-to-night basis with clutch hits and home runs that have allowed the Yankees to go on an impressive run from mid-April through May. 

The Yankees have three wins this year when trailing in the eighth inning or later this season, which speaks volumes about this team that you can never count them out in any game, in any deficit; they can strike at any time.  Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres have a combined 15 home runs against Orioles pitching this season, while the Bombers are 8-2 versus the Orioles this season.

We aren’t even at the All-star break or through the first half of the 2019 season yet and it is simply amazing to see the sheer dominance and consistency of this Yankees team against the Orioles not only this year but for most of this decade.  The Yankees also have the 4th-best pitching staff in the American League, devoid of ace Luis Severino and the “Big Maple” James Paxton in the starting rotation. 

Daniel Correa of The World Wide Sports Radio Network produced this article.