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Accept it: Kevin Youkilis is a Yankee

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Not even one full day into his first day at spring training, the few sentences said by Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis sent fans and the media into a frenzy. Likely a few hours after he was sized for his pinstripes, Youk was telling reporters he’d always be a Boston Red Sox.

He’s learned now, but that’s a big no-no and certainly not something that will go unnoticed in the big New York spotlight. Of course, his allegiance to Boston spread all over the back pages of newspapers was not the only quote he gave, but it was the only one people cared about.

Already on Yankees fan’s bad side, Kevin Youkilis said he will always remember the first nine seasons of his baseball career, which just so happened to take place with the Bombers’ biggest rival. Two World Series rings, three All Star appearances, a Gold Glove and Hank Aaron Award, and he is being ridiculed for saying he enjoyed what he accomplished there? Are fans truly clinging to any little thing he says that sounds the slightest anti-Yankee? That is truly pathetic.

Now, there’s not a fiber in my body that tells me a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis wearing our beloved Yankee pinstripes is right. This is not a plea of defense nor show of love to the  guy who batted .235 last season and yet received $12 million, from an apparently penny-pinching Yankees front office. But it’s just me accepting it.

Many people have brought up the argument that players like Sparky Lyle, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Johnny Damon all started out as hated rivals in Beantown, and ended up becoming fan favorites [and more importantly, World Series champions] in the Bronx. Did any fan really expect those four “idiots” to put on the pinstripes, play with Yankee pride and partake in some of the greatest moments the team has ever had? I don’t think so.

I’ll give you a moment to reminisce about Sparky’s 1977 Cy Young season. Or Boggs riding the horse after ’96. Don’t forget Clemens’ postseason dominance either. Or Damon’s double-steal.

That is not my number one point, but it largely contributes to the idea that fans need to just wait and see what happens this season. The fact is, no one knows what Kevin Youkilis will do for the Yankees this year. I don’t expect anything outstanding, but I don’t expect anything horrible either.

Yankees fans have been considered vulgar, ignorant, downright stupid and clueless in the past. They have also been known as classy, every now and then, for cheering for whoever is wearing the pinstripes. I’m not a fan of A-Rod and a number of guys on the team. But I still support them and cheer for them. Why? Because they’re Yankees. And Kevin Youkilis is now one too.

So forget what he was, as he is now a player for our favorite team. Forgive and forget. Give him a chance. All those statements and more apply. The fact is, you don’t know anything until you know everything. Who knows what these upcoming 162 games have in store for Youk. Only time will tell. Not me or you.

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Liar, Liar – A Roger Clemens Trial Reaction

In a not too surprising decision Monday, a grand jury acquitted former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens of all charges that he used using performance-enhancing drugs during his lengthy baseball career. Though he is one of the faces of baseball’s steroid era, the jury believed that The Rocket never used them, and trainer Brian McNamee, teammate Andy Pettitte, and other witnesses were proven wrong.

Although he posted ridiculous stats well into his 40s and did things no other athlete his age ever did (posting a 1.87 ERA at age 42 and having his lowest H/9 rating since 1986!), we’re now supposed to believe that it was simply a true testament of Clemens’ natural talent and skill.

As I’m sure you all can tell, this decision means absolutely nothing – Clemens is still the lying, cheating, steroid using slob he was when he hobbled off the field in the 2007 playoffs.

It’s not shocking, but rather disgusting that Clemens now gets to walk away from this with no consequences. The trial had gone on far too long, but if they already wasted so much tax dollars and time on this case, at least make the right and obvious decision. No matter how people try to defend him, you’d be a fool to think steroids didn’t contribute to at least the later years of his 24-season run in the bigs. The fact that he is now going to be on the Hall of Fame ballot this year literally makes me cringe.

Yet, there’s always been the belief that certain players already in Cooperstown cheated their way to fame and success. And that is probably the case, but Clemens’ PED use is as clear as day. Not that he will even get elected to the Hall, but he doesn’t even deserve a chance.

This was a terrific opportunity for MLB to send a message to the sports world and to other PED users that they will be caught and brought to justice. But now the poster boy of this whole mess is apparently not guilty, and Roger Clemens will continue living off the money and fame he got from a needle, and not from his actual talent and skills that he once naturally honed.

One argument people make is that his numbers before he started taking steroids are enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. Granted, they certainly were amazing, but that is just 13 out of the 24 seasons he pitched in baseball. So we now are  going to induct every PED user based off of half, or maybe a quarter of their careers? At the end of the day, people aren’t inducted for what they did for a period in their careers, but for what they did consistently and diligently for the longevity of their baseball lives. Chew on this too – if the great Pete Rose is banned from the Hall of Fame for gambling off the field, how could Roger Clemens be let in for doing something that directly changed the course of each game on the field? That would be horrible.

To me, Clemens would have been a HOFer had he stayed off the ‘roids and played a normal and honorable baseball career. But the fact that he took performance enhancers that allowed him to stay at a high level and pitch much longer than any other pitchers did is simply unfair, unnatural, and an injustice to players everywhere. Baseball is a timeless game, but everyone eventually hangs up the spikes because they simply aren’t good anymore. Clemens delayed that inevitability far too long, just to rack up more wins, more Cy Youngs, and further establish himself as a legendary figure in MLB. From what our generation has seen, he will certainly be legendary, but for the wrong reason – as a liar.

I am no political analyst and I only remember Clemens’ second stint with the Yankees in 2007. But there’s no doubt in my mind Roger Clemens is a cheater and this ruling was just a way to get out of a mess of a case. The country needs to focus on much more important things than one sports figure, and I am glad that we can move on from this. But it’s an absolute failure by everyone involved with this joke of a trial that they couldn’t convict a clear steroid user who has lied to everyone just to protect his image.

Rot in Texas Roger.

Travel Day

Clemens, the AL’s big weekend, Perfect games, no hitters, and one hitters galore, and much more from a big week in baseball.

Not Guilty?

On Monday afternoon the sad and embarrassing saga of Roger Clemens‘ perjury trial was put to an end.  The “not guilty” verdict that was handed on down on all six counts brought against Clemens by the Federal Government.  This verdict effectively ends Clemens’ legal battles regarding whether he did or did not use PED’s but the in the court of public opinion he will be tried for decades. To judge whether or not the Federal Government “wasted” millions in taxpayer money isn’t really appropriate. Federal Prosecutors have a job to do, and in an ideal world must bring charges against those who they feel have violated Federal Statutes. In what is now and forever will be known as the “steroid era”, it has become obvious to just about everyone that the use of PED’s was rampant and that some of the baseball’s all-time greats used these PED’s.  Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Andy Pettite have all been linked to PED use.  Whether or not these players are voted into the Hall Of Fame is a question that only time can answer.  My feeling about whether or not these players will be voted into the Hall Of Fame is that eventually they all who deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame based on their numbers will be voted in.  They’ll all  be “punished” by the writers by not being voted into the Hall Of Fame in their first year of eligibility and possibly for as long as a decade.  At some point though, I believe that the perspective that time will provide will soften the view on these players and their actions enough to allow their entry into Cooperstown.  They’ll get their yearly visits to the gathering on the famed veranda at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown, where Chef Gregory will prepare them an incredible meal while they sip beverages looking out over Otsego Lake.

Nothing about this era, its criminal trials, apologies, or aftermath has been positive for the sport. Its causes can’t be traced to one specific event or person. Every player who used PED’s had his own reasons and rationalizations for doing so and to those who think that all or most of the violators have been named? I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell you very cheap. It is normal and expected for people to want to blame someone or something for this era. Selig and the owners? Yes, it is very safe to assume that some of them had an idea about what was going on. The players themselves? Of course,  They knew what they were doing to their bodies.

While many have stated that players were forced to do this to compete and keep up with those looking to take their jobs, it isn’t a good enough reason.  Lets just make sure that we all take a look at ourselves before we assign that blame. While there were a scant few who hinted that perhaps all was not kosher with the increase in home runs, batting averages, and speed of fastballs in MLB during this era, most of us wanted to believe that this was legitimate.  Most fans and writers looked the other way and suppressed that little voice in their head that was saying “this isn’t possible”. Did I know that it wasn’t logical that all of a sudden guys named McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds were suddenly supposed to possess so much power? Yes, I did. Did I know that most pitchers weren’t all of a sudden supposed to be humming fastballs in the mid to high 90′s? Yes, I did.  Did I push these thoughts back deep into my mind? Yes, I did, and I don’t think I’m different from anyone else. Most of us loved the exciting power, action, and performances that this era provided us as fans and we didn’t protest or call these performances into question. It is my fervent belief that most people who express anger and outrage over what these players did are really just as angry at themselves for being taken in by this era.

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Morning Bits: Burnett, Girardi, Harden, Cano, Clemens

I understand that Girardi has to be PC in from on the the media regarding AJ but I hope he gave him a good talking to in his office.  I don’t buy it that AJ was just saying it to Martin about the pitch and not to Girardi.   I’m sure it will be all over ESPN today.

2pm game time today

here are your morning links….

* Girardi has to hold Burnett accountable.

* Yankees and other teams are scouting Rich Harden.

* Cano being compared to Carew with power.

* Prosecutors in Clemens trial argue for a new case.

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
NY Yankees 76 48 .613 - 40-24 36-24 672 487 +185 Lost 1 7-3
Boston 76 49 .608 .5 38-24 38-25 664 525 +139 Lost 1 4-6
Tampa Bay 68 56 .548 8 33-28 35-28 530 477 +53 Won 4 8-2
Toronto 64 62 .508 13 31-29 33-33 594 572 +22 Lost 2 5-5
Baltimore 47 76 .382 28.5 29-35 18-41 517 661 -144 Lost 4 3-7

Morning Bits 7/6/11

Good morning all.  Yankees won….Jeter moved 2 hits closer to 3K….and C.C. got another win.   All in all a great nite.

FYI if anyone has any questions for the upcoming Rays series please leave it in the comments section.  Ricky will then answer your questions in his upcoming series podcast.  Thanks.

and without any other delay here are your morning links…

* Tonight Phil Hughes is back from the Dead….Arm.

* The Roger Clemens trial starts soon and here is an article about all that is going down.

* Mariano was out of the game yesterday because his elbow is still aching.

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
NY Yankees 51 33 .607 - 28-18 23-15 445 320 +125 Won 1 8-2
Boston 50 35 .588 1.5 23-17 27-18 444 354 +90 Won 1 6-4
Tampa Bay 47 39 .547 5 21-21 26-18 359 331 +28 Lost 2 5-5
Toronto 42 45 .483 10.5 19-22 23-23 395 393 +2 Lost 1 4-6
Baltimore 36 47 .434 14.5 22-22 14-25 337 409 -72 Lost 2 2-8
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