Sunday, February 14, 2016

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET


Actions speak louder than words. Visuals tell a story. Emotions need no translation. These are all statements we have heard or said throughout the years. But what do they really mean? Researchers who study nonverbal communication state that self-image and social identity are shaped to a large degree by one's appearance.  After this past week in sports, we can certainly see how one's public appearance presents a very telling story.


Exhibit A- Eli Manning. The other evening Peyton Manning appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The topic of the Super Bowl soon shifted to his brother, New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning and his now famous "stone face." Peyton and Eli supporters know "that" face all too well. It's an Eli face. It means that Eli is thinking. It's his game face. But for the rest of the nation, Eli appeared to be snubbing his brother with his blank facial expression following his big brother's second Super Bowl win. Perception is 90% of the law.  However, as a Giant fan, I know that his face, despite the jokes, didn't express what he was thinking.  But at the end of the day, that doesn't matter.


Exhibit B- Cam Newton. We have all had our opportunity to read and watch Carolina Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton's Post-Super Bowl press conference. Heck we wrote about it and referred to it a few times last week. One of the nonverbal attributes that Newton exhibited is what every young male and some females have demonstrated when they feel defeated; that hood up, slouch in the seat behavior. For some, it wasn't that Newton walked out of the press conference but rather how he walked into it. His ego-bruised body all packed into a grey hoodie walked into the press conference defeated. It's every middle school teacher's pet-peeve and he demonstrated it beautifully in front of billions of viewers across the globe.


Exhibit C- Jenrry Mejia's cover photo on New Daily News.  He looks like a user in the picture chosen for the front page of the Daily News.  We know that images sell papers, stories and products.  The Daily News chose an image much like the New York Post did.  It told a story and made Mejia look like a thug.  My closest friends who saw the paper and watched the stories didn't need to turn up the sound as they moved along on the treadmill with the television in the background- they just used the images of Mejia to crucify him.


Exhibit D- The New York Yankees infamous dress code. People sneer at the Yankees' dress code which includes or rather excludes excessive facial hair and long hair, but it's there for a reason. It's called professionalism and it's a nonverbal trait that is earned with careful preparation and continuity.  The way you dress and the way you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, regardless if it is true or not.  It is what they (the public) perceive.


So, what you see is what you get or is it?  Is there another story to tell?  Perhaps, but athletes need to think before they look...literally.  People will believe what they see and it is important for them and frankly all of us to take a closer look in the mirror before we look out at our audience.  We might not like what we see staring back at us when we take a closer look.



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof








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Saturday, February 13, 2016

HERE COMES LUIS "BIG YEAR" SEVERINO!


I have always believed that winning starts with your starting rotation. You show me a rotation where the first three starters are at the top of the league, and I'll show you a team that will go far into the postseason, even if they have average starters in the 4-5 and long reliever slots. It is why the Yankees hopes have to revolve around Nate Eovaldi and Luis Severino. I think they're both going to have great years.


My friend and fellow BYB writer Dan Lucia already gave you the rundown on Eovaldi in COULD NATHAN EOVALDI BE OUR ACE? and he makes good arguments why he could be the ace. I'll focus on Severino. Luis Severino had as good a year as a midseason rookie call-up can have. From August 5 through the end of the season, he had 11 starts, with 8 of them being quality starts. He had a 2.89 ERA and held opposing major league hitters to a .229 batting average. For a rookie season, that's impressive. He really only had one bad start against Toronto, but that's going to happen. Remarkably, that start is the only start in his short career where he was charged with more than 3 runs. There's a lot of poise in that kid, especially when you consider the pressure he was under.


I expect him and Eovaldi to be the mainstays of the starting rotation. CC Sabathia is pitching with a brace, Masahiro Tanaka is not sure if he'll be able to pitch on opening day before even showing up to spring training, and Michael Pineda will eventually need time off to nurse whatever injury will pop up. It's inevitable that the other three members of the rotation will miss time. With Severino throwing 90-100 pitches per start and pitching well, he'll be a key foundational member of the team.


A couple of weeks ago, he was asked if he thought he could be the ace of the staff, and he answered yes. Some tried to make a big deal out of that, but I like his mental approach. He has to know, like we all do, that the #1 spot in the rotation is up for grabs. I like his ambition, and I like how he has performed so far. Of course, this will be his first full season, so he still has things to prove. But people have been saying that with each of his accomplishments in the Yankees organization for the last 5 years. He will turn 22 next week, which gives him a lot of upside when you consider his future. Right now, he'll be focusing on the present which, while Yankees pitching may not be in pristine shape, kids like Severino gives me hope that we're on our way to developing a top-shelf rotation.




--Ike Dimitriadis, 
BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon



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JENRRY MEJIA, THE STRUGGLE & THE MLB SHELL GAME


When the Yankees do well, or were expected to do well and don't, they are crucified by the New York press.  The Mets skated for years, and that's because they weren't terribly good, but that changed last season.  The Mets were very, very good.  And I wondered to myself... "When do they get slammed like the Yankees have been?" Well... with the lifetime suspension of Jenrry Mejia... thank God for John Harper of the New York Daily News:


Titled By keeping Jenrry Mejia around, Mets flunked test of their own
"The Mets had to know that Jenrry Mejia was a rockhead when he was suspended twice last season for using PEDs, so even if they were stunned on Friday to learn he’d done it again, getting banned for good this time, they should have known better.

That is, they should have cut him loose on the spot rather than hope to still get something out of him in 2016 and beyond. Yes, theoretically Mejia could have added bullpen depth late in the season, but two suspensions should have been enough for them to realize they couldn’t trust him.

And if you can’t trust him, what’s the point?"


And it's so true, but here's the thing;  The Dominican Republic has always been rumored as a PEDs haven for a long time. Not only the D.R., but many Latin countries. We've mentioned it here on BYB.  No excuses, what Mejia did was wrong, but hear me out;   Many kids from the D.R. grow up playing ball all their lives from a very young age.  In fact, my friend, a Dominican, told me once, 'Yeah, there's American age, and then there's D.R. age'... meaning, 'that kid may be 13 year old in American age, but he plays like he's 16'.


The Dominican Republic players play more and are less educated.  Many D.R. players are extremely, EXTREMELY talented because they grow up playing baseball every single waking moment.  Great, great players are made at a much younger age than American players, because the hope is to make a Major League team one day and most of them do.  Here's the concern though; With that hope and dream comes the cloud of PEDs. NOT ALL PLAYERS, but that is the perception. In the process, some might take what they need to get there, not caring or not even knowing of the consequences.


BYB writer Mike O'Hara has touched on this in THE PEOPLE VS. DAVID ORTIZ,  writing:

"The unfortunate fact seems to be that athletes from the Dominican Republic have what appears to be unlimited access to PEDs.  It’s almost as if the “D.R.” stands for DAMN RIGHT they’re using.  That is not an accusation on Dominican people.  NOT. AT. ALL.  There are countless players that hail from the Republic that NEVER took or would ever take HGH, Steroids and the like.  But many do…Manny, Alex, Sosa (Those rumored to a possible link like Cano, Pujols and Bautista)."


I echo this.  For players in the Dominican and other Latin countries, it's about getting out of the struggle, and that's the mentality and it is my opinion that that's where Jennry Mejia's head was and probably still was.  But there's alittle more to it.  Teams know this... and teams turn their back on it.


If you ask retired players today if they'd use now, guys like Don Mattingly, Johnny Bench, they said they would have, because it would have given them an edge or it would have helped with their injuries and furthered their career.  Andy Pettitte did it during injury.  He's still the Golden Boy in New York.  Remember when everyone hated Alex Rodriguez? He came back with a solid season and all was forgotten and in the end, as dumb as Jennry Mejia was... perhaps he was hoping to get back to that point.


What I'm saying is I see where Mejia's head may have been at. He just did it way too many times and that's just dumb.

Look, I'm not softening my stance on PEDs in baseball... it despicable. But it's very curious as to just how big this epidemic is.  Now, I will tell you, Major League Baseball could easily come out and say, "Hey, 1 offense and you're banned for life", but they won't ever do that.  That's because in the end, baseball is a business.  And so, if a player is tested and caught, the thinking is, "That player wouldn't be stupid enough to do it again, and so we'll just keep up with this charade. He's banned for 50 games... the game won't be affected. We'll keep making money."


It shows the fans that MLB is trying to clean up the game, and at the same time, it keeps the business rolling.  But for a guy like Mejia... for Manny Ramirez and I'm sure more... they just don't think any other way... because they were brought into America with a different mentality... it's about the struggle for these players.  My opinion of course.

Look, I like what baseball has done to clean up the game, but this is the extent of it. They will not do it much stricter than they already have and that's because if a black eye is on MLB for suspending everyone for life, they lose a ton of money and the system breaks down.  And so this is what we know... the D.R. and other Latin countries work to get out of their poorer countriles and these countries are the ones that a rumored to be havens for PEDs. In turn, many players that come out of there either are users or RUMORED to use.  Mejia may have been a product of that.


And by the way, this is not a racist slap at the D.R. people.  This is about understanding what the struggle means for some of these kids. It's about being able to make it and go back to their homeland and say, "I made it, you can too". Not all Dominicans are users. Not all Latin players are users.  Not all Latin players are criminals.  I'm saying to you, I think I understand how this is unfolding.

And this goes for all players by the way. Ryan Braun is a perfect example of trying to get ahead.  It's about the struggle for some, but it's also about the edge and many players, even talented ones want that edge.  Sometimes they just get caught.  Jenrry Mejia got caught.  Alex Rodriguez got caught.  Ryan Braun got caught.  But there's more to it... everyone... EVERYONE knows this is happening including MLB, but the job is to just tamp it down... not truly fit it.  That's where we're at.

I hope you understand my concerns, as well as my editorial. It was a tough one for me to write.  Questions or concerns or comments... let's have a dialog. I'm here.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

DUMBEST. PLAYER. EVER.


There have been dumb players in our lifetime and in baseball history.  Some may say that Alex Rodriguez was pretty dumb, lying on ESPN that he was a changed man only to be caught using PEDs and suspended for a full season in 2014.


Some may say Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose were dumb. After all, gambling is an addiction, but some see it as greed.


But listen, I think if you're 26 years old and a pro baseball player, and you've read about and lived through the steroid era, and you know there are strict rules against PEDs, and you're trying to make it in the Bigs, and you STILL USE and get caught more than once, you gotta be the dumbest player ever.  And that's what Jenrry Mejia is.  Dumb.  He's just dumb. Dumb, DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, DUMMY.  My opinion of course.

Ironically, when Mejia was previously caught, we wrote YOU BIG DUMMY! 


That was in July.  It's astonishing to me that players still use.  What's worse is Mejia is now banned permanently. That's right... LIFE!

Breaking right now, we can report that Mejia tested positive for Boldenone. Boldenone is considered an "old school" PED. Clearly he was looking for something to help him and being DUMB, he doesn't even know what the hell he's taking and hoping something from yesteryear would fly under the radar. Wrong. Here's an idea... go squeaky clean, we'll all respect you more!

This is now the third offense against Mejia, and that means his life in baseball is officially over.  He's banned forever.



The New York Post writes: "Mejia is allowed to apply for reinstatement from the lifetime ban in one year, but must miss a minimum of two years."


But let's face it... that's a long time to think about how foolish you were and who the hell knows if this guy would ever even try to be reinstated. Plus, who trusts the dude now? Not me.

I just can't believe it. You work your entire life to become a Major league ball player, any boys dream.  Mejia had a ton of potential, the Mets loved him and they were looking forward to him getting back on the hill for them, and he slaps them in the balls with this. 

You know what? 3 strikes and you're out, pardon the pun.  As Paulie said to Henry Hill after Henry lied to him and asked for a couple bucks to get back on his feet...



"Now I gotta turn my back on ya."

Later Bitch. Hope it was worth it.



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YANKEES & CHAPMAN AVOID ARBITRATION


Quick note just so you're put at ease.  The Yankees and newly acquired Aroldis Chapman have avoided arbiration.  That was tweeted by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
We love Kenny.


 MLBTR goes further on Chapman:

"Chapman, of course, came to the Yankees at a discounted price after it was revealed that he was allegedly involved in a serious domestic disturbance. While charges will not be filed against him, there is still a possibility of league discipline relating to the matter."

Nice work Jeff Todd.

Looking forward to seeing Chapman next week at Spring Training.  It's gonna be fun.

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