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With Javier Vazquez’ recent demotion to the bullpen, I can’t help but ask myself if this is the end of the Vazquez in the Bronx.  Two times Vazquez came to the Bronx among high expectations and two times now he has failed.  He might even be done there for good.

After a great start to the 2004 season which saw him start the all-star game, Vazquez finished the season like a chump and was shipped off to Arizona.  I personally had high hopes for the guy when he was acquired from Atlanta this offseason for Melky Cabrera.  Vazquez was coming of a season which might have been his best ever as a pro.  He was 15-10 for an Atlanta team that was at best an average squad.  He boasted a career best 2.87 ERA and his second-highest career total in strikeouts with 238.

For his career, Vazquez even appears as a safe bet.  Since 2000, his numbers are eerily consistent.  He has not started less than 32 games or more than 34.  He has won at least 11 games a season, but never more than 16.  Excluding 2009 and 2010, his ERA was always between 3.42 and 4.84.  His career record is 151-148 with a career 4.23 ERA while playing mostly for

Vazquez is 9-9 this season with a career-worst 5.05 ERA.  Even worse, he has not won a start in 4 weeks and has not made it to the 7th inning since July.  He has lost two of his previous four starts and has experienced an astounding drop in his pitch velocity, requiring him to pitch around batters and throw anywhere from 80-100 pitches in 4-5 innings.  Not exactly the definition of effective pitching.

Don’t quote me on this, but I believe his contract is over at the end of this season and pitching .500 ball with a 5.05 ERA sort of makes him expendable.  Newcomers Dustin Moseley and Ivan Nova have been more than willing to and seem more than capable of filling the roles left behind by Vazquez and the injured Andy Pettitte.

On September 1, the rosters of every team expand to 40.  Unless Vazquez can reinvent himself as a member of the bullpen, he’ll just be one of the pitchers in the ‘pen that the Yankees never use.  He won’t make a potential playoff or World Series roster and will find himself somewhere other than Tampa for spring training next season.

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A scathing report on the Florida Marlins new stadium came out today on Yahoo Sports, essentially calling out the Marlins franchise for lying to public officials about the need for civil monetary support of the Marlins new stadium.  The report also goes into detail about how this is becoming the norm in American sports – taxpayers footing the bill for gigantic stadiums and keep all or most of the revenues for them.

Check out the article here.  It’s a great read.

This picture was taken at the Sunday afternoon game in the Bronx.  After a lengthy rain delay which saw non-stop heavy rain, someone I was at the game with asked what they were going to do with all the water stuck on the tarp.  I had no idea until I saw the grounds crew pull the tarp in the outfield dumping all the water you see forming a lake in left field in front of the tarp.

Amazingly, 20 minutes later, ALL that water was gone and all that was left was the small puddle you see in shallow right.  Apparently the grounds crew missed that because the following inning a grounder was hit into right toward Seattle right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki and stopped dead in that puddle.

I had heard about the amazing drainage system when they were building the new stadium, but this was the first time I was able to see it live.  Needless to say I was impressed.

Umm what?

At least that was my response to an ESPN report that the Boston Red Sox have claimed former OF Johnny Damon off waivers from the Detroit Tigers.  It’s unclear why Damon was on the waivers to begin with, although from my understanding, teams regularly put almost every player on waivers in August, however most aren’t claimed.

It’s also unclear at this time what the Red Sox true intentions are – whether it was to keep a competing club, like the Tampa Bay Rays or Chicago White Sox who need outfield help, from claiming him.  Boston itself does need help in their injury-plagued outfield.

Damon was a member of the Red Sox championship team in 2004 which broke Boston’s 86 year championship drought.  He left the Red Sox after the 2005 season, spending 4 seasons as a fan-favorite Yankee.  He declined contract offers from the Yankees this off-season and instead signed with the Detroit Tigers for less money.  Damon is hitting .270 with 7 homers and 40 RBI, well below his numbers while with the Yankees.

There are a few things that need to happen for Damon to join the Sox again.  First, he needs to waive his no trade clause.  Then, the Red Sox and Tigers have 48 hours to negotiate a trade.  If that can’t be done, then the Tigers have the option of letting Damon go for nothing, or they could pull him off waivers and keep him for the remainder of the season.

One of Commissioner Bud Selig’s objections to the use of Instant Replay in Major League Baseball is that it slows down the game.  I’ve always found that one a somewhat soft argument.  Case in point: I turned on the TV this afternoon and caught a small part of the Little League World Series Ohio vs. New Jersey game.  In the bottom of the third inning, the 3B for Ohio made a great play on a grounder and threw out the runner at first.  However, the first base umpire called him safe.

The Ohio manager came out, asked the umpires to get together and see if anyone got a better view of the play.  When no umpire said he had a better view, the manager asked for a replay.  Obviously the replay showed the runner was out.  After about 1 total minute, the play was reversed.

How did this slow the game down?  If the awesome Derek Jeter can step out the batter’s box after every pitch and readjust both gloves, his helmet and tap almost every part of the plate with his bat, how is that any different?

Under the LLWS rules, the manager can pretty much request a replay of almost all plays as long as the calls continue to go in his favor.

Although I support the use of replay in baseball, I do agree with Selig on one point – replay should never, ever be used to challenge balls and strikes.  The fact that every umpire has a slightly different strike zone is one of the little intricacies of baseball that should never be altered.

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