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I was fortunate enough to have time to go to Jane Heller’s book signing at Stan’s Sports Bar across from the old Stadium today.

While I was driving up from Maryland this morning, I decided to email Jane to see if we could swap cell phone numbers in case I couldn’t make it to the book signing and instead meet her in the Stadium. Jane responded quickly and gave mer her number in case.

Then I realized I forgot my own copy of her book at home. Wonderful, just wonderful!

We arrived at Stan’s around 5:20pm, just before the book signing ended, and we found her tucked away in a corner of Stan’s. I was expecting something more extravagant — like flashing lights, a big cut out of Jane, a big banner, oh, all the bells and whistles.

Nosiree…it was just Jane, her husband Michael, and two Barnes & Noble employees helping out.

Cool anyway…so I introduced myself (through my sister) and it was a pleasure to meet Jane — albeit briefly.

Oh, I bought a second copy of her book. Sure helps with her royalties, right?

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Earlier tonight my lovely sister-in-law and my mother both commented that my brother and I are Yankee addicts.

We looked at each other and the first thing I told him was: “well, we ain’t like She-Fan.”

We don’t have our green barcaloungers in front of Mom’s flat screen HDTV. We don’t eat turkey burgers to keep a streak going. We don’t have lucky t-shirts.

When we explained all of this to our mother and sister-in-law/wife, Mom’s first reaction?

“Why does she eat turkey burgers?”

Ha-ha-ha!

Sure, we’re passionate, but not addicted. I think I need to show my mom She-Fan’s most recent column in the New York Times.

Wait…passionate isn’t the correct word. We’re crazy about our team. *grins*

The Comedian of all Yankee Bloggers — albeit a beat writer — the incomparable Peter Abraham said this on his blog this morning…

They’re started dismantling the old Yankee Stadium, stripping out the grass and now they’re taking down the outfield walls. This part of the wall had very little wear and tear as Bobby Abreu rarely touched it.

Ha-ha-ha. I needed that laugh this morning. That is an instant classic. The day Abraham goes to ESPN, I will mourn.

I have been a lifelong Yankee fan. Here’s an example of how bad I might be — in 1996, the Yankees clinched the decisive game 6 over the Braves while I was celebrating my high school’s Homecoming Dance. I ditched my Homecoming date to watch the game on TV.

I wear a Yankee retraceable badge clip on my belt for my work ID. I drive a car with a Yankee license plate. Sure, many other people do these things.

But I never knew about the Roll Call until last May when my whole family — my mom, my sister, and my brother, along with my daughter took in a game in May in the bleachers. Then all of a sudden everyone stood up and started screaming. I was like…what the f___?

Trevor explained the Roll Call to me.

Awesome. Chalk this one up to my deafness. I just never knew about the Roll Call. Maybe I should record one in American Sign Language and find a way to play it consecutively with the chants from the Bleacher Creatures.

She-Fan has a post up with a link to an interview with Bald Vinny, the guy who starts the Roll Call. He also has new shirts out. I am so going to buy one of his shirts!

Being a history major, I’m always on the lookout for statistics and actual research to justify my arguments. I probably couldn’t explain VORP or other acronym-laced (pun intended) baseball statistic. I’ll leave the math numbers to my brother.

What I can explain is basic things like ERA, W-L, OBP, OPS+, K/9, and stuff. This is a good measure of the abilities of a player. This is why Boston has had success the last several years. They’ve relied on the success of GM Epstein and his team of people who invest heavily into Sabermetrics and statistics to get players they needed (i.e. Alan Embree, David Ortiz) that could possibly measure into someone successful as Embree and Ortiz have produced in their years with Boston.

In The Yankee Years, Tom Verducci (more likely than Torre) had statistics spanning the years of 2001-2007 and how much the starting pitchers invested into the rotation. What’s missing is the years of 1996 t0 2000.

That’s where Jason from Heartland Pinstripes comes into the picture.

Jason wrote this excellent piece (he’s a history buff like me) on his blog yesterday analyzing the statistics of the Yankee pitchers in 1996-2000 and 2008.

I’ll mention a few things here, but I do encourage you to check out Jason’s post.

The Yankees obviously had success with their rotation between 1997 and 1999, even with fill-in starters. What’s more, the rotation of these years did not have workhorses, but effective starters. Jason writes that the Yankees had an effective fill-in starter in Ramon Mendoza (and in my opinion, none since, except for Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small in 2004).

The Yankees faltered in 2008, as we all know. The W-L and innings pitched for 2008 starters was dismal compared to 1996-2007 but the ERA was similar to what we saw from 2003 to 2007. It just happened that the Yankees were not able to get as much innings out of their real rotation compared to their fill-in starters, and while coming up with 89 wins and the fourth best record in the AL was no easy feat…2009 looks promising.

With the addition of two strong strikeout arms and a durable, proven workhorse, the Yankees are in prime position to repeat the pitching performance of 1997-1999 — proven everyone stays healthy and the Yankees can get durable fill-in starts from people like Phil Hughes, Al Aceves, Ian Kennedy.

Again, go read Jason’s post here!

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