The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Brian Levy

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 28, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

As a writer, there are fan experiences that never cross my mind. This is one of them, and that’s why I wanted to include it in this series.

Our next Pinch Hitter is Brian Levy, a third-year student at NYU School of Law, and a Yankees fan since 1990. His emailed suggestion for a post was basically an all-sour-grapes team of ex-Red Sox. As a kid rooting for the Cardinals, I believe I had the opposite reaction. I remember disliking former Cubs players wherever they went, but Brian sees the opposite. He likes to see former Red Sox thrive, if only to laugh about the ones that got away.

One of the long-running debates about the importance of statistics is whether feelings affect baseball. When it comes to issues like whether a player performs better or worse in the clutch, the consensus says there’s no statistical significance to crying in baseball (cold streaks are not determinative of future slumps, nor do players perform worse because of fear in the clutch).

Another statistical shorthand that smoothes out emotional reactions is team revenue per win curves. E.g., Vince Gennaro, 2005. Economists and saber-enthusiasts argue that, from the perspective of the team, revenue can be estimated purely from the wins and losses in the standings.

This, however, seems to elide the difference between fan interest and fan payment. On aggregate, fans probably do pay more in eyeball-time or in dollars when the team wins. But, in my anecdotal experience, fan interest can be generated by a series of events with little direct bearing on the team’s overall record. Two of my own strongest and earliest baseball memories consist of two streaks on losing teams: Kevin Maas’s record-breaking rookie home run pace and Anthony Young’s pitching loss streak.

I think that readers of this blog are the kind of people who derive their interest, in part, by becoming invested in prospects, whether the big league team is winning or losing. For fans like us, losing prospects or other players under team control can be agonizing. See, e.g., the two references to Jay Buhner on Seinfeld.

That is precisely the kind of anguish we Yankees fans would like to inflict on Red Sox. After all, the goal of the Yankees fan is, to quote Gov. Schwarzenegger, “[t]o crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their [fans.]” Therefore, when a player leaves the Red Sox, I want to see him have a Hall-of-Fame career with another team. When I go to the Stadium in May, I am always sure to grab stacks of All-Star ballots and vote for ex-Red Sox.

If you want to join me in believing that all of New England suffers tremendous pangs of regret when a former Red Sox player succeeds, you need to know who they are. In the post–Reserve Clause world, it can be hard to keep track of players who were briefly on other teams. Below is the best team that could be made of players liberated from Red Sox Nation.

STARTERS
C: Victor Martinez
1B: Casey Kotchman
2B: Freddy Sanchez
SS: Hanley Ramirez
3B: Adrian Beltre
LF: Josh Reddick
CF: Coco Crisp
RF: David Murphy
DH: Anthony Rizzo

BENCH
OF:
Mike Cameron
UT: Jed Lowrie
C: George Kottaras
DH: Johnny Damon

ROTATION
SP1: Justin Masterson
SP2: Annibal Sanchez
SP3: Jorge De La Rosa
SP4: Erik Bedard
SP5: Chris Narveson

BULLPEN
Long:
Bartolo Colon
Loogy: Ron Mahay
RP: Taylor Buccholz
RP: Mike Gonzalez
RP: Takashi Saito
SU: Rafael Betancourt
CL: Jonathan Papelbon
DL: David Aardsma

COACHING STAFF
GM: Theo Epstein
Manager: DeMarlo Hale
Bench Coach: Tony Pena
3rd base coach: Dale Sveum
1st base coach: John Farrell
Hitting Coach: Don Baylor
Pitching Coach: Mike Maddux
Broadcast Team: Terry Francona, John Flaherty, and David Cone

There are some better players who were left off, but how could any Yankees fan in 2012 skip Bartolo Colon? Of course, an all-time edition of this list would be pretty cool. It would necessarily have Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs riding a horse, and Jeff Bagwell. Others suggested include some left-handed pitcher from the Deadball Era, G.H. something.

The methodology for this piece included memory and Baseball Reference’s transaction and draft pages for the last two decades. Thanks to Chad for including me in this series.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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