Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Still Kicking

So A.J. Burnett won a game in the postseason? Well, that's great, especially considering he's the 20th highest paid player in baseball (though only fourth on his team), with an annual salary of $16,500,000.

By the way, if you haven't looked lately, three of the top four highest paid players in baseball are on the Yankees - No. 1 Alex Rodriguez, No. 3 CC Sabathia and No. 4 Mark Texeira.

To hear the concern on the voices of Yankees fans, the idea of having to rely on someone as horrible as Burnett in Game 4 last night against the Tigers, an elimination game with the Yankees down 2-1 in the series, was too much to contemplate. It had to be the result of an organizational failure to come up with a better fourth starter, right?

Were it any other team, then Burnett's contract would be a crippling one, and the organization would have had no choice but to keep running him out there and hope for the best, like the Giants with Barry Zito.

In the Yankees' case, decisions aren't made with money in mind. To the Yankees, Burnett can be a $16,500,000/year inconvenience, and with the number of players who make more than he does (or close to what he does), then he doesn't stand out nearly as much, as it does with, say, Zito.

Of course, for as well as Burnett pitched, he might not have made it out of the first inning were it not for Curtis Granderson (who at $8.5 million is the 11th highest paid Yankee), who made two great catches on the night.

And so the Yankees are even in the series, even if their payroll is $100,000,000 more than the Tigers (and $110,000,000 more than the Rangers, who play the winner of tomorrow night's Game 5).

The only reason the Yankees are a dominant team is because they have a huge monetary edge over the rest of the sport. It's not close, and it's not debatable.

It frustrates TigerBlog, but it's not that much different in the English Premier League, TB supposes.

Speaking of soccer, the 10 runs the Yankees scored last night equaled the number of goals in the Princeton-Seton Hall men's soccer game.

The Tigers scored three times in the first 25 minutes and led 4-1 at halftime. David Dubow had a big night in his second game after returning from injury, with two goals. Antoine Hoppenot and Matt Sanner also scored twice each.

The Princeton-Seton Hall game is always special for Tiger coach Jim Barlow, who has a long-standing relationship with Pirates' coach Manny Schellscheidt, who TB believes coached Barlow when he was a club player. Barlow also played at Princeton with Schellscheidt's son Karl.

The 2011 soccer season at Princeton is at the midway point, and it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for either team to date.

A year after the men went a perfect 7-0-0 in the Ivy League and the women came heartbreakingly close to winning the league as well until a shot in OT against Penn in the season-finale was knocked off the line by Quaker defender, both teams have struggled.

And yet, it's a little early to write either one off.

The women are 0-2 in the league, but they also had a two-game stretch a year ago where they were outscored 6-0 in consecutive league games. It's unlikely any team will get through the league with a perfect record, and a record of 5-2-0 or even 4-2-1 could win the league.

Princeton has outshot its opponents 116-92 through nine games, including 26-16 in the two Ivy games. Also, Princeton has had some extraordinarily bad luck:
* lost 2-1 to Seton Hall on a goal with 1:52 left in OT
* outshot La Salle 13-5 and lost 1-0 on a goal with seven minutes left
* outshot Lafayette 29-3 in a 2-2 tie
* gave up two goals 36 seconds apart in a 2-0 loss to Yale
* allowed Dartmouth one second half shot - and it went in, with 1:53 to play - in a 1-0 loss

The women play at Brown Saturday at 4, against a team that is 6-3-1 overall and 1-1 in the league. It's a must-win for the Tigers, as are all of their remaining league games.

The men play at Brown at 7, after the women's game. The Princeton men opened the league season with a 4-1 loss at Dartmouth last weekend in a game that got away quickly after the Green scored three times early in the game.

Like the women, the men have had some brutal results:

* a 3-2 loss to St. John's on an overtime goal with 4.2 seconds left
* a 2-1 loss to FDU on a penalty kick in overtime
* a 13-6 edge in shots in a 1-0 loss to Furman

The men have an advantage over the women in that only one league game has been played. The Ivy League is so good in men's soccer that anything is possible as the league race unfolds.

September wasn't the best month for Princeton soccer, but October is off to a good start. Who knows what November will bring?

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