November 26, 2014

A Haunting in the Bronx

May 7, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Call the Fantastic Four!  Call the Ghostbusters!  Hell, somebody at least get in touch with those meddlesome kids who travel around in a van with their dog.  (Just tell them to leave Scrappy Doo at home.)

Ghosts are haunting Yankee Stadium!

The Curse of the Bambino—Babe Ruth’s posthumous revenge for Harry Frazee’s decision to sell the slugger to the Yankees to finance one of Frazee’s dreadful theatrical endeavors—once, the scourge of Red Sox Nation has shifted its focus to the right-handed starters of the home town Yankees.

In 2003, the Yankees and Red Sox engaged in yet another epic postseason battle.  With New York down 5-2 heading into the eighth inning of Game 7, Aaron Boone has said that Derek Jeter told him to be patient, “the ghosts will eventually come out.”

They did.  The Yankees tied the game, and won it in the eleventh with a walk-off by that same Aaron Boone.

That night may have been the last time the ghosts were on the side of the home team.

As early as 2001, Rudy Giuliani—then mayor of New York City—had been in talks with the Yankee brass to build a new Yankee Stadium.  In 2005, Giuliani’s successor, Michael Bloomberg, finalized that plan, and a year later, the Yankees had broken ground on that new baseball amusement park that now sits at 161st Street and River Avenue.  Last year, they tore down the “House That Ruth Built.”

The ghosts were not amused.

For the last decade, the spirit of the Sultan of Swat has been enacting his revenge against the very same people he so regularly preyed upon in life—right-handed pitchers.  Against righties, Ruth hit almost 30 points higher, drove in 862 more runs, and hit 266 (more than double) more homers.

Take a look at the following chart:

Pitcher* Average Fastball Velocity Prior to Becoming a Yankee Starter (mph) Average Fastball Velocity After Becoming a Yankee Starter (mph)
Kevin Brown

91.3

89.3

Carl Pavano

91.0

89.4**

Javier Vazquez (2003-2004)

91.8

90.1

Javier Vazquez (2009-2010)

91.1

88.7

Joba Chamberlain (reliever to starter)

95.0

92.5

* Note: I did not include Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia in my analysis, because I have not yet determined what black arts they employed that led to their recent baseball resurrections.

**After debuting with the Yankees in 2005, Carl Pavano was injured for a majority of the 2007 season, and upon his return in 2008, his average fastball velocity was even lower at 87.9 mph.

Most recently, Phil Hughes made the move to the starting rotation last season.  He came into the majors touted as the second coming of Roger Clemens—a tall flamethrower—yet has only pushed his fastball up to 93 mph on average.  He lost only a little off his fastball last year, but came out of spring training in 2011 averaging 89.2 mph, as opposed to 92.6 mph in 2010 and 93.8 mph in 2009.  On April 17th, Hughes went on the DL with “arm fatigue.”

It’s pretty clear: the Yankees angered the Caliph of Clout by evicting his spirit and he’s taking it out on their high value right-handed pitchers, just like he did when he was alive.

This is the new Curse of the Bambino.

My advice to the Yankees organization is to do whatever is necessary to appease the Colossus of Clout.  Rub sweat on the brow of his monument like Roger Clemens used to, ply his shrine with offerings of hot dogs and beer, or proffer virgins to his memorial.***  Because it seems like until they get this straightened out, right-handed starters aren’t going to succeed in Yankee Stadium.

***We here at Let’s Hear Some Chatter and Seamheads.com do not support or condone the sacrifice of innocents.  We just know what the Sultan of Swat liked.

And if all that fails, I know who I would call.

A big thanks to the folks at baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com, and my dad for pointing me in this direction.

Comments

2 Responses to “A Haunting in the Bronx”
  1. Mike Lynch says:

    Josh, Josh, Josh…

    Excellent and humorous as always but I can’t believe you “went there” with Frazee and his “dreadful theatrical endeavors.” Did you forget I wrote the book on Frazee? Whether he sold Ruth to fund any of his productions is debatable but the two the Bambino can possibly be linked to were both critically acclaimed and financially successful. In fact Frazee made a fortune off “No, No, Nanette.” Having said all that, that the new Curse of the Bambino is now afflicting the Yankees is almost as good as Pedro demanding that someone dig up Ruth’s corpse so he could drill him in the ass. Of course, the standings show that the Red Sox are still somehow affected by the Babe’s ghost. :-)

  2. Josh Deitch says:

    Mike-
    I defer to your expertise on all things Ruth and Frazee related…Let me just define what I meant by “dreadful.” No No Nanette did not hit over 700 homeruns, take home a plethora of world championships, capture the imagination of a nation, or become arguably the best theatrical production of all time. Ruth did…hence “dreadful.”

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