Chat with Wallace Matthews
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Friday, New York Yankees beat writer Wallace Matthews will stop by to take your baseball questions.
Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He joins ESPNNewYork to cover the Yankees, which he's done since the days of Stump Merrill, having worked for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and 1050 ESPN Radio.
Send your questions now and join Matthews Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Wallace Matthews (1:01 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the West Coast edition of the Friday chat. I'm in LA preparing for tonight's Yankees-Dodgers game, and the Yanks reuniuon with their old skipper, Joe Whatsisname, so let's get started
Always wondered. Do you think Larry Holmes could have beaten Joe Frazier in his prime? I think Frazier takes him in 5 rounds. Also are their any heavyweights today that could last with either Holmes or Frazier??
Wallace Matthews (1:05 PM)
Hey Mitchell. I think it would have been a great matchup, because I beleive Holmes is one of the most underrated heavyweights in history. He wasn't Ali, but his jab was harder than Ali's and as he showed in at least a half-dozen fights, he could take a great punch and was not afraid of pressure. So as much as I love Frazier -- he was my favorite fighter growing up -- I think this would have been a very tough match for him. Assuming they met at their peaks, which was Frazier was March 8, 1971 and for Holmes the night he fought Ken Norton in 1978, I think it goes the distance in an Ali-Frazier like matchup, and I'm not sure Frazier would have gotten the nod. It all depends on if he could find the knockdwn punch he found against Ali in the 15th. And to answere your second question: NO.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which New York Yankees Players will be Traded by Saturday July 31?
Wallace Matthews (1:08 PM)
Hey, Chris. The answer is Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. LOL. Only kiddin'. I could maybe see one of the relievers, like a Park or a Gaudin, or maybe a prospect, if necessary to bring in one of the high-ticket pitcers who are likely to be available at the deadline. But since the Yankees will probably not need to make any wholesale changes or additions to the roster, my guess would be nobody.
Wallace, a bunch of these stat guys continue to tell me that wins don?t matter. How can that be? Isn?t that the point to win games? Don?t you think there is something to getting your teammates to rally around you? Kevin Millwood led the league in ERA in 2005 and only had 9 wins. Cliff Lee was on the same team with a much higher ERA but had 18 wins. Same teammates, twice as many wins. Doesn?t this show that Lee was a better pitcher, and a better teammate? His teammates showed up to play when he was on the mound, but not Millwood. I think that means something.
Wallace Matthews (1:19 PM)
Steve, some of my best friends are stats guys but man, are they wrong on that. Wins are THE most important stat. You can't compare pitchers solely on the basis of ERA. Great pitchers find a way to win or find a way to keep their teams i th egame long enough so the team can find a way to win. and I do believe teammates play the field better and more alertly behind a pitcher they believe in, and generally hit better for him, too. I'm sure the stats guys ae coming up with a number for that, now, too
Steve (Boston, MA)
Wallace, I love your writing. Satire is my favorite. What do you think of the Cliff Lee rumors? Is there any chance the Yankees would trade for him now instead of waiting for free agency?
Wallace Matthews (1:20 PM)
Hey, Steve, glad I'm keeping you amused. I hope. I don;t think the Yankees are going anywhere near Cliff Lee until after the season. The Yankee philosphy: If you want it, buy it. Why give up prospects, too?
wally do you think the yankees will call up brandon laird from double A this year? cause that kid can rake I believe he has 18 hr and 76 rbi in 71 game, i'm sure he can play better than pena
Wallace Matthews (1:22 PM)
He, David. I hear good things about Laird, too, but I can;t imagine the Yankees jumping a kid from AA to the big club. The NY Yankees do not provide on-the-job training. And Pena is not only adequate, he's versatile, so I think he'll stick where he is for now
alex gonzalez (Santo Domingo, D.R.)
Do you think Joba may have been changed as a pitcher for the worse during his time in the rotation?
Wallace Matthews (1:24 PM)
Hello, Alex. I always thought so. The Yankees deliberately tried to ratchet down Joba's intensity as a starting pitcher and I don;t think he's ever completely gotten it back. He shows flashes of it -- he hit 98 on the gun for the first time I can remember this year the other day in Arizona -- but he slips back every now and then into nibbling and getting in trouble by falling behind in counts. You can't discount the possibility that he is injured, but it just looks to me like all the manipulation and uncertainty of the past couple of years did some real harm
Wallace, I know the Yankees won the World Series last year, but I still don?t think A-Rod is a true Yankee. He?s a distraction, don?t you think? 2009 was great, but I don?t know if they can continue to win with him around, just trying to pad his stats. He doesn?t have that ?winner? gene like a Scott Brosius or Derek Fisher.
Wallace Matthews (1:27 PM)
Hey, Steve. I never quite understood what True Yankee meant, but I agree that A-Rod still sucks all the air out of the room. The recent flap with the hip injury, where he told Ramiro Pena he might have to come out of the game but not Joe Girardi, leaving the Yankees stuck with El Nino was their cleanup hitter that night, is a prime example of how he travels under his own rules. See my column today on how Joe Torre never could have co-exsted with him. Girardi is a different type and may get along better with him, but he will never truly fit in with his teammates because his personality won;t allow it.
Isn't the Torre era with the Yanks 2 separate eras? Sucsess 1996 - 2001 and disapointment 2002-2007? Joe T seems to be a lot like Joe G and Terry F. good with the media, the players seem to want to play for him but terrible at situational baseball (strategy). Their strengths are filling out a talented line up card and letting the players play. Your thoughts?
Wallace Matthews (1:29 PM)
Hey, Dom. Good question. I agree the best managers are the ones with the best players, who as you say,fill out the cad and keep out of the way. That's why Torre was a bust with three lousy teams before striking gold with a great team. But Torre's real talent, I believe, was in keeping peace in the clubhouse and with the owner, who was still active and meddlesome until about 2006. Girardi doesn;t have to deal with that intrusion but does seem to share Torre's talent for maintaining harmony in the room.
Wallace Matthews (1:30 PM)
OK, guys, thanks for the questions and we'll do this again next Friday. Off to Chavez Ravine and the Torre Carnival, Day 1