Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yankees Will Not Sign Stephen Drew

According to Peter Gammons on Twitter the New York Yankees will not be signing Stephen Drew this offseason. Hey look here something Gammons said that was well thought out and I agree with, imagine that. Drew is a luxury at this point and with the dwindling 40 man roster spots currently on the team it just doesn't make sense unless Alex Rodriguez is suspended for 211 games. Gammons reported earlier in the month that Drew was waiting on some "clarity from the Yankees" and I think he just got it, unless of course Brian Cashman is posturing which he is not great at.

Happy New Years From The Greedy Pinstripes

I just wanted to take a second to tell everyone Happy New Years just a few hours early. Everyone be safe tonight, have fun, and ring in the new year in style. Happy New Years everyone! Go Yankees!

Quick Yankees Winter League Wrap Up

The winter leagues are wrapping up or wrapped up with the end of the year looming and I wanted to take this time to give a quick wrap up on the winter leagues. Here are a few quick blurbs from the bigger named and closer to the majors Yankees prospects that participated in various winter leagues this offseason:

Zoilo Almonte: .316/.343/.454 w/ 4 HR and 20 RBI in 43 Dominican League games

Gary Sanchez: .267/.330/.367 w/ 1 2B and 2 RBI in 12 Domincan League games

Ronnier Mustelier: .270/.386/.360 w/ 2 HR, 27 RBI, and 28 BB in 53 Mexican Pacific League games

Adonis Garcia: .325/.347/.502 w/ 15 2B, 8 HR, and 39 RBI in 53 Venezuelan League games

Jose Pirela: .335/.419/.510 w/ 25 XBH, 41 RBI, and 33 BB in 61 Venezuelan League games

Great winter numbers for Zoilo who could be the Yankees 5th outfielder if New York can move Ichiro Suzuki to the San Francisco Giants. Garcia and Pirela are considered to be fringe prospects at this point but after this Venezuelan League showing the Yankees may be looking at adding them to the 40 man roster as soon as next offseason if this is a sign of what's to come. Mustelier had a disappointing showing overall in my opinion, especially in the power department, as well as Sanchez but at the end of the day you cannot put too much stock into these numbers, for better or worse.

Yankees Stadium Legacy: #91 Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera led all of base in saves in 2004 with 53 saves, a career high for Mo. Mariano as we all know leads the entire world in All time saves and finished his career with 42 postseason saves to go along with his five World Series rings. Mo has led the American League in saves three times in his career.

91 days until Opening Day.

So What If Tanaka Throws 113 Pitches Per Game!?

Just a short little rant here this morning because irresponsible journalism irritates me.

Yesterday on MLB Trade Rumors, a site that I obviously respect, there was mention of Masahiro Tanaka and his workload. You can click the link to see exactly what was said but here is me paraphrasing that we should be worried about Tanaka averaging 113 pitches per start. 113 pitches per start is more than any Major League pitcher averaged in a nine inning game so yeah on paper that is concerning but one thing, one major thing, was not mentioned. Masahiro Tanaka, and all Japanese pitchers, pitch once a week over in Japan. Here in the USA pitchers pitch every 5th day or every 3rd or 4th day in a pinch, thus they throw less pitches per start.

If you are going to start a riot on Twitter with Yankees fans talking about Tanaka's pitch count and how he may or may not fall off the edge of the Earth after signing a big deal please state ALL the facts. Jeff Passan did save face a little when he mentioned that Yu Darvish had a similar workload and has pitched quite well in the states but still, I want all the facts not just the cherry picked ones. Especially when the guy is 25 years old!

Thank you for reading my rant this early in the morning and please stick to the facts today, all of them.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/31

On this day in 1974 free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter ended an unprecedented bidding war when he signed with the New York Yankees. Hunter signed for $3.75 million, which ended up being three times more than any other player at the time, to leave the A's for New York.

On this day in 2004 the Yankees agreed to a contract with Tino Martinez for a one year reunion after the Tampa Bay Devil Rays declined his $8 million option. Martinez was coming off a .262 batting average with 23 home runs and 76 RBI's and signed a $3 million deal with New York. Tino played in New York from 1996-2001 and was replaced by Jason Giambi in 2002 before coming back in 2005 to be Giambi's backup.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Yankee Stadium Experience: The Bleachers

PART NINE: The Bleachers and the Creatures that Roam There

I have been to exactly one World Series game in my life.  Unfortunately it was Game 6 of the 2003 World Series against the Florida Marlins.  That night, Josh Beckett threw a gem shutting the Yankees out in the decisive game versus an equally competitive Andy Pettitte.
Have I mentioned my disdain for one Josh Beckett?
Beckett would be awarded the MVP while Pettitte would go on to take a hiatus from the Yanks by joining the Houston Astros for the next 3 years.   Let's be clear...seeing Beckett celebrate on the Yankee Stadium grass sucked...but the pain was muted just a little bit due to the fact that my Dad and I got to witness the game from the famous Section 39 with its infamous inhabitants: the "Bleacher Creatures."

Firstly, let's recap what the Bleacher Creatures used to be like in the Old Stadium since some of the traditions have changed due to the new dimensions in the New Yankee Stadium.  The founding of the Creatures is often attributed to Ali Ramirez aka "The Cowbell Man" who would sit religiously in Seat 29 of Row A in Section 39 during the dog-days of the 1980s.  He was one of the mainstays of the Stadium and when he passed away in May of 1996, the Yankees honored him with a plaque on his seat stating "This Seat is Taken."
Ali Ramirez's Seat (source: WikiPedia)

At some point in the early 90s fans in the Bleachers started chanting Tino Martinez's name while he played 1st base.  Surprisingly Tino turned around and gave the chanting fans a wave.  From this auspicious beginning a tradition was formed and since then it has become a top of the 1st inning tradition.  Of course the only players names that don't get chanted are the pitcher and catcher out of respect for their concentration.  If you have never seen a Roll Call at Yankee Stadium, it is something special to see and it's even better to be a part of while watching a World Series game.  My dad and I actually sat directly behind "Bald Vinny" during that game.  Hearing him yell "Yoooooo Ber-NIE! during roll call that day was classic. (Update: as per @baldvinny, we weren't behind him that night as he had to work that evening...not sure which of the Creatures led the Roll Call that night...it was over 10 years ago and I've slept since then... :), but whomever did it was very convincing in their efforts.)

Some of the other famous "Creatures" include Tina Lewis aka "Queen of the BC", a "Bald Ray", which is how Vinny got his namesake...the new "Cowbell Man" Milton Ousland, and even a "Regular Ray".  If you get a chance to sit with the Bleacher Creatures (which is no longer Section 39), you can read their names on the back of their custom fit New Era Yankee ballcaps.  Each of the members has certain responsibilities during the game in terms of chants, etc.  Of course Vinny Milano aka the Bald One starts the Roll Call by yelling "Yoooooo!" and then the current center fielder's name (Ellsbury??).  The rest of the Creatures and seemingly the rest of the Bleachers chant that player's name until they are recognized with a wave or in Johnny Damon's case a Captain Caveman Salute...a the end of the roll call, they would then point up into the Right Field Box Seats and chant "Box Seats Suck...Box Seats Suck..." which isn't applicable anymore due to the Bleachers being raised to the same level now in Section 203 of the New Stadium.  In the cases of when the hated Red Sox are visiting, this may be substituted with "Red Sox Suck..."

The "Cowbell Man" will initiate any cowbelling within the Stadium with no exceptions...and this is customarily only done during a Yankees rally.  During the 7th inning stretch, several of the Creatures will usually roll out a large American flag to display over them during the singing of God Bless America.  In the case of that fateful day in 2003, I was able to hold a corner during the playing of our National Anthem.  Occassionally other chants will be hurled at opposing players in the outfield which wouldn't be appropriate to list here as this is a family show, but one of the most mentioned by "Bald Vinny" was that he used to sling out Japanese swear words at Ichiro in right field.  Now of course they chant I-chi-ro, I-chi-ro! after the center fielder's name.
I bet this guy really hates StubHub right about now...
On the rare occasion that someone is stupid enough to wear a Red Sox or Mets shirt, hat, jersey, or any type of clothing into the section, a new chant will be directed their way, which has resulted in many a fight in the Bleachers...the chant rhymes with "Bass Pole."  Perhaps for this reason, alcohol sales were banned from the Bleachers circa 2000.  At that time, the entrance was also separate from the rest of the Stadium as you had to access them from behind the outfield wall.

Some famous people have sat with the infamous Creatures including David Cone and Tino Martinez (in disguise).  Celebrities get their picture taken with Bald Vinny and there are dedicated websites for their fandom.  Additionally, the Bleacher Creatures have their own website which I encourage you to visit: http://www.bleachercreatures.tv/ .  Heck...a book has been written about these "crazy" people as Filip Bondy sat with them during the 2004 season and documented it in his "Bleeding Pinstripes."  But really, the Creatures are made up of down-to-earth people, blue-collar workers who sat there initially because it only cost $5.  A "true" fan if you will...not one of those $9 Heineken drinkers up in the Box Seats.

So really not much has changed in the Bleachers except for the name (now Section 203) and the general locale to the Box Seats but thankfully you can get to them without having to go in a separate entrance.  The Creatures can still be heard yelling loudly whether it be Roll Call or Bass Pole and it is quite the treat to sit amongst them...well at least if you are a Yankees fan.  The Bleacher Creatures have become just another tradition in Yankee Stadium, whether Old or New and hopefully it will be a tradition that lasts a long time.  I encourage you to take in a game once or twice in the vicinity and make sure to take part in every chant, every cheer, because sometimes the result on the field isn't worth the price of admission, but the atmosphere and the way you watch the game can make up for it.

Alex Rodriguez & Randy Levine Exchange Emails

Randy Levine and Alex Rodriguez have a lot of history, Levine was one of the major contributors to ARod signing his 10 year deal worth $275 million, and apparently have a lot to talk about. Emails between the two have been released to the public today, and wow, that's all I got.... wow. Spoiler alert, Randy Levine says that Robinson Cano needs steroids, and fast. Read below for some excerpts from the original article, seen HERE.

May 11, 2011
The Yankees lose to the Royals 4-3; Rodriguez, batting cleanup, collects just one hit in five at-bats.
Levine: Hey, tough game, I’m worried about your health, u sure u r ok? You look to me like you’re a little off. If just a slump, you will come out, but if more, let me know.
Rodriguez: Hey Randy, yes, tough game. Just a little jumpy at the plate. I feel fine. I’ve been working hard with Kevin Long [Yankees hitting coach]. I will start hitting soon. My team needs me. We will win tomorrow. Have a great night.

May 17, 2011 
Rodriguez hits two home runs, leading the team to a win over Tampa Bay.
Levine: Way to go, welcome back … enjoy start of a roll.
Rodriguez: Yessir!! Our team needs me to hit and lead us.
Levine: U are the man. I told u that for years. U can and will do it.

October 2, 2011
The divisional series against Detroit is tied at one game apiece.
Levine: u r the leader … Keep confidence strong, get us home.
Two years earlier, Rodriguez had carried the Yankees through the World Series; against the Tigers, Rodriguez hits justs .111 and the Yankees lose the playoff series three games to two.

March 25, 2012
Rodriguez is hit by a pitch in a preseason game.
Levine: Ouch. Feel better.
Rodriguez: Can’t hurt me.
Levine: It hurt me watching.
Rodriguez: HA!

May 21, 2012
The Yanks are shut out by the Royals.
Levine: My friend, I have always believed that in difficult times there r two ways to go. The easy way, which is to make excuses, be defensive, or blame others and shut it down. The better way is to take the challenge, get mad, get determined, and shut everyone up and perform to greater levels. I believe in u. I believe u will hit those levels. It has been a tough year in injuries, tough losses, underperformance, but we need a leader, that is you. Take the lead, get these guys going, put a chip on your shoulder. When u succeed it will be Yankees lore. There is nothing more powerful than that. I am here to support u. Tell us what u need.
Rodriguez: You are 100% correct. This is no time for blame or excuses. Is time for me to be a leader and rally the troops. I feel if I perform at a high level, put a chip on my shoulder and lead the way, then my mates will follow my lead. Is not how you start, but how you finish. Let’s get it going tonight. Thanks for the support and stay in touch.

May 23, 2012
Rodriguez homers twice against the Royals in an 8-3 Yankees victory, Rodriguez’s first home runs in 52 at-bats.
Levine: Breakout game. Nice going. Chip on shoulder attitude. Get us on a roll.

July 30, 2012
Rodriguez is out with an injury, having fractured his hand five days earlier when hit by a pitch. Levine makes a reference to performance-enhancing drugs that he later refers to as a “bad joke.”
Levine: How r u feeing since u left Robby [Cano] under 200, he needs some steroids fast!

August 21, 2012
With A-Rod still out, Levine again makes a possibly comic drug reference.
Levine: Hey, what’s up with Robby. This guy must not be using the liquid. U didn’t tell me what did Chris and Steve say your ETA is. Don’t rush it unless u r right. We need you. Nova looks like he may need a breather. What do u see.

September 22, 2012
Rodriguez gets two key hits in a fourteen-inning victory that keeps the Yankees in first place. The chip on the shoulder the two have spoken about has become a nickname: Chip.
Levine: Way to go best win of year. U had walkoff mesa nerves. U stepped up do it tomorrow. Chip. Proud of u.
Rodriguez: Huge win. … Very nervous. Need to win tomorrow. Chip
Levine: That’s what leaders do.
That fall, the Yankees win their division, but Rodriguez has another terrible postseason, managing just a single hit in the championship series against Detroit, in which they are swept. In early December, Rodriguez is diagnosed with a torn labrum—a left-hip injury. Even the Yankees seem relieved. Says general manager Brian Cashman, “The struggles we saw in September and October are more likely than not related to [the injury].”
At home in Miami, Rodriguez begins “prehabbing,” building strength before the surgery, which is scheduled for January.

The Luxury Tax Is Not The Only Tax The Yankees Pay

The New York Yankees have announced that they plan to spend big time money on the 2014-2015 International free agent market. The Yankees have thrown out a big number, $12-$15 million, which would result in $10-$12 million in penalties.

The figures have not been set for international spending for teams starting this June but the Yankees are presumed to be in the $2-$2.5 million range. The Yankees would have to pay a 100% tax on any spending higher than 10% of their cap and would lose the ability to sign any amateur free agents in 2015-2016 or 2016-2017 over $300K if they exceed 15% this coming season. Also it is worth noting that the Yankees risk losing top picks in the International Draft if MLB ever decided to go that route. Ouch!

Is it worth the Yankees dominating the international market for one season and spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million, all told, to feel the restraints for the next two seasons? The Chicago Cubs did it this season by signing the two top IFA's on the market by signing Eloy Jimenez and Gleybar Torres and two others in the Top 30 by signing Erling Moreno and Jen-Ho Tseng and still only spent $7.895 million. That remains to be seen as this years pool may look stronger than ever, or this may be the Yankees plan to rejuvenate the farm system, either way looks like we are in all spend mode no matter what so stay tuned.

Austin Romine Said To Be Available In Trades

The New York Yankees have made Austin Romine available in trades after singing Brian McCann and announcing that Francisco Cervelli would be tendered a contract. JR Murphy is slated to start the season at AAA Scranton even though he may have the most trade value of all the Yankees catchers, including McCann. 

Romine is 25 years old and is coming off of a .205/.255/.296 season and has some troubles behind the dish as Chris Stewart's back up last season. Romine was never given many at bats, 148 plate appearances all season, and was never given consistent at bats so I really think we have not seen all that RoRo has to offer. 

Unless we miss out on Masahiro Tanaka and/or Romine can fetch us either a big piece at the back end of the bullpen or in the rotation I say hold on to the young catcher. Having too much catching depth is not a bad problem to have and I don't wanna see the Yankees give up on yet another prospect, a la Mark Melancon, one or two seasons too soon.


Guess what! I was lucky enough to convince one of the YES men (named Lou DiPietro) to let me interview him about his AWESOME job. Any Yankee fan has to agree, working for the YES Network definitely has some perks! Ready to read about them...?! Here you go! 

Me: Do you or do you not have the best job in the world working for the YES Network? I am going to go with you do have the best job...  
Lou: Yes, of course I think I do! Seriously though, I get to pretty much watch and write about sports for a living, and as a lifelong Yankees fan, it’s especially a thrill to be working for their network and to have the kind of access that I do with the team. Same thing goes for things, like, say, this year’s Pinstripe Bowl, which lets me go to Yankee Stadium to watch a Notre Dame football game, which is an honor in and of itself.

Me: Being a big football guy do you follow the Temple University football team? Tough season this year.  
Lou: Tough is an understatement! Yes, I do follow TU football, and men’s hoops as well. The four years I was in school (1997-2000 seasons) we won I think 11 games total, so  it’s not like I’m not used to it! But, it made the few years Al Golden was at the helm that much sweeter; even in the MAC, it was nice to see my alma mater succeed for a change.

Me: Are you like most who say that "fandom" goes out the window after a while or are you still a Yankees fan at heart? 
Lou: Everyone is different, but for me, it hasn’t. Of course, you have to conduct yourself as a professional in public, and I will say that working in baseball has changed the way I watch a game, but that inner fan, the one that spent a night roaming the streets and bars of NYC in November 2009 so I could make sure I got a good spot on the Yankees parade route – is still there.

Me: If you had to choose... what would be your favorite encounter with an MLB baseball player (a Yankee or a player on another team)? 
Lou: I’m not sure if I could pinpoint a specific moment, so I’ll say this: perhaps the best feeling is seeing a guy come up through the system and getting to know him from trips to spring training or a minor league park, then seeing him in the clubhouse at the Stadium and they remember you. Our whole team feels that it is important to start a good rapport with guys early, and that’s the payoff. David Adams is a great example of that, and that’s how we’ve been able to create great content like our long form features on Adams and Preston Claiborne – because we’ve known them for years.

Me: Being what you describe as a "native New Englander" how do you like working for a New York based operation?  
Lou: I grew up in southwestern Connecticut and spent a lot of time in NYC as a child, so I’ve always been a New Englander by geography but a New Yorker at heart. I guess that means I like it?

Me: After working for the World Wrestling Entertainment brand do you consider it to be a sport, fake or not? 
Lou: Even WWE brands it as sports-entertainment, so I’d have to say no. I believe that those guys and girls are great athletes on the whole and what they do has a very athletic element, but it’s no more a sport by definition than a snowball fight.

Me: How many baseball stadiums have you visited in your lifetime? 
Lou: Counting ones that no longer exist 11: all four New York stadiums and both in Philadelphia, plus Tropicana Field, Joe Robbie Stadium, Comerica Park, Camden Yards, and Comiskey Park. I am one of many that has the dream of going to all 30 ballparks (or at least all 30 cities) in my lifetime, and that may end up becoming a reality in a little different capacity than I expected!

Me: What is your favorite sports moment? 
Lou: Wow. I’d have to say it’s one of these three: watching the 1994 Rangers skate the Stanley Cup (because that was the first of my “teams” to win a championship), watching the 1996 Yankees win the World Series (first time my favorite team won a title), or watching the 2008 Phillies win the World Series at Citizens Bank Park (first time I ever saw a team win a title live). All three were awesome in their own way and in a completely different way.

Me: What are you're thoughts on the departure of Robinson Cano, the "disagreements" with Joe Girardi, and the general reasoning that has a ton of Yankees fans jumping off the cliff? 
Lou: Robinson Cano has always been great with me personally and professionally, and he did what he felt was best for himself personally, so you can’t hate him for that – and if he really had issues with Joe, over batting second or anything else, then that’s his right to ply his trade elsewhere. I don’t agree with his statement that the Yankees didn’t show him respect, but again, that’s his opinion. As for Yankees fans jumping off a cliff…relax. Is a Kelly Johnson/Brian Roberts platoon at second base as good as Cano in theory? No, but with all the other improvements the Yankees have made, it could be perfectly fine. Remember, this is a team that turned scrap heap pickups like Scott Brosius into heroes. Let’s re-visit this in, say, 2020 when Cano is 37 and see how well he did in Seattle and how well the Yankees did without him.

Me: What are your day-to-day responsibilities like (during baseball season)? How are they different during the offseason? 
Lou: My official title is content editor, and there is no such thing as a “typical” day in my world, so I always answer this question with this statement: My day-to-day responsibility is to react to my surroundings and create, gather, or facilitate content for our website in any way I need to.
Some days, I’m at the Stadium or Barclays Center, where my main function is the same as any other beat writer but I may be called upon to help our video team shoot something, or do some research for our production crew, or anything else the team needs. Some days I’m in the office, where I could be writing, or cropping photos, or collating four sets of picks for the This Week in Football yearly pick ‘em contest, or recording podcasts/helping create video content with Doug Williams. And some days I’m on location doing various things. Such is life.
During the Yankees offseason the chaos dies down a little bit as we switch our focus to the Nets or the NFL or other topics, but as this winter has already proven, there’s still plenty of Yankees-related activity to worry about! 

Me: How did you get to where you are today? 
Lou: A lot of hard work, a good bit of talent, and a little luck! My boss at YESNetwork.com was my boss at a previous job, and even though I wasn’t the easiest person to work with at times, he knew my capabilities and asked me to come to YES when an opportunity arose. There’s a good piece of life advice in there too: even if you hate where you are, always try to make a good impression with your work and never bite the hand that feeds, because you never know who is watching.

Me: We now live in a social media world. How important is it to you to interact with fans/readers? 
Lou: Very! I always try to answer commenters on my articles or Twitter followers when and where I can. Obviously I won’t react to people who bash my work and there are some subjects I can’t or won’t discuss, but on the whole, I’m never averse to a good back and forth discussion or unwilling to answer questions/give opinions/etc. And, to me, it’s a trip that complete strangers actually care about what I say; I prefer to keep my private life private so I won’t ever necessarily open up my Facebook to people or anything (I might make exceptions), but if I put something out there in my “public” persona, it’s fair game. 
Really, I think that in today’s world, that’s an important part of building trust with the fanbase. You’re not always going to be the one to break news, but if you build a rapport with your audience, it will be easier to keep eyes on your work no matter what. 

Me: Do you think the Yankees have a legitimate shot, even as early as it is in the offseason, at the World Series in 2014? 
Lou: Of course. They still have some holes, but they’ve made a lot of big improvements offensively, and have guys in the system who may not be sexy but are capable of being back-end rotation starters.

Me: I do not know if you read the blog much but Daniel Burch has made it his life's mission, and the blogs mission, to forgive all steroid users. What are your thoughts on steroid users, their chances for the Hall of Fame, and Alex Rodriguez specifically? 
Lou: I know nothing more about any specific players, and won’t comment on A-Rod until/unless everything is known and his fate is decided. I think what MLB is doing with the joint drug agreement is good and a necessary step for the health of the game.

Me: Is Andy Pettitte a starting pitcher? 
Lou: Yes! And a darn good one, too!

Me: Who is your favorite Yankee fan? (There is only one right answer)
...I may have been fishing for compliments at this point  
Lou: There’s this girl who follows me on Twitter that’s a very passionate fan, and she’s pretty cute, too, so I’d have to say her. Or Billy Crystal.

Me: Can I Pettitte? 
Lou: If you ask nicely, maybe!

Follow him on twitter @LouDiPietroYES and maybe if you're nice (and lucky), he'll answer your questions too. 

Yankees Stadium Legacy: #92 Hideki Matsui (Again)

Hideki Matsui was considered a rookie in 2003 and he led all Major League players with 163 games played. Matsui actually played in 518 consecutive games to begin his Major League career which was a MLB record. Matsui's strong and clutch bat drove in over 100 runs in each of his first three seasons putting his name on the map for the New York Yankees.

92 games until Opening Day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/30

On this day in 2002 Roger Clemens signed a one year deal worth $10.1 million with the Yankees at age 40. Clemens was coming off of a 13-6 season with a 4.35 ERA and states that this would probably be his last season. The six time Cy Young Award winner was only seven wins shy of 300 victories for his career.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yankees Stadium Legacy: #93 Hideki Matsui

Hideki Matsui was immediately inserted into the heart of the New York Yankees lineup upon his arrival from Japan in 2003 and was one of the best Yankees offensive weapons right away and ever since. In 2007 Matsui swatted 25 home runs, scored 100 runs, and knocked in 100 RBI's in a single season for the third time. His second career two home run game cam at Yankees Stadium on 7/31/07 and propelled the Yankees to a 16-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

93 days until Opening Day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/29

On this day in 1933 Babe Ruth lost an opportunity to manage the Cincinnati Reds after being denied a release from the Yankees by Jacob Ruppert. Ruth was 38 years old at the time and was coming off a .301 season with 34 HR's and 103 RBI's in the 1933 season.

On this day in 1977 Melissa Ludtke filed a lawsuit against major league baseball, the New York Yankees, and New York city officials after the Sports Illustrated sports writer was denied access to interview players in the locker room during the World Series. Wonder if Reggie didn't want her to see the straw that stirred the drink.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yankees Miss Another Free Agent To Kansas City

The New York Yankees have missed out on yet another free agent to the Kansas City Royals and this time it was outfielder Melky Mesa. Mesa has spent his entire career with the Yankees and was released last September. Now Mesa will try and latch on with the Royals after signing a one year minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

MLB To Prevent Tanaka From Donating To Rakuten

There were many meetings held before the Rakuten Golden Eagles finally decided to post their star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka including talks of a new deal with the 25 year old right hander. News has been slowly circulating that Tanaka planned on donating money to Rakuten to help put a dome on the stadium over there and MLB is not going to allow that.

Major League Baseball wants to make sure that Rakuten will get no more than the $20 million posting fee that all parties agreed upon, and good for them for standing up to Rakuten and holding up the policies in place. There are rules already in place stating that the former team cannot receive any money from the player or any money besides the posting fee.

Yankees Stadium Legacy: #94 Jorge Posada (Again)

The glue of the New York Yankees pitching staff was Jorge Posada during his career in pinstripes and kept the pitching staff firing on all cylinders at all times. Posada was considered to be an excellent game caller and a great hitter for a catcher. The Puerto Rican born Posada had seven 20 home run campaigns and had a career high average of .338 in 2007.

94 days until Opening Day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/28

On this day in 2001 outgoing Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that both the New York Yankees and Mets have reached a tentative deal with New York City to build a pair of retractable roof $800 million stadiums. Mayor elect Michael Bloomberg will ultimately have the final say in what would be the biggest private-public venture in baseball history.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Yankees Have Contacted Tanaka's Agent Casey Close

The Yankees are wasting no time with getting in touch with Masahiro Tanaka and his agent Casey Close as they have already had preliminary discussions with the agent. Yesterday was the first day that teams were allowed to negotiate with Tanaka  after being willing to pony up $20 million if they sign the player. The Yankees have until January, 24 to get him signed and officially on the 40 man roster so it's a great sign that we are not wasting any time.

Yankees Must Sign Tanaka To Have A Good Offseason

The title of this thread is pretty self explanatory, in order for the New York Yankees to have a successful offseason they absolutely must sign Masahiro Tanaka, must. Even after the Yankees got older and signed Carlos Beltran, got faster and signed Jacoby Ellsbury, and beefed up behind the dish with the Brian McCann signing. The Yankees lost a ton this offseason and have replaced it with big names and big contracts only to have to settle on the Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton types to fill the voids. Our solution to losing three of our five starting pitchers was to bring back the oldest starting pitcher in the league who is coming off of two straight seasons of breaking down at the end of the season. We must go all in for Tanaka or the offseason will be for nothing as I cannot see us as more than an 85 win team right now.

Tanaka makes the team younger, better, and most importantly all but blows up the Hal Cap of $189 million. The Yankees have said that they will stay under the luxury tax threshold or go way over it, no in between, and there is no way the Yankees stay under while signing Tanaka, even if Alex Rodriguez is suspended for 211 games. This would open the door for the Yankees to sign other free agents like Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, or Matt Garza not that we are necessarily interested in any of them.

The Yankees toughest competition for Tanaka's services are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the New York Mets. That's a ton of teams so this is going to be a tough sign but hopefully the Yankees brand reigns supreme here because if we want to have a good offseason we have to have Tanaka.

Pinch Hitting Guest Blogger: Old Ranger

"Chris" a True Fish Story

I was fishing one day when a young man joined me. we started talking about baseball and he said he was taking a few weeks off from baseball.

It seamed he was a pitcher for a minor league team and was not getting the job done.
I began by asking him what he threw and the speed of each.

He said a 90-93+/- FB, very good change, curve (working on) a power slider that is workable and a so so cutter.
I asked him how he threw, short or long arm, side, over the top, 3/4 what?

He started by saying, what do you mean short or long arm? I asked him to show me, he did, he was another Ewell Blackwell type (long arm). I told him there were a bunch of kids (17-21) playing at the park (very good park), the fish don't like us, let's go.

He was a bit impressed when I told him I had a big time fast ball at about 82-86, he laughed and said most people say they had a 92-95 fastball, let's go.

Well, to (try) and make this short I asked him (with the blessing of the kids) to just pick up the ball and throw to 1st a few times, well it showed me his natural motion is short arm. I asked him to throw all his pitches.

His fast ball had good pop and jump, his change could be a big time pitch (had great feel for it) but, I asked him to throw his cutter after 3 changes and change again. I asked him how many times he was beat by throwing a cutter after a change or a change after cutter. Then do the same with a curve and cutter and a slider and a curve.

Then I asked him to just mix-up the FB, curve, and change. It seemed as though a light went off in his head. After explaining what Eddie Lopat told me about using short and long arm with the same pitches gave one six pitches not three (and worked for me somewhat) junk the cutter and slider. Unless they are dependable pitches...they go a long way when hit.

The following spring he showed up while I was fishing, we talked an had a good day with our catches. As we were leaving he said he had done very well in the winter league and would be moved up a step.

His pitching coach liked his idea of dropping his cutter and slider and try short arm but, the coach told him to stay with his motion (as had I) he said he is getting a bit more bite on his pitches and was thinking about adding his cuter to the mix come ST. I suggested he forget about the slider and concentrate on making his pitches great.

His name was Chris ???????. I moved to another state, later that year. Never have seen him again. I hope it worked out for him.

The Poor Young'ins, You Never Saw Some Of The Best!?

Bob Gibson
Some of the young-uns think, cutting the pie is an after game treat! Just kidding!
I some times pity the younger generation, They missed out on seeing some of the greatest players of all time in their best years.
How many of them would be shocked to see Bob Gibson just throw bee-bees and not let anyone crowd the plate…Jeter, Posada and some of those guys that are diving over the plate would get a high hard one stuck in their ear. Or the tandem of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax along with Osteen and Podres (4man rotation). Sal “The Barber” Maggly(SP). These guys would go 9 or more innings almost every game.
Remember the “Cleveland Jet” Herb Score, Bob Feller, Bob Turly or Ryne Duren…now those four guys could bring hot hot hot heat and I don’t care who you are, you would never dig in against Turly or the others…at least, not twice.
There were many other old timers pitchers and Pos. Players that some never saw, in real life.
This is why I always say, “Stats are a very good tool but, not a bible,” a very well trained eye lets the stats show him a problem but, it depends on the person putting them together to be good at his job also. Also, stats don't tell you if a problem can be corrected and how to do it.

Sandy Koufax

Take the stats of Jeter compared to Rizzuto, the stats say Jeter was heads above Phil but, how can Ruzzuto (a very good SS in his time), from 60 years ago be compared to Jeter and his stats of today. If one had never seen Phil or Jeter play, one would say Phil couldn't carry Jeters Jock...and they would be right. Having seen both of them play, Jeter was the better of the two but not by as much as the stats show.
Can anyone of you see A-Rod, Tex or Cano swinging a club like they use to just 25 years ago...38 to 40+ ounce bats were used by many players back then, have any of you seen the gloves of 30+ years ago?
According to the stats, Hammering Hank was a better player then "The Babe" in HRs' but, do any of you really believe he was? No, not a bit but, the stats say other wise. So don't make a judgement on who is the better player on stats alone think about it a bit. Would Jeter have hit as well back in the 50s' or 60' as now... No f--king way. He would dive across the plate with that 36 oz., of wood and end up in the hospital. Remember, they didn't have helmets back then and most of the good pitchers would throw at your head in a heart beat. Also, I started with a 36
bottle bat, hands separated and choked way up, from both sides of the plate.

(Jeter and Phil were used because everyone knows of them both.)

Yankees Stadium Legacy: #95 Jorge Posada

Jorge Posada was one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball. Posada has earned five American League Silver Sluggers and was a five time All Star during his time in pinstripes. In 2003 Jorge finished in third place for the Most Valuable Player award and finished sixth place in 2007 in the MVP award. Since the year 2000 Jorge led all MLB catchers that decade in home runs and RBI's.

95 days until Opening Day.

Pinch Hitting Guest Blogger: Ken Reed


I wonder how great Mickey would've been if he hadn't been injured so seriously and so much. The knee injury from the 51 Series was just the first. I saw a picture of Mickey on crutches detailing the injuries he suffered in his career! He had to tape himself from shoulders to knees before every game. He never complained - he just became bigger then life to some of the Yankee Fans. "We all knew, if the game was on the line and Mickey was coming up, we still had a very good chance of winning it"...said Bobby Mercer.
I think The Babe, Mantle, and Mays are top 3 (OF) of all time (not counting "Shoeless Joe"). But I honestly believe Mickey is the greatest ballplayer I ever saw. He did so much during his career while he was hurt. Without the injuries, there would have been no limit to the records he would have set maybe even brake Babe Ruth's career HR records and many other records along the way.

Joe D was famous for making every catch look graceful and easy. I've seen him play and as many, read books about Joe D, he was not a very nice guy! First words to a rookie were "Don't mess with my WS money"! Us kids from Hells Kitchen (Kitchen Trash) were never given a smile, wave or word from him. His words after  his 56 game hitting gig were (something like) "Hell I could have got more money from Hinze (57) with that last hit".

DiMaggio hot dogged it (some say, not me) going after the ball seeing Mantle coming on and only at the last moment yelled I got it. To be fair, Joe never dove or jumped for a ball, he was that good reading the ball, a talent very very few OF have...even the better ones! In this case his very late call, caused Mantle to try and stop, snag his foot on a sprinkler, the rest is history! Without DiMaggio's (so called) grandstanding, Mantle might have been the best of the best. In my mind, I saw one of the best outfielders of all time.

Some have read stories told by him, and others, about his partying, drinking etc. Without knowing Mickey or the way he talked, one may have gotten the wrong impression of him as a player...the played hard and lived harder...his drinking never got in the way of his playing the game.

One day after a double hitter, Casey told him he wouldn't play the next day, so, being Mickey he made a night of it at the Clubs. The next day he was more sleeping than awake in the dug-out when late in a tie game Casey told him he was going to Pinch Hit. Well, the thing is; he had only wrapped part of his legs, not all of them. he stepped up and untied the game with a HR...he could hardly trot around the bases so as he crossed home plate he said something like, "They will never know how hard that was!" after the game someone asked him, how hard was it to hit it out after sitting all game? Mickey looked at the guy and said, "I saw three and hit the middle one!" He was being self deprecating with a joke.

There will never be another Mickey Mantle but, the best of all, is A-Rod! Drugs and Drinking oh, what they could have been!