Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thank You Mariano Rivera #ExitSandman

Pettitte's career at Yankee Stadium ends with 2-1 loss to Giants

Andy Pettitte, despite giving up just 2 earned runs in 7 innings of work, ended the home part of his MLB career today with a tough-to-swallow 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Usually, winning 2/3 in a series is productive, but not in this case. Because today, the Rays beat the Orioles for the third conservative game, meaning that they're lead over the Yankees in the wild card standings has now grown to 4 games. 

Let's be honest with ourselves, the Yankees are not gonna comeback and make the playoffs. It's technically still possible, but it just won't happen. But hey, I'm still gonna enjoy these last two series. I love this team, and them not making the playoffs for one year definitely won't change that. 

New York Yankees Mariano Rivera Meme Part 2

Mariano Rivera Signature For Mariano Rivera Day

On my days posting on sports forum I quickly learned that you get known and recognized more for your signature and less for your posts or knowledge of the game. Maybe that can explain why the forum game is dying more and more for the blogs and for twitter but what do I know. Anyway here is one of my many Mariano Rivera signatures that i found appropriate to share on Mariano Rivera day.

Feel free to use this all that I ask is please link back to the blog, thank you.

Remember When Mariano Rivera Was A Starter?

Mariano Rivera did not have many good things to talk about as a starter for the Yankees in 1995 but this game against the White Sox was one of those. Mariano struck out 11 Chi Sox and pitched a two hit gem that is worth looking back at. I just want to say that this pains me to post a little because I am really starting to feel my age because I can remember watching this game with my Uncle David. Anyways, Enjoy!

Mariano Rivera Yankees Meme

Here is a meme that pretty much sums up Mariano Rivera on Mariano Rivera Day on the blog and at the stadium.

Yankees Will Shake Up Rotation Next Week

The New York Yankees have announced that they will use the off day on Monday to skip the David Huff and Phil Hughes combination and instead start Hiroki Kuroda on regular rest. That means we will see CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova joining Kuroda in the final home series against the Rays in three games that we absolutely have to have. Finally a good decision by Joe Girardi that I can get behind.

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Mariano Rivera Day Game Thread: Giants @ Yankees 9/22

The New York Yankees look to beat up on the San Francisco Giants for the final time this season at Yankees Stadium as the Yankees present Mariano Rivera Day. The pitching match up could not have been drawn up any better as Andy Pettitte will be on the mound for the Yankees to face off with Yusmeiro Petit for the Giants. Friday morning we learned that Andy Pettitte will join Mariano Rivera on the retirement boat after the 2013 season so it is fitting that one member of the Cour Four is starting on Mariano Rivera Day. The only way this day could go any better, well besides both players saying they were just kidding and that they will be back in 2014, is for Mariano to save just one more game for Andy Pettitte and the Yankees win.

Here is your Mariano Rivera Day lineup
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Brendan Ryan SS
Chris Stewart C

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes. With only three home games left for the Yankees it is imperative that if you want to see your hometown Yankees live you need to buy your Yankees tickets now.

Imagining The Worst Case Scenario For 2014: Part 3

Let's face it every single team is not as good in July as they thought they would be in March or April which is what makes the trading deadline so much fun for the fans. There are always those teams that are contending, pretending, buying, and selling and the Yankees always seem to be doing the latter no matter what.This is just a starting point as there are always the guys traded with more than a year left on his contract a la Alfonso Soriano from 2013, salary dumps a la Vernon Wells in 2013, and the Miami Marlins may finally trade Giancarlo Stanton but I decided to look specifically at players entering free agency after the 2014 season.

The starting pitchers market could be barren with the best free agents in Max Scherzer, Jake Peavy, Justin Masterson, Clayton Kershaw, and Josh Beckett all pitching for teams that figure to contend in 2014. The best of the rest include a 29 year old Homer Bailey and a slew of middle of the rotation starters so the Yankees may once again have to rely on their farm system to restock and retool the big league club whether in a trade or with them stepping right in. Enter the Adam Warren's, David Phelp's, Vidal Nuno's, Brett Marshall's, etc of the world as they need to finally step up and take the next step in their development. Of course a lot could change from now until next July but right now I feel if the Yankees starters are struggling again, especially CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda (if my previous posts prediction comes true) we may have to just ride the wave and hope for the best.

If the Yankees bullpen struggles to transition post Mariano Rivera like many are expecting, especially outside the Yankees circle, we may be in the running for a trade or two to shore up the pen. Heath Bell has struggled outside of Yellowstone Petco Park in San Diego and as a closer since leaving the Padres but what about as a 7th inning type? Would the Yankees be willing to have a David Aardsma reunion? Honestly the Yankees one bright spot of their farm system since Joe Girardi has been at the helm has been building the bullpen from within and I see that being the case again next season if needed. Brett Marshall, Chase Whitley, Nik Turley, Tommy Kahnle, and Shane Greene could lead the charge of the latest Yankees farm system arms to come and tear up the major leagues and in Joe Girardi's build on the fly bullpen.

Surely between Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, JR Murphy, and Brian McCann the Yankees will be set, productive, and happy with their battery mates behind the dish so we will not look to upgrade in that position. Between Kelly Johnson, Michael Young, and the man formerly known as Eduardo Nunez the Yankees can piece together a second basemen worthy of being a major leaguer. The Yankees, as we remember, will be sacrificing offense for defense at short stop and unless Brendan Ryan is injured we will be fine at short stop with the best defending short stop in all of baseball. The outfield is pretty set with the likes of Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki, and Zoilo Almonte.  I fear that an aging and declining Michael Young may be something of a worry for Yankees fans even splitting some time with Mark Reynolds though so we may be looking for an upgrade there with a big free agency target presumably sitting out on the pond for us to make a run at.

If Michael Young and Mark Reynolds finally start to decline to the point where they stop being useful or go back to their old ways the Yankees may have to open the purse strings and farm system a little bit for a corner infielder. There is one player in San Diego that the Yankees have been looking at for a few years now named Chase Headley that is set to be a free agent after the 2014 season so could the Yankees FINALLY get their man? I think so as I cannot see the Padres signing Headley long term and I really cannot see why a power hitter would want to stay in San Diego let alone with a perennial losing team. Pencil in Headley as the Yankees third basemen from August 1st 2014 to the end of the season.

If Ichiro is struggling, much like he has this season, I could see the Yankees making a run at Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer. The Yankees would be lacking some right handed pop in that outfield outside of Alfonso Soriano so a Cuddyer acquisition would really balance both the lineup and the outfield. This is obviously depending on the Rockies being out of contention once again in July of 2014 but at this point I cannot see many signs of them making huge strides next season.

Throw in Chase Headley and Michael Cuddyer into the Yankees lineup next season and we have a lineup that looks a whole lot like this for the stretch run of 2014 and it looks like a damn winner to me if I do not say so myself.

1. Gardner
2. Headley
3. Granderson
4. Soriano
5. McCann
6. Teixeira
7. Cuddyer
8. Johnson
9. Ryan

BN: Cervelli/Romine
BN: Reynolds/Young
BN: Nunez
BN: Ichiro/Almonte

Meet A Prospect: Mariano Rivera

Meet A Prospect : Mariano Rivera Edition

Mariano Rivera, maybe you have heard of him? The greatest closer of all time, the all time saves leader, the all time this the all time that.The guy that has made a living throwing one pitch at one speed for what seems like forever. Really all you have to say is... Mariano Rivera. Enjoy us meeting the Yankees prospect Mariano Rivera all over again. Although I cannot help but laugh at this Bowman rookie card, maybe he is a mortal after all? Anyway... enjoy!

Mariano was signed by the Yankees in 1990 as an amateur free agent out of Panama. He did not break into the majors until 1995, barely losing his rookie status pitching 67 IP (you lose rookie status after pitching 50 IP in one season). Mariano started our as a starting pitcher and he struggled mightily at it. Later in the 1995 season he was converted to a reliever. In 1996 he became John Wetteland's set up man on the Yankees World Series team, thus allowing them to let Wetteland walk via free agency and make Mariano their closer for good in 1997. 

Mariano Rivera was born November 29th of 1969 in Panama City, Panama. Growing up in Panama in a fishing community he was always considered to be poor. When they played baseball Mariano would substitute milk cartons for gloves and tree branches for bats, among other things. They also wrapped their baseballs with electrical tape and shredded fishing net to keep the ball in play for longer and for decorations. Mariano said he used make shift equipment until he was 12 years old when his father bought him his first baseball glove. 

Mariano Rivera thought of baseball as a hobby and did not even play baseball at all in high school. Instead he thought of himself as a potential soccer player but an ankle injury stopped that early in his high school career. He graduated high school at age 16 and worked on a shrimp and fishing boat with his father until he was 19 years old after he had to escape a sinking ship. 

In 1988 Rivera started to play for a local baseball amateur team as a short stop and caught the attention of Yankees scouts, who did not see him as a potential long term short stop. The next year, 1989, his team was so horrible he volunteered to try out pitching to fill innings. He excelled at the position and two weeks later he was at a try out for the Yankees in Panama City with Yankees scout Chico Heron. While at this try out Rivera, with no pitching experience or training, was only throwing 85-87 mph but showed nice mechanics and a smooth delivery to go with his athleticism. Rivera obviously did enough to impress Yankees scouts as the Yankees offered him a $3,000 signing bonus to sign a free agent contract with us in 1990. 

Being considered nothing more then a "fringe " prospect in 1990 he came to the Gulf Coast League (GCL) and, while speaking no english and being away from his home for the first time in his life, allowed 1 run in 52 IP and a 0.17 ERA in his professional debut season. That is not a typo... 0.17 ERA in 52 IP with no formal pitching experience or training. He also threw a seven inning no hitter on the final day of that season to put himself on the radar in the Yankees system. 

In 1992, as a starter for AA, Mariano Rivera was working on a slider and tore his ulnar collateral ligament which usually requires Tommy John Surgery. The doctor that was lined up to do his surgery told him that his ligament did not need repaired and the surgery was not necessary. His rehab on this was at the same time the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins were allowed to draft players for their own expansion teams. While Mariano Rivera was left unprotected by the Yankees neither team took a chance on him while he was rehabbing. If you need more proof that there is a God, please keep reading lol. When he came back in 1993 he eventually went back to A ball as a starter and caught the eye of official scorer Ogi Overman who was not impressed. He was quoted as saying "(he) was on a one way trip out to nowhere."

In 1995 Baseball America named Mariano the Yankees 9th best prospect in the system, even after struggling in AAA Columbus with an era north of 5. He eventually got his call up to the majors in May of 1995 replacing an injured Jimmy Key in the starting rotation for the Yankees staff. In that season he was almost traded to the Detroit Tigers for David Wells but then Yankees GM Gene Michaels called off the trade when he saw Mariano's velocity jump 6 mph to 95-96 mph in one start. Rivera has always thanked and praised God as the only explanation for his drastic improvement. After pitching 5.1 IP of scoreless baseball in the ALDS against the Seattle Mariners Mariano was moved to the Yankees bullpen for good. The rest is history...

 Mariano Rivera, Super Mariano, Sandman, God, whatever you want to call him as long as you respect him. Mariano Rivera is far and away the greatest closer of all time and some might say the greatest Yankee of all time, which gives me chill bumps just thinking about. Mariano Rivera had 5 World Series rings, 12 all star teams, received MVP votes in 9 different seasons, 6 seasons he received votes in the CY Young award, 5 Rolaids Relief Awards, an ALCS MVP award in 2003, a World Series MVP in 1999, and a Babe Ruth award. Entering the 2012 season he has the most saves of all time, 603, and a flurry of other stats that he sits at the top of that if I had the rest of the year to type out I would. That is not even mentioning his stellar, and unbelievable at times,  post season stats including 42 post season saves. Mariano Rivera is the best, what else can you say? First ballot hall of famer after he finally decides to hang up his cutter. 

Mariano Rivera also is a charitable man working with many Christian community groups through the Mariano Rivera Foundation. I , as always, recommend checking them out! 

Metallica's Stage Set Up At Monument Park

Courtesy of our friend on Twitter  who is attending Mariano Rivera Day at Yankees Stadium today. That is Metallica's stage set up in Monument Park. #EnterSandman

San Francisco Giants @ New York Yankees 9/22

The New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants finish off their three game set today at Yankees Stadium as the New York Yankees present Mariano Rivera Day. This is going to be a bitter sweet day as we say goodbye to not only Mo but also to today's starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. Both Andy and Mariano will retire at the end of the season leaving the Cour Four up to Yankees short stop Derek Jeter to carry on. The Giants will send the undefeated and almost perfect game throwing Yusmeiro Petit to the mound to try and spoil Mariano Rivera's and Andy Pettitte's goodbye. The game can be seen at 1:05 pm ET on the YES Network and on TBS. You are running out of home games to buy Yankees tickets so buy yours now before the season is over.

New York Yankees Wild Card Update

Baseball Cards: Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera bobble head giveaway night is tonight at Yankees Stadium as we take on the Tampa Bay Rays so I wanted to take this opportunity to show some Mariano Rivera cards out of my personal baseball card collection. This day, both on the blog and on the field, is about Mariano Rivera and it damn well should be. Thank you Mariano for a great career and for everything you have ever done both on and off the field. You are a class act and we love you Mo!

Mariano Rivera's Career Highlights

It is hard to believe that someone was able to fit all of Mariano Rivera's career highlights in a five minute video but here it is. Today is Mariano Rivera Day at Yankees Stadium and here on the blog as well so expect more to come from the Sandman today as we get ready to #ExitSandman. 

You Say Goodbye [To Mo], And I Say Hello

I figured as The Greedy Pinstripes begins a new "era" merged with Yankees Fans Unite, I thought talking about the end of an era in Yankees history would be a fitting way to debut on the site.

So, I'm Brian Danuff, a 15-year old Yankees fan who has been blogging about them since I was nine. Yes, nine. I'm not sure where my passion for the team came from; my uncle, who's a die-hard fan, I rarely see, and my parents are more on the "casual" side of the fanbase. But nevertheless, since around 2006 I've tuned in each and every day to watch the Yankees play ball.

If you didn't do the math already (I don't blame you, I hate math), I was only a baby when the Dynasty took place in the late-1990s. This infuriates me very much, but God did make up for it by allowing me to see the Yankees win the 2009 World Series live.

Anyway, those late-90s teams were probably some of the best clubs ever assembled in Yankees history. They had everything - depth, heart, character, passion, experience, and most of all, youth, which was very uncommon for George Steinbrenner's Yankees. He loved him some mid-30 year-olds who he knew could get the job done,but upper management convinced the Boss to give the "kids" a shot.

Those kids' names were Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera.

It's almost like beating a dead horse, but it's too amazing to not bring up how these four youngsters came up and immediately made an impact. They all were integral parts of each championship team, aside from Jorge in '96 who of course didn't play his first full season until 1998.

Still, as young as they were they carried themselves as if they were seasoned veterans. In front of a packed house at Yankee Stadium in the middle of October, they stayed even-keeled and almost never cracked under pressure.

With four rings in their possession, these "core" Yankees went into the 21st century with new contracts and new roles - that of leaders. Derek Jeter was named the 11th official captain of the team in June of 2003, and Mo, Andy, and Jorge all became role models for incoming Bombers. They knew what it took to win, and handled the New York spotlight with class, something that is very difficult to do for even the most calm and collected player.

Amidst an offseason of turmoil, Andy Pettitte slipped through the cracks and signed with the Houston Astros in 2004. Still, GM Brian Cashman tried his hardest to surround the remaining three with talent capable of winning even more championships, but from 2002-2008 the team reached the World Series only once, in 2003, losing to the Florida Marlins in six games.

Andy did re-join the Yankees in 2007, so the band got back together in a sense, making a return to the top seem imminent. After spending over $400 million on free agent talent, the Yankees had a World Series-caliber team in 2009. And wouldn't you know it, led by an MVP-caliber season from Derek Jeter, a 14-win campaign from Andy Pettitte, 22 home runs from Jorge Posada, and 44 saves from Mariano Rivera, the Yankees reached the Fall Classic again, 14 years after the old guard's first World Series in 1996.

And like in '96, it took six games for the Yankees to win it. With Mo on the mound, Jorge behind the plate, Jeter at short, and Andy looking on after a gritty performance, the Phillies' Shane Victorino grounded out to second and as Joe Buck said, "The Yankees are back on top! World Champions for a 27th time!"

But for the Core Four, it was the fifth time they hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy. It had been nine years since their last championship, and yet it felt like a continuation of a Dynasty that realistically had ended. Now grizzled vets, they were all still at the top of their game, and that's just how it was way back when they were fresh-faced rookies.

Unfortunately, the Yankees reverted back to their mid-2000s stage, being good, but not good enough. On top of that was the retirement of Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada within the same calendar year. That left just Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, but they kept steam-rolling along as Jeet collected his 3,000th hit and Mo his 602nd save in 2011.

Years ago they made the jump from good, to great players, but #2 and #42 were now immortal, legendary figures in baseball history. Realizing this, and the fact that a chance for a 28th championship was there lured Andy Pettitte out of retirement for the 2012 season.

However, all three of them suffered tremendous blows to their careers. Mariano tore his ACL shagging a fly ball in Kansas City, ending his season in May. Andy made only a handful of starts before being hit in the leg by a line-drive which sidelined him for three months. And, finally, the Captain broke his ankle fielding a ground ball in the ALCS.

There was no longer a need to question their baseball mortality.

Now, it is September 22nd, 2013, and two of the remaining three Core Fourers are hanging up their spikes. This afternoon marks the final time Andy Pettitte will toe the rubber at the new Yankee Stadium, and also one of the final days Mariano sits in the bullpen awaiting "Enter Sandman" to blare from the Stadium's speakers. Derek Jeter will watch it all unfold from the bench, still tending to his ankle that was broken in October and re-broken in April.

It will be very emotional, and incredibly interesting to see how the Yankees will honor Mo and Andy. These two pitchers have stood the test of time, and probably could give it another go in 2014 if they so pleased. But, as my late grandpa perfectly said, "all good things must come to an end", and today is the end of a glorious era in Yankee history.

Derek Jeter will in all likelihood play next season, but his "brothers" will be gone. His ability to throw it back to the 90s with his teammates is gone. And the memories of fans showing up each year to cheer number 46 on, and then erupt when number 42 jogs in from the bullpen, become just that - memories.

Overall, will this be a sad day? Of course. But this should also be a day to reflect and think back to all the great moments that I witnessed while soiling myself in a playpen. It just goes to show how long these guys have been here, and how much longer their pinstriped legacy will live on through all current and future Yankees fans.

Long-live Andy Pettitte, and long-live the greatest closer of all time, number 42, Mariano Rivera. Number 42.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/22

On this day in 1966 the Yankees probably had the lowest attendance for a game in their history with only 413 paid fans attending the game. Broadcaster Red Barber was fired shortly after the game after requesting a camera to show everyone just how few people showed up.

On this day in 1969 Willie Mays joined Babe Ruth as the only two players to ever join the 600 home run club. Mays would go on to hit 60 more in his storied career.

On this day in 2003 Yankees lead off hitter Alfonso Soriano hit a lead off home run for the 13th time of the season establishing a new major league record. Soriano passed Brady Anderson and his 12 lead off home runs for the Baltimore Orioles in 1996.

Enter Sandman: Welcome To Mariano Rivera Day

Today is Mariano Rivera day both at Yankees Stadium tonight and all day long on the blog here. Thank you Mariano for 19 amazing seasons and may you have as much success off the field as you have had on the field during your storied career.