Saturday, September 19, 2015

Players Tribune: From Where I See It Inside Yankee Stadium

The Players Tribune has been one of the best things to hit the internet and the blogging world this year in my opinion and it's slowly worked its way into my daily click folder. I initially expected more Derek Jeter sightings and more baseball talk but while I haven't gotten that I've enjoyed getting to know the writers through their "Letter to my Younger Self" posts and such. Jeter accomplished exactly what I think he wanted to accomplish, he wanted to give the players a direct avenue to their fans without having to be politically correct and without having to hold back and he's done that. Now The Player's Tribune is taking the next step now as the avenue begins their "From Where I See It" series that let's not only the players have their say but the hardworking ladies and gentleman that work at and frequent the stadium as well.

The first installment in this series is naturally Yankee Stadium giving everyone from one of the member of the grounds crew to the media dining cook all the way down to a few longtime Bronx residents their voice. CLICK HERE to see the entire post and support that wonderful site over there and see below for a short sample and blurb from the original article. Enjoy.

Luis Martinez | Yankee Stadium Grounds Crew, 25 years 
“I was 19 when I started here. I was a cook for 10 years for the clubhouse and at the Pinstripe Pub in the old stadium. In August of 2000, I moved over to the grounds crew. So I’ve been on the grounds crew for 15 years.”

Ron Forbes | Media Dining Cook, 7 years
“I worked at Verizon for many, many years, but food was always my passion. I’m always cooking at home. I retired at 49 and then went to culinary school. Now I have my dream job. I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1970! It never feels like I’m at work.”

Teddy | Longtime Bronx Resident
“I’ve been a Yankee fan since 1974. I was a Mets fan before that, but I moved from Manhattan to the Bronx. My apartment is located right at Gate 2, so I can walk right to the stadium. I went to one game and it started raining like crazy. I mean it seemed like every cloud in New York had burst. Everyone was scrambling around getting wet and trying to catch a cab. And I just took my time walked right across the street and I was home.”

Recap: Yankees 5, Mets 0

Carlos Beltran hit a long three-run home run in the first and the Yankees easily beat the Mets, 5-0, on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

No Doubt About it: Beltran drilled an inside fastball from Noah Syndergaard into the upper-deck in right, quickly giving the Yankees all the offense they would need on the day. The blast followed back-to-back singles from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to lead-off the frame, though the visitors wouldn't have another baserunner on until the fifth.

Showing Up Big: Michael Pineda had no problem securing the victory after Beltran's homer, shutting out the Mets for 5 1/3 innings while yielding four hits and walking one. Pineda was removed prematurely when the Mets threatened in the sixth, but nonetheless performed well enough for his 11th win of 2015.

Good to See: Chase Headley helped Pineda escape trouble with a diving stop in the second, robbing Wilmer Flores of a possible RBI double. Moreover, Headley's across-the-diamond throw to Greg Bird was perfect -- a welcome sign considering the third baseman's subpar defense this season.

Nice Houdini Act: Justin Wilson walked Daniel Murphy upon entering in the sixth -- loading the bases with just one out -- but rebounded to strikeout David Wright and Juan Uribe. Wilson -- whose WHIP since the All-Star Break has been a shaky 1.28 -- also fanned Flores and Juan Lagares to begin the seventh, part of a seven-consecutive-strikeout streak by him, Caleb Cotham and Dellin Betances.

Adding On: Brian McCann put the game away with an insurance two-run shot in the sixth, a high fly ball to the Mets' bullpen in right-center. It was McCann's 26th four-bagger of the year, his original career-best being 24 in 2011.

Next Up: The Yankees will look to take the series in the evening finale on Sunday, sending CC Sabathia (4-9, 4.93 ERA) to the mound versus right-hander Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.88 ERA). First pitch is set for 8:08 p.m. ET, airing live on ESPN.

The Five Men Fighting For Mark Teixeira's 40 Man Roster Spot

The New York Yankees entered this weekend with 39 healthy players from their 40 man roster currently in the Major Leagues battling for the American League East Division race and/or the first American League Wild Card. That one player who is on the 40 man roster but not with the team is Mark Teixeira who will miss the remainder of the 2015 season with a fracture in his shin/leg leaving the Yankees with a potential decision to make. The Yankees, who are not against calling up a player late into September due to an injury, could replicate what they did last year with Jose Pirela and call up a 40th player for the stretch run. Who could that player be?

The Yankees watched as Slade Heathcott hit a game-winning home run the other night against the Tampa Bay Rays and based off the celebration in the dugout, on Twitter and on Facebook a ton of people couldn't have been happier for Slade. One of those players was his former teammate Ben Gamel. Gamel won the Minor League Player of the Year Award in 2015 and is Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season meaning New York will have to add him to the 40 man roster anyway to protect him. Why not just take care of the paperwork now and maybe let him steal a base or get an at bat in garbage time this season?

The same Rule 5 Draft protection is needed for Johnny Barbato who was brought over from the San Diego Padres in the Shawn Kelley trade. Barbato avoided the initial Tommy John surgery diagnosis that he came with when the deal was made and pitched to a 0.36 ERA in Triple-A this season. His Double-A numbers were less than impressive mind you, a 4.04 ERA in 42.2 innings, but he could provide another right-handed option for the Yankees bullpen that the team absolutely needs right now. 

The final notable player from the group that needs Rule 5 protection after the 2015 season is first baseman Kyle Roller who has been overshadowed by the emergence of Greg Bird from the Yankees farm system. Roller is a left-handed bat and a true first baseman that the Yankees currently do not have. Roller's bat leaves much to be desired this season after hitting .300 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014 but his advanced age and defensive questions will likely leave him on the outside looking in unless New York loses confidence in their current first base backup options.

The Yankees bullpen is suddenly thin after moving Adam Warren back into the starting rotation and Ivan Nova into a mop up duty role initially. New York signed RHP Kyle Davies to a minor league deal this season and he was possibly one of the best pitchers not named Severino that took the mound for Scranton/Wilkes Barre inside PNC Field. Davies, 32-years old, pitched to a 11-8 record with a 3.60 ERA in 27 starts in 2015 and even made a playoff start for the RailRiders before his season ended. 

Keeping with the bullpen addition theme New York could also call on Mark Montgomery after the "Next David Robertson" had a bit of a bounce back season in 2015 with the Trenton Thunder. Montgomery was considered to be at least in the discussion to replace both Mariano Rivera and David Robertson as the Yankees closer before injuries and inconsistencies derailed his career. Montgomery pitched to a 2.93 ERA this season in Double-A before bettering that with a 1.17 ERA in Triple-A. Is Montgomery back? Would the Yankees be willing to test if he is in the Major Leagues?

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ New York Mets 9/19

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets, the Subway Series. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than sitting inside watching these two teams face off head-to-head. I mean who needs yard work, right? Anyway the second game of the three game series is set to start with the Yankees sending Michael Pineda to the mound to face off against Noah Syndergaard. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on FOX and MLB TV.

To see tomorrow night’s finale in Queens simply click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get your tickets on the cheap. You can also head over to Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the home team while interacting with us during each and every Yankees game for the remainder of this season.

Pineda, Big Mike XXL, Go Yankees!

Jorge Mateo To Get Work At Second Base?

A couple of days ago George King wrote that the Yankees are thinking about working out Jorge Mateo at second base.

Yes, I'm still happy the Yankees didn't give Robbie that 10 year contract that Seattle did.

While Mateo has only played shortstop since joining the Yankees' organization four years ago, there are two problems facing his future at that position...

1. Didi Gregorius. While starting off the season poorly (.206/.261/.238 batting line and .958 fielding percentage in April), Sir Didi has turned in a solid season both at bat and in the field (.276/.324/.392 batting line and .981 fielding percentage since May 1st).

2. King quoted one American League scout that had the following to say about Mateo's defense...
“His hands are a little too nervous for short,’’ the scout said. “He is more suited for second base. He is a big league player. The bat is good, he can run and he will be able to play second base.’’
Can you imagine the athletic duo of Didi Gregorius and Jorge Mateo in the middle of the infield?

This news reminded me of an article I wrote before the season, where I talked about what the team could look like in 2017. Well, chances are Jorge Mateo won't be ready for the bigs until 2018, so I had to re-do things a bit. Take a look at this possible team in 2018..

C - Brian McCann
1B - Greg Bird (Teixeira's last contracted year is 2017)
2B - Jorge Mateo
SS - Didi Gregorius
3B - Chase Headley
LF - Brett Gardner
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury
RF - Aaron Judge
DH - ???

SP - Masahiro Tanaka (I think he'll opt out and get re-signed)
SP - Michael Pineda
SP - Luis Severino
SP - Nathan Eovaldi
SP - Adam Warren

CL - Andrew Miller
SU - Dellin Betances

For the record, I can see the Yankees adding a free agent starter, knocking Adam Warren out of this rotation. And I admit that other things will likely change thanks to trades, injuries, etc.

Also, what really intrigued me when putting together that lineup is when I looked at the contracts and arbitration years. Brian McCann, Chase Headley, and Andrew Miller will be in the final years of their deals. Meanwhile, Didi Gregorius, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and Adam Warren will be in their final arbitration years. Meaning the 2018/2019 offseason should be a really exciting one.

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens was brought up this morning in our daily “This Day in Yankees History” post as he started the 2001 season with a 20-1 record (or 20-01 record in 2001 if you want to be clever). Roger was an integral part of the “Dynasty Years” in New York as he added a ferocity unmatched by any pitcher in the game, also known as roid rage. Clemens spent the 1999-2003 and the 2007 season with the Yankees after spending 1984-1996 with the Red Sox and 1997 and 1998 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. Clemens also spent the 2004-2006 seasons down in Houston with Andy Pettitte and the Astros but we as Yankee fans like to conveniently forget that. Today we will remember another Yankee of the past, Mr. William Roger Clemens.

As we all remember vividly Clemens did not sign a contract with the Boston Red Sox after the 1996 season even though he was reportedly offered “by far the most money ever offered to a player in the history of the Red Sox franchise.” General Manager Dan Duquette mentioned that Clemens was in the “twilight” of his career when he left for Toronto and two pitching triple crown’s and Cy Young Awards later the New York Yankees acquired Clemens before the 1999 season for David Wells, Homer Bush, and Graeme Lloyd. Clemens immediate impact was huge as he helped New York win the 1999 and 2000 World Series before ultimately reaching the 2001 and 2003 World Series’ before losing in both.

As we mentioned Clemens best season in pinstripes was by far the 2001 season when he started 20-1 and finished the season 20-3 winning his sixth Cy Young Award of his career. Clemens is the last New York Yankees pitcher to win the Cy Young Award as it stands today. Clemens was on the mound in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series where he out pitched Curt Schilling for six innings before Mariano Rivera blew the save in the 9th inning to give Arizona their first World Series Championship. Clemens would retire after the 2003 campaign with the Yankees after a season in which Clemens won his 300th game and achieved his 4,000th strikeout against the St. Louis Cardinals in Yankee Stadium. Clemens “went out” on top after 2003 finishing with a 17-9 record with a 3.91 ERA and a career 310-160 record with 4,099 strikeouts in his career.

As we all remember Clemens came out of his quick retirement for the 2004 season to join his friend Andy Pettitte in Houston with the Astros. While we could talk about him starting the All Star Game that season, him winning his seventh Cy Young Award, his record breaking $18,000,022 in salary arbitration for the 2005 season, his 1.87 ERA in 2005, his return to the World Series in 2005, or him coming out of retirement for a second time in 2006 but this is YANKEES of the past, so we won’t. Instead we will focus on Clemens unexpectedly showing up in the owner’s box at Yankee Stadium on May 6, 2007 as he announced he was coming out of retirement for a third time. Clemens would win his 350th game of his career on July 2 against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. A hamstring injury ended his 2007, and ultimately his career, prematurely in the Bronx. Clemens finished the season with a 6-6 record with a 4.18 ERA and another loss in the postseason for the Bronx Bombers.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ New York Mets 9/19

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets continue to battle for bragging rights in the great state of New York this afternoon as the two face off in a day game at Citi Field. This series means so much to both team’s that the pitching, the defense, the situational hitting and the strategies will be on full display inside a National League park this afternoon. In the second game of this three game set the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to harness some “Big Mike XXL” powers while the Mets counter with rookie Noah Syndergaard. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on FOX and MLB TV.

  • Pineda has not been sharp since coming off the disabled list as he has allowed four runs in each of his last two starts. Pineda beat the Mets earlier in the season when the two faced off on April 24th holding the Mets to just one run on five hits in 7.2 IP. Pineda was seemingly a different pitcher then and this Mets offense was definitely much thinner at that time as well.

  • Syndergaard had his start skipped two starts ago but did not seem to be affected by it in his last start against the Atlanta Braves. Syndergaard threw seven innings against Atlanta and gave up just one run in a victory for the Mets. Syndergaard, like teammate Matt Harvey, will have his innings limited going forward with hopes of keeping him fresh and available for the postseason.

These two teams also get a day off after this contest as they don’t play again until tomorrow evening on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The battle for New York and the Subway Series continues this weekend so take advantage of it before it’s gone. Go Yankees!

Quick Hit: The History Behind the Word “Yankee”


Have you ever wondered where the word “Yankee” actually came from? I have so I did the research and here is what I came up with just in case you were wondering.

The word Yankee is generally considered to be a word that refers to people from the United States if you aren’t living in the US and specifically refers to people from the North if you are currently living in the South. This obviously came from the American Civil War, specifically those who lived and fought in the New England area. The speech dialect in New England is actually called “Yankee” or “Yankee dialect” believe it or not.

The earliest recorded use of the word Yankee was from British General James Wolfe in 1758 when he referred to the people who lived in what was is now the United States. The word caught fire and began being used all across Britain as a derogatory word for the New Englanders and Yankee Soldiers. The word has evolved ever since as Mark Twain wrote a book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” which was more aimed at New England residents and less towards a United States Citizen. More or less these days the term Yankee, when not being referred to in baseball terms, is used from Americans living in the southern part of the United States referring to the people living in or originally from the northern part of the United States.

The word also has some ties to the Dutch as they inhabited what is now known as New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The Dutch given names of Jan (John) and Kees (Cornelius) were the most common Dutch names and sometimes combined to make a single name, for example Jan Kees de Jager. The pronunciation from the Dutch sounds much like the word Yankee and some believe that Dutch Americans were given the name from the native Dutch. There is also the theory that the Dutch word for pet, Janke, was where the term came from as when you pronounce the “J” in English it comes out with a “Y” sound. The final Dutch theory for the word was the slur “John Cheese” as the Dutch were heavy into dairy cultivation and even introduced the black and white dairy cow from Friesland and North Holland to America in the mid-1600s. When the Dutch would say John Cheese it would sound roughly like “Yankees” and the term stuck over time.

In New York though Yankees just means winning. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/19: Mariano Rivera Is The All Time Saves Leader

The New York Yankees built a new billion dollar stadium for the 2009 season and on this day in 2011 the Yankees saw their smallest crowd in the three year history of the stadium. Coincidentally this was also the day that the great Mariano Rivera became Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader. The Yankees would beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on this day as Rivera nailed down his 602nd career save, breaking Trevor Hoffman’s record, retiring Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer, and Chris Parmelee in order.

Also on this day in 2001 Roger Clemens continued to dominate Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox in a 6-3 Yankees victory. Clemens would get the victory on the day to improve his record to 20-1 becoming the first pitcher to ever start a season 20-1. Clemens would win his last 16 decisions to reach the feat.