Sunday, November 8, 2015

YES Network: Exit Interview with Carlos Beltran

Lou DiPietro. The YES Network. Exit interview with Lou DiPietro. Read it, CLICK HERE.

The New York Yankees' 2015 season ended at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night, thanks to a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card Game.

Following the game, many Yankees players, coaches, and officials were in a reflective mood, beginning both the look back on this year and the look ahead to 2016 - so much so that the team was able to conduct a series of "exit interviews" on the subjects.

Here is the brief exit interview with New York Yankees right fielder and 18-year MLB veteran Carlos Beltran.

Q. How can you sum up the 2015 season, Carlos?

BELTRAN: We went through a lot of ups and downs. We fought. We lost some guys, some younger guys came in to fill the holes. We battled until the end. Even though we lost, I feel proud of the team and the way we fought.

Q. What was your mentality heading into tonight's Wild Card playoff?

BELTRAN: We know that we ended the season not hitting or playing good baseball, but we have to be professional enough to turn that page because this was not the regular season, this is a do-or-die game. We needed to come here with the mentality of trying to do the best we could as a team, to try to put runs on the board. Hopefully our pitching would have been able to shut them down and hopefully we would win the ballgame.

Q. What is it about Dallas Keuchel that gave the Yankees such a tough time?

BELTRAN: I think the whole league [struggles against him]. The guy has good numbers, 20 wins. We knew that we were going to face a guy that was not going to throw the ball over the middle of the plate. He was going to be able to hit the corners, make you chase, and we chased some balls. We didn't put anything together.

Singleton, Mazzilli and Flaherty Inducted into New York State Baseball Hall of Fame

Jack Curry, Ken Singleton and John Flaherty left to right

The New York State Baseball Hall of Fame has announced five new members that will be entering their halls this season including a couple notable former Yankees. Players were inducted into the NYS Baseball Hall of Fame after playing for multiple teams including both New York teams in some cases. Here is the list of players who will be entering the NYS Baseball Hall of Fame with their former teams in parenthesis. Congratulations to all.

Frank Viola (New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays)

Ken Singleton (New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles)

Lee Mazzilli (New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees)

John Flaherty (New York Yankees)

Dennis Leonard (Kansas City Royals)

Flaherty is a former Yankees catcher and current YES Network employee who sometimes joins Ken Singleton in the booth to call games. Lee Mazzilli is a former Yankees player(1982) and first base coach from 2000 to 2003 and the bench coach in 2006.

RiverDogs, Goldklang Group Named Ballpark Digest Organization of the Year

RiverDogs’ ownership group named Organization of the Year

CHARLESTON, SC – From St. Paul in the Midwest to Hudson Valley, NY and Pittsfield,
MA in the Northeast and down to Charleston in the South, the footprint of The
Goldklang Group is as wide as it is entertaining. One of the more well-respected
ownership groups in all of minor league baseball continues to reinvent itself more than
20 years after it turned minor league baseball into a must-see show and provided a
blueprint for sports organizations across the industry. Coming off banner seasons by
each of its clubs, The Goldklang Group earned one of the top awards in the baseball
industry receiving the Organization of the Year Award from
“This is a tremendous honor for The Goldklang Group and the Charleston RiverDogs, in
particular,” said RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. “All of our teams have
contributed to this award, but it starts at the top with quality leadership which is what
(owner) Marv Goldklang and his staff provide. We’re proud of what we’ve done as
RiverDogs, and also proud of what the three other Goldklang Group teams have

“As I mentioned, it starts with Marv’s leadership, but we are also fortunate to be on the
receiving end of the guidance and direction as provided by (RiverDogs President) Mike
Veeck, (Goldklang Group President) Jeff Goldklang, (Senior Vice President) Tyler
Tumminia, (Executive Vice President of Business Affairs) Tom Whaley and (Co-
Owner/Director of Fun) Bill Murray.”

All four teams contributed in a major way to the success of the Group in 2015. The
RiverDogs (Single-A, South Atlantic League) were a force on the attendance front as
they set franchise records in overall attendance (292,661), good for fourth in the South
Atlantic League, and average attendance, drawing 4,368 in 67 home dates. The
previous overall record was 287,646 and stood since 2007. In conjunction with their
attendance record one lucky fan went home with a used car, a 1998 Honda Civic which,
of course, had more than 285,000 miles.

The RiverDogs were at the forefront in helping the community following two separate
devastating tragedies. After the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church in June, the RiverDogs donated all proceeds from their game the following day
to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. Each of The Goldklang Group teams donned
special caps or jerseys in the following week and donated all proceeds from the auction
of those items. The RiverDogs followed by wearing a special uniform of their own, with a
simple, but poignant black armband on the sleeve of both their home and away jerseys.
At the end of the season they auctioned the uniforms and donated the money to the
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.

Unfortunately, a second tragedy struck the Charleston area after severe flooding from
Tropical Storm Erika caused severe damage and flooding to the city. The RiverDogs,
along with three other South Atlantic teams in the state -- Columbia Fireflies, Greenville
Drive and Myrtle Beach Pelicans -- started a GoFundMe page to help raise $100,000.
Each team, along with Minor League Baseball Charities, donated $2,500 each. All
funds will be donated to the American Red Cross of the Palmetto SC Region.

The St. Paul Saints (Independent, American Association) moved into CHS Field, which
was awarded New Ballpark of the Year by They earned the
American Association Organization of the Year Award and Executive Vice
President/General Manager Derek Sharrer claimed the Executive of the Year Award. It
was due in large part to Saint Paul and the greater Twin Cities region embracing CHS
Field in ways that exceeded expectations. Opening Day saw 8,592 pass through the
gates to experience CHS Field and crowds continued to pour in all summer. The Saints
surpassed their single-game franchise record when they drew 9,960 on July 4. That
record didn’t stand for long as 10,430 took in the August 20 game. In all, the Saints
shattered the American Association record for attendance (297,834 set by the Saints in
2007) as they drew 404,528. The Saints averaged 8,090, 12th best in all of minor league
baseball. The team played to a season-long capacity of 112%, tops in the nation. On
the field the Saints set numerous franchise records including going an astounding 74-26
and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The Saints continued their tradition of humorous promotions that got national attention,
none bigger than the Guinness Book of World Records Pillow Fight. On July 21, 6,261
fans partook in the largest pillow fight ever. MyPillow provided 8,000 pillows to the
crowd of 8,960 and the official tally by Guinness showed that the Saints broke the
previous record by more than 2,000 people. The earlier record of 4,201 participants
was set at a Super 8 Motel in Brookings, South Dakota in 2014.

The Hudson Valley Renegades (Low-A, New York-Penn League) continued a trend in
the Goldklang Group with an impressive showing at the box office. They finished
second in the New York-Penn League in overall and average attendance, with 163,767
and 4,426, respectively. On July 3 the Renegades set a franchise single-game
attendance record of 5,601.

The entertainment at Dutchess Stadium was highlighted by several creative ideas, but
none better than the Air Guitar Giveaway on July 24. The first 4,000 fans who entered
the gates received their own customized Air Guitar. Star Wars Night was a huge hit as
the first 1,000 fans 12 and under received a Boba Fett jersey along with a post-game
Jedi Training session. The nightly minion races and live game of Hungry Hippos also
proved to be crowd favorites.

No ballpark is complete without food and beverage and the Renegades unveiled two
new items and a brand new stand. The Hudson Valley Renegade Apple Blossom was a
croissant donut with creamy Edy’s Vanilla Ice Cream topped with freshly baked local
apples and pears in a cinnamon sauce, drizzled with sweet salted caramel and hot
fudge, and capped off with whipped cream and a little toffee crunch (just for fun). The
Southern Comfort (Chicken and Waffles) was a warm Belgian waffles with scallions,
cheddar and bacon baked right in! Fill with crispy fried chicken, smoky bacon, lettuce,
tomato and our honey-bourbon barbecue sauce to give an old Southern favorite a new
twist. The fry shack came complete with different specialties like parmesan garlic fries,
taco fries and buffalo chicken fries.

The Pittsfield Suns (Collegiate Baseball, Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New
England) were the third best drawing team in the league and second in average
attendance at 41,345 and 1,654 respectively. The average attendance was in the top
20 in all of collegiate baseball.

The Goldklang Group moved into historic Waconah Park in 2012 with the Suns and the
2016 season, the fifth for the organization, will be the longest tenure for any team since
the Pittsfield Red Sox of the Eastern League resided at Waconah Park from 1965-69.
Since that time 10 teams in various leagues have called Waconah Park home, but none
have lasted longer than four seasons. Only two teams have lasted longer than five
seasons, the Pittsfield Electrics of the Class-C Canadian American League from 1941-
48 and the Pittsfield Hillies of the Class-A Eastern League from 1919-30.
While the fans continue to support the team, the Suns had their best season with
groups, picnics and food and beverage. On the field the team made the playoffs for the
second consecutive season.

Each year, the Internet’s leading guide to ballparks and the
business of baseball, honors accomplishments in the industry with the annual Ballpark
Digest Awards.

Rich Hill the 2016 Version of Chris Capuano, Only Better

Back during the summer of 2014 the New York Yankees let left-handed reliever Matt Thornton go to the Washington Nationals in a straight waiver claim with the promise that the Yankees young talent would begin to funnel into the bullpen out of the minor leagues. One Josh Outman and one Rich Hill signing later and the Yankees had their replacements, neither of which were Yankees prospects mind you, although both were ultimately designated for assignment before the 2015 season. Outman has not had any significant time back in the Major Leagues since then but Hill reinvented himself as a starting pitcher with the Boston Red Sox and enjoyed a rejuvenated second half with the ball club. Hill is set to hit free agency this season, wouldn’t he be the perfect candidate to be in 2016 what Chris Capuano was supposed to be in 2015?

Hill will be 36-years old when the 2016 season begins, the same age as Capuano, but the similarities don’t stop there. Both reinvented and rejuvenated their careers with other teams before catching the Yankees eyes and both can easily bounce back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Both are left-handed and would serve as more than suitable long relief roles with the club. The biggest glaring difference is that if a Yankees starter goes down and Hill pitches like he did for the Red Sox this season he could make an immediate impact for the Yankees in the rotation. Capuano, on the other hand, merely gave the Yankees some innings and tried his best to keep the team in those games before burning out the bullpen. Hill could quietly be a difference maker for the team in 2016.

With the Yankees roster seemingly set and the majority of the money allocated towards 2016 already spent New York is going to have to get creative, get depth and get lucky if they want to compete for a World Series championship next season. It will be players like Hill, the bench roles that can play multiple positions and bring versatility and the minor league deals and the one-year deals that catch lightning in a bottle that is going to separate New York from the other teams in the American League East Division. Does that start with Hill? If it doesn’t then it probably should. 

I Don't Have Time For Excuses

First of all, I want to let you know that I believe alcoholism is a serious malady. Please do not take what I say below as being unsympathetic to CC Sabathia, or anybody else that has had an issue with alcohol.
CC Sabathia recently finished his stint at an alcohol rehabilitation center, and later did interviews where he admitted to drinking heavily during the season. CC pointed out that while he was never drunk while pitching, he would actually schedule his binge drinking sessions around his starts and workouts.

A few days ago new Yankees hitting coach, Alan Cockrell, said that Brett Gardner had wrist issues for much of the season. Brett was actually hit on the wrist by a pitch in April, and due to MLB rules, was only able to get three cortisone injections. The last injection came prior to August 1st, when Gardner's season really took a tumble (.203/.288/.290 in the final two months).

While some Yankees fans might believe the following bits of news means those two players will turn things around next season, I'm not counting on it... and neither should the Yankees. While it's nice to think Sabathia will be an effective starter next season, his ERA of 4.81 over the past three seasons doesn't change my belief that he's no better than a middle of the rotation pitcher. At the same time, Brett Gardner's triple-slash of .258/.335/.410 over the past two years makes me think a move back to the lower end of the batting lineup may be a good thing.

"It's fun down there, Brett!"

The Yankees could not only get a good to great pitcher such as Jeff Samardzija, but they can also sign a great outfielder like Jason Heyward. With that type of talent available, I'm not okay with the Yankees counting on bounce-back seasons from players like Sabathia and Gardner.

If those two turn things around that would be great. CC and Brett deserve the best, whether that be in New York or elsewhere. But the bottom line is the Yankees have to do what's best for them, and entering the 2016 season with Jason Heyward instead of Brett Gardner, or putting somebody like Jeff Samardzija into the starting rotation ahead of or instead of CC Sabathia, may very well be what's best.

Weekly AFL Check In: Tyler Austin

The New York Yankees likely have one more season of Tyler Austin and that season started when the team sent their first baseman and outfielder to the Arizona Fall League to play for the Surprise Saguaros. Austin needs this, the team has already released Kyle Roller a season early leaving the first base position wide open for Austin and it's time for Tyler to return the favor. And it all starts in Arizona.

Tyler Austin:

Games: 12
At Bats: 44
AVG: .273
OBP: .360
SLG: .455
OPS: .815
H: 12
HR: 2
RBI: 6
BB: 6
K: 10

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/8: Yogi Berra the MVP

On this day in 1951 the Baseball Writers Association of America, BBWAA, named Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees the American League Most Valuable Player. Ned Garver of the Browns won 20 games this year on a last place team and finished second in the voting. Roy Campanella would win the award in the National League making this the first two that two catchers have both won the MVP award in the same season.