Friday, April 15, 2016

Yanks fall to M's, 7-1

      On the day when we are celebrating the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, the Yankees faced the Mariners on a beautiful night in the Bronx. Luis Severino, 0-1, Took the mound and again came up short in his first home outing of the season. Similar to his first outing, Severino could not get any run-support whatsoever. Again, the Yankees left a small village(24) on the base paths. The Bronx Bombers opposed Nathan Karns, who, despite allowing nine baserunners, managed to work his way out of danger, only allowing a first inning solo homerun to Brett Gardner.  The Yankees starting staff and their offense continue to pose a myriad of concerns, as they fall below .500 for the first time since April 6th.
     Severino looked sharp early on, only allowing two hits in the first three innings. It was in the top of the fourth when Robinson Cano drove in the first run of the game, singling Seth Smith in, after he doubled with one out in the inning. If it hadn't been for Didi Gregorious' sparkling double-play, this inning could have got really out of hand. In the top of the fifth, after allowing a hit to Adam Lind, Severino gave up a two run shot to the Mariners' backstop, Chris Ianetta. In the following inning, after giving up another hit to Cano, Lind drove him in and ended Severino's evening. Kirby Yates would come and get the remaining outs of the 6th inning, but, the damage had already been done. In the seventh inning, Tyler Olson allowed a sacrifice fly to Franklin Gutierrez, scoring Marte and pushing the Mariners up by four, 5-1. Olson again found himself in trouble in the eighth inning, allowing a double to Nelson Cruz, who scored on a single by tonight's Yankee nemesis, Chris Ianetta. He would give up another run in the ninth, allowing Aoki to score on a Franklin Gutierrez double.
     Nathan Karns, as previously referenced, pitched his way in and out of trouble. Yet, the only blemish on the scoreboard for the entire Mariners staff was a first inning solo homerun given up to Brett Gardner. Karns, along with Tony Zych, Videl Nuno, Joel Peralta and Mike Montgomery, gave up 13 total baserunners, six hits and seven walks, but just the one earned run.  Like I said before, pretty hard to win a game when you leave TWENTY-FOUR runners on base.
     Let's hope our boys can put together some hits with runners in scoring position tomorrow, and the second game of the series, beginning at 1:05 PM.

Recap: Mariners 7, Yankees 1

Questions about the dependability of the Yankees' aging offense are nothing new.

But after a third consecutive anemic performance by the team's veteran bats, it seems fair to wonder just how good this group really is.

The Yankees went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base, culminating in a dissapointing 7-1 loss to the Mariners Friday night in the Bronx.

The Yankees took a 1-0 edge in the first on Brett Gardner's first home run of the season, but looked hopeless from there -- squandering countless opportunities as the Mariners turned a close one into a blowout.

In the fourth, the Yanks had men on second on third with none out, but failed to break a 1-1 tie after Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury all went down on strikes.

In the fifth, New York's first two hitters again reached base, but again, the next three up -- this time Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Dustin Ackley -- blew the chance to make noise.

On the mound, right-hander Luis Severino pitched respectably, allowing four earned runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. But, as with Nathan Eovaldi on Thursday, he struggled the second turn through the order.

The Mariners evened things at one on Robinson Cano's RBI single in the fourth, and grabbed a 3-1 lead on Chris Ianetta's two-run shot an inning later.

Seattle then added individual runs in each of the last four frames, backing up Nathan Karns' five innings of one-run ball.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees dropped their third straight game, having scored just 5 runs since Tuesday's win in Toronto. They are now 4-5 on the year, fourth in the AL East.

NEXT UP: The Yankees and Mariners will meet for a matinee on Saturday. CC Sabathia (1-0, 4.50 ERA) and Felix Hernandez (0-1, 0.69 ERA) are slated to be your starters, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners 4/15

Attention Yankees family, do not adjust your television sets. Mariano Rivera is not today’s starting pitcher and he’s not catching, playing first base or playing at all today. Happy Jackie Robinson Day everyone where for just one day everyone wears the #42. Tonight the New York Yankees will look to honor #42 with a victory at home against Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners. The pitching matchup for tonight’s contest will be Luis Severino for the Yankees and Nathan Karns for the Mariners. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and of course MLB TV.

To see any game this weekend in the Bronx against our old foe Robinson Cano including the King Felix matchup tomorrow in New York be sure to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog. You support the blog and you get to root for the home team live and in person. If you can’t make it out to the games live, or you can’t see the game because of work, school or whatever, then be sure to head over to Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow as we live tweet each and every single game.

Enough chit chat, more hitting the ball with the bat. Go Yankees!

Dellin Betances Turned Down Money to Sign w/ New York in 2016

In a shocking turn of events and with something that is basically unheard of in New York these days the Yankees eight inning man Dellin Betances told the New York Post that he actually turned down money to sign with the New York Yankees in 2016. Say what?

Dellin, an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, may be the best bargain in Major League Baseball right now. The Yankees offered Betances a contract worth $540,000 before the season started and the right-hander, on the advice of his agent, declined to sign the deal. Instead Betances and the Yankees worked out a deal worth $507,500, his exact salary from the 2015 season.

Is Betances crazy or does he know if he keeps performing in 2016 he will be in line for a nice chunk of change and a raise in 2017 when he becomes arbitration eligible for the first time? Either way this is something we don’t see enough of in an era of inflated contracts in Major League Baseball and it’s definitely something that does not get enough attention.

Dellin is a team first player and person and he wants to be a Yankee, which counts for something in my book. We need less hired mercenaries and people chasing a buck and more players that actually want to be here and that aren’t afraid to show that they want to be here in the Bronx.

Kudos to you Betances, nice work and an even better gesture. This is the news we need to be hearing about today on Jackie Robinson Day! Enjoy your day Yankees family and pay it forward. 

Guest Post: Brooklyn Bat Boy

By Geoff Griffin

When April 15 rolls around every year, we celebrate the day that Jackie Robinson debuted at first base with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. It’s a day for everybody to wear 42 and remember the courage of a genuine American hero.

For Yankee fans, Robinson’s arrival also marked the beginning of an incredible run that saw the Dodgers and Yankees face off in the World Series in six of the 10 seasons that made up Robinson’s career.

In doing background research for my book Brooklyn Bat Boy (, the fictional story of the 12-year-old bat boy for Robinson’s 1947 Dodgers, I was reminded that Robinson’s was one of the central catalysts in making Yankees-Dodgers one of the great rivalries in sports.

Baseball had held the World Series 42 times - there’s that number again - before 1947, but there had only been matchup between Brooklyn and the Bronx, which came in 1941.

That all changed when Robinson changed baseball forever. I don’t have to tell people checking out a Yankees Web site that New York won five of the six series, but it’s also worth noting that four of the series went seven thrilling games.

Robinson established himself as a presence in the rivalry in the 1947 Series, the first ever broadcast on television. In Game 1 he drew two walks and scored a run and went on to finish the series with seven hits, two doubles and two stolen bases. The Yanks eventually won the championship in seven games.

In 1949, Robinson hit .342 and won the NL MVP, but New York dominated 4-1 in the 1949 Series. Robinson did double to knock in the only run in a 1-0 win by Brooklyn.

Robinson socked his first World Series homer in Game 1 of the 1952 Series, but the Yankees once again prevailed in seven.

The 1953 Series was Robinson’s best in terms of hitting. His batting average of .320 was his highest in the post-season, but it was Yanks again in six.

The Dodgers finally brought their one and only title back to Brooklyn in 1955. The Series will also always be remembered for a 36-year-old Robinson performing his signature move - stealing home - off of Whitey Ford in Game 1. Of course, anybody who’s seen film of it can see that the late, great, very much missed Yogi Berra very much disagreed with the call.

The 1957 Series marked the final games of Robinson’s career. He played all seven games and between a double, homer and five walks, tallied a .379 OBP and .796 OPS. After Don Larsen’s perfect game gave the Yanks a 3-2 lead, the Dodgers evened things up in Game 6 when Robinson’s 10th-inning walk-off single gave Brooklyn a 1-0 win. Of course, as every good Yankee fan knows, Berra homered twice in Game 7 to give the Yankees their 17th championship.

The 1957 World Series also offered an unfortunate series of lasts. It would end up being Robinson’s last game. It was the last time a New York team would be the National League representative in the World Series until the Miracle Mets of 1969. It was the last Subway Series until 2000.

Whatever side you take in the Brooklyn-Bronx rivalry, yet one more accolade in Jackie Robinson’s remarkable life and career is that he helped turn Yankees vs. Dodgers into one of the great rivalries in sports.

Geoff Griffin has worked as a lawyer, special education teacher, journalist and editor. He has over 20 years of experience writing for a variety of newspapers and magazines. He has had a number of essays published in anthologies and is co-host of the award-winning Travel Brigade Radio Show and Podcast. Brooklyn Bat Boy is Griffin’s first work of fiction.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners 4/15

The New York Yankees have to be happy to get out of Toronto because nobody wants to face that deep and stacked lineup the Blue Jays have assembled recently and the team has to be especially happy to see Yankee Stadium looming in the distance. Tonight on Jackie Robinson Day all 50 men on the roster and their coaches and managers will wear the #42 to honor the late Jackie Robinson as the New York Yankees play host to the Seattle Mariners in the first of a three-game set. The Yankees will send their stud rookie pitcher Luis Severino to the mound tonight to face off with a familiar face in former Tampa Bay Rays product Nathan Karns.

Severino did not have a good season debut last time out against the Detroit Tigers and will look to improve on that tonight in the Bronx. Severino gave up a career-high 10 hits to the Tigers which looks bad in the box score but if you watched the game you know a lot of them were by soft contact and bloop hits. Severino struck out five batters and walked none in that start so he has a lot to go on and build with tonight against Robinson Cano and the Mariners.

Karns came over this winter from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Seattle Mariners and did not get off on the right foot with his new club in 2016. Karns allowed seven hits and four runs to the Oakland A’s in his debut with his new club taking a loss in the decision. Karns does have four starts under his belt against the Yankees and a 1-0 record with a 2.91 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21.2 innings, a trend the Bronx Bombers will look to reverse tonight in the matchup.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Jackie Robinson

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was born on January 31st, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. Jackie was the youngest of five children born to Jerry and Mallie Robinson and had siblings Edgar, Frank, Matthew, and Willa Mae Robinson. Jackie's middle name was given to him in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt who dies 25 days before Jackie was born. Jackie's father would leave his family in 1920 and his mom moved him and his four siblings to Pasadena, California. Jackie would start his high school career at John Muir High School where he played football, basketball, track, and baseball where he would letter in each at the varsity level. He was a shortstop and a catcher for the baseball team and earned a place on the Pomona annual baseball tournament all-star team. This annual baseball tournament included future Hall of Famers like Ted Williams and Bob Lemon. Jackie was also the quarterback on the football team and played guard for the basketball team. Jackie would get some recognition by professional scouts after winning an award in the broad jump in track and field. Jackie was also a member of the tennis team in his high school years. In 1936 Jackie won the junior boys singles championship in the annual Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament. In 1937 the Pasadena Star News newspaper reported that Robinson has been the most outstanding athlete at Muir for starring in five sports for the school.

Jackie would move on to Pasadena Junior College after graduating from Muir High School where he continued his athletic career by playing basketball, football, baseball, and track once again. On the football team Jackie played both sides of the ball this time playing quarterback and also playing some safety on the defense. He would be the leadoff man for his baseball team while manning the short stop position. He would once again get recognition in track for his broad jumping ability after breaking school records in the competition previously held by his brother Matthew, whose nickname was Mack. While playing on the football team Jackie suffered a fractured ankle which would complicate his deployment status while he was in the military. Jackie would also be elected to the Lancers at his time in Pasadena Junior College which is a student run police organization responsible for patrolling the school grounds during various school activities. In 1938 Jackie was elected to the All Southland Junior College Baseball Team and was selected as the regions MVP in that league. Also in that season Jackie was one of ten students named to the school's Order of the Mast and Dagger which was awarded to students who performed outstanding service to the school and whose scholastic and citizenship record is worthy of recognition. In 1938 he was arrested after getting into a shouting match with the police and received a two year suspended sentence. This was the beginning of the reputation of being very combative when it came to racial antagonisms and such. Frank Robinson, Jackie's closest brother, dies in a motorcycle accident towards the end of his PJC career which prompted him to transfer to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to be closer to his family.

Jackie transferred to UCLA in the spring of 1939 where he became the school's first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports, which were baseball, basketball, football, and track. He was one of four black players in the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team and was one of three of the four backfield players on the football team. In 1940 Jackie won the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the long jump when he jumped 24 ft 10 1/4 inches. Baseball was surprisingly considered his worst sport in his time spent at UCLA after hitting .097 in his only season there, although in his first game he did for 4-4 with two steals of home. In his senior year at UCLA Jackie would meet his future wife Rachel Isum who was a freshman and was familiar with his athletic career at Pasadena Junior College. In 1941 Jackie left college just shy of graduation and took a job as an assistant athletic director with the National Youth Administration in Atascadero, California. Later that year the government stopped the NYA and Jackie found himself in Honolulu to play football for the Honolulu Bears. Jackie would try and latch in later in that year with the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast Football League but by that time the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had drawn the United States into World War II, thus ending Jackie's football career.

In 1942 Jackie was drafted into the military and assigned to an Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. After much protesting Jackie Robinson was admitted into the Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley which would bring Jackie and heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis closer as friends. Robinson was promoted to second lieutenant and was reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas where he joined the 761st Black Panthers Tank Battalion. On July 6th, 1944 Jackie's military career would take a turn for the worse as he was in the hospital awaiting test results on the ankle he injured in junior college. Jackie would board an unsegregated bus afterwards and was ordered to move to the back of the bus, although he refused and was taken into custody by the military police when he reached his destination. After confronting the investigating officer about being racist Jackie was recommended for a court martial. Robinson was not court martialed but transferred to the 758th Battalion where he was charged with multiple charges including public drunkenness, although Jackie was never known as a drinker. Jackie was acquitted of all charges by an all-white panel of nine officers but Jackie still missed being deployed overseas and never saw any combat action. Jackie would receive an honorable discharge in 1944 but not before meeting a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League who encouraged Jackie to try out for the Monarchs, which he did in 1945.

In early 1945 Jackie accepted a $400 per month contract to play for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League. Robinson played 47 games at short stop for the Monarchs and hit .387 with 5 HR's, and 13 SB's while being in the 1945 Negro League All Star Game. In August of 1945 the club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers had a meeting with Jackie Robinson with hopes of signing him for either their big league team or their farm club, the Montreal Royals. Rickey was more worried about whether Jackie could refrain from fighting back when faced with racism rather than fight like he had in the military and at Pasadena Junior College. After Rickey got the commitment to turn the other cheek to the racism after the famous quotes from Jackie and Rickey, "Are you looking for a negro who is afraid to fight back" from Robinson which was responded by saying that he needed a Negro player "with guys enough not to fight back." Jackie was signed that day to a $600 a month contract and would be assigned to the Montreal Royals in the 1946 season. This would cause a bit of a ruckus within the Negro Leagues because Jackie was not the best player in the Negro Leagues and people like Satchel Paige, Larry Doby, and Josh Gibson were not happy with him getting the chance before they did. The racism and segregation started right away as many places would not allow Jackie or Johnny Wright, another black player Branch Rickey signed, to be a part of any activities. Jackie could not stay in the hotel with his team and since the Dodgers did not have a spring training facility yet most teams would not hold games that involved these two men. The police chief in Sanford, Florida even went as far as to threaten to cancel games if either of these two men trained there. On April 18th, 1946 the Jersey City Giants and the Montreal Royals played a game and Jackie Robinson made his professional debut, thus officially breaking the color barrier for minor league teams. Robinson went 4-5 including a three run home run, 3 RBI's, scored four runs, and stole two bases in a 14-1 Royals victory. Jackie would be named the International League MVP that season after leading the league with a .349 average and a .985 fielding percentage while drawing over a million fans in 1946 to the ball park to see games that he was in.

Jackie would be called up to the majors six days before the start of the 1947 season. Jackie was a right handed batter that played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers because Eddie Stanky was the Dodgers every day second baseman. Robinson would finish his first season by playing 151 games with a .297 average, a .383 OBP, .427 SLG %, 175 hits, 125 runs, 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, and 48 RBI's. He also led the league in sacrifice hits, 28, and stolen bases with 29 SB's that season. He would earn the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award that season. Stanky was traded to the Boston Braves in the spring of 1948 and Jackie took over the second base job where he finished with a .980 fielding percentage that season. He would hit for the cycle in August of 1948 against the St. Louis Cardinals and led his team to a third place finish in the National League. Jackie, with the help of Hall of Famer George Sisler, would reinvent his swing and approach at the plate and would win the 1949 MVP award with a .342 average, 37 stolen bases, 124 RBI's, 122 runs scored, and would be the starting second basemen for the National League in the 1949 All Star Game, the first to include black players. The Dodgers would win the National League Championship that season but would lose to the New York Yankees in five games. Jackie would become the highest paid player in Dodgers history up to that point with a $35,000 contract and would have a movie about him, the Jackie Robinson Story, made where he played himself in the movie. Before the 1951 season the Dodgers new owner Walter O'Malley offered Jackie the managerial job for the Montreal Royals when he was done playing baseball. The 1951 season would bring some heart break for Jackie and the Dodgers though because that was the season that Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" home run ended the 1951 World Series. They would win the NL pennant in 1952 but would once again lose in the World Series to the New York Yankees in seven games. They would once again win the NL pennant in 1953 but would once again lose the World Series to the New York Yankees, this time in six games. The Dodgers would get their revenge though in the 1955 World Series though as the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees to win Jackie's only World Series championship of his career. In 1956 Jackie Robinson was traded to the New York Giants but the deal was never completed because Jackie had agreed to quit baseball due to declining skills and his battle with diabetes.

Jackie would finish his major league career with a .311 career batting average with 1,518 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBI's, and 197 stolen bases among other accolades. He would only play in ten seasons, all for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and would play in six World Series and six All Star Games including one World Series ring and one MVP award. In 1962, after pleading with voters to only vote on his on the field play and not his historic impact to the game of baseball, Jackie was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot. The Dodgers would retire his #42 on June 4th, 1972 along with teammates Roy Campanella, #39, and Sandy Koufax, #32. Jackie would make his final public appearance in October of 1972 where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series. In 1999 Jackie was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Jackie Robinson would die on October 24th, 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jackie has been honored many times since his death of a heart attack at age 53. In 1987 both the American and National League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the Jackie Robinson Award. In 1997 Major League Baseball retired Jackie's #42 all across baseball with Mariano Rivera the only player left that was grandfathered in and still wearing it. In 2006 the New York Mets modeled the main entrance of their new stadium, Citi Field, after old Ebbets Field and named it the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Also, starting in 2004, the Aflac National High School Baseball Player of the Year has been presented as the Jackie Robinson Award. In 2007 Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver announced that Jackie would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame. His former college baseball team, the UCLA Bruins, play all their baseball games in Jackie Robinson Stadium and even have a memorial state of Robinson inside the stadium. City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1990 and has a statue of Jackie and his two children in front of the stadium. There are many other buildings, houses, fields, etc. named after Jackie because of everything he did both on and off the baseball field.

Jackie Robinson will always be remembered for breaking the color barrier in baseball and leading the charge for black players in baseball. Jackie Robinson always did things the right way and fought for what he believed in and will always be remembered no matter how many years pass. Happy Jackie Robinson Day everybody and thank you Jackie for everything you have done both on and off the field.

Weekly Check In: Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was a great ball player but he was an even better person, which is why he made the Major Leagues before the likes of Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. If you watch the movie “Soul of the Game” or probably any movie covering that time period and the whole breaking the color barrier time period you hear Robinson ask Branch Rickey if he wants him to fight and you hear Rickey reply “I want someone who is strong enough not to.” Now I’m not sure how historically accurate that is or if it’s simply dramatized for the movie but either way that’s the way Jackie lived his life and played his career. Do as I do, not as I say.

For this reason we have Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball every single season and for this reason I am able to bring you a “weekly” check in for the deceased MLB legend. This stat line is only a sliver of what makes Robinson great and an ambassador for the game we all love today. Enjoy and Happy Jackie Robinson Day. 

10 Yrs 1382 5804 947 1518 273 54 137 734 197 740 291 .311 .409 .474 .883 132
162 Game Avg. 162 680 111 178 32 6 16 86 23 87 34 .311 .409 .474 .883 132

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/15: Happy Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson Day 2016, let’s do it Yankees family!

On this day in 2007 players around the league including the Yankees Derek Jeter and the Braves Andruw Jones wore the #42 uniform to honor Jackie Robinson on the 60th anniversary of him breaking the color barrier. In the Cardinals and Brewers game in Busch Stadium every player and coach on both teams wore the #42 and Jackie Robinson Day was born.

On this day in 1976 the New York Yankees debuted the "new" Yankee Stadium in front of 52,613 fans. The Yankees would beat the Minnesota Twins 11-4 on this day as the day began with Bob Shawkey, the winner of the 1923 Yankee Stadium opener, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.