Saturday, April 21, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 4/21

And just like that we are back in the Bronx with the third game of this four-game set between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. In the start this afternoon the Yankees will second Jordan Montgomery to the mound while the Blue Jays will counter with their ace Marcus Stroman. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, final score prediction of 7-2 in favor of New York, and go Yankees!!

What it Means to Be a Yankees Fan: Bryan Van Dusen

Yesterday evening before the game with the Blue Jays I personally tried to answer maybe one of the hardest questions I have ever been asked not only as a writer, but as a Yankees fan as well. What does being a Yankees fan mean to me? I mentioned in the article the fact that if you asked 100 different Yankees fans that same question that it was entirely possible that you would receive 100 different answers back, and I also stated that I sought out to prove that to be true leading to this post this morning. There’s one person I trust more than anyone when it comes to Yankees fandom, someone I have known for many years and someone who I started this blog with back in January of 2012. Bryan Van Dusen. What does Yankees fandom mean to Bryan? Keep reading.

What makes you a fan of the New York Yankees?

I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't a Yankees fan. 

When I was 7 years old I was able to play organized baseball in my towns Pee Wee Baseball league. We were put on random teams, each named after various Major League teams. You're probably thinking "he was placed on the Yankees." Nope... I was on the Red Sox, and I was devastated. I wasn't devastated because I was on the team named after the Yankees hated rival. I didn't know the history of the Yankees and Red Sox at that point in my life. All I knew was that I wanted to be on the Yankees, but I wasn't. 

The fact is I don't remember how I became a Yankees fan. I don't remember the first game I saw. Perhaps it was because my father would watch Yankees games when I was an infant. Maybe it was the baby-size Yankees hat my dad got me. Or since I lived in New York (central... not the city), and really only had access to the Yankees and Mets, the chances were 50/50 that I would grow up a Yankees fan. On that note... thank God I'm not a Mets fan... yuck.

It may sound ridiculous and make you roll your eyes, but I honestly believe I was born into Yankee fandom. 

See, I was born shortly after 12:00am on October 19th, 1977. In case you don't know, hours before I was born the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the World Series to win the championship. That was the same game in which Reggie Jackson hit three home runs, off of three pitches, and off of three different pitchers (Reggie walked in his first at bat of Game 6 but note that he hit a home run in his last at bat in Game 5 on the first pitch... also from a different pitcher).

In fact, simply calling me a Yankees "fan" is downplaying things. "Bryan Van Dusen" and "Yankees" go hand-in-hand. You can call me an Ohio State fan, you can call me Syracuse University fan, you can call me a San Francisco 49ers fan, etc. But when it comes to how I feel about the Yankees, and how they are a part of my life, simply calling me a "fan" is not enough. 

What is your earliest memory of the New York Yankees?

My first baseball glove. I don't mean the little ones I had, which were made of some type of plastic. You know, the ones no real player would ever think of using in a game. But my first real baseball glove made of leather (well, synthetic leather, but still...). 

While I saw the Yankees before that point, that glove is my clear memory involving the team. I'm sure you're wondering what they had to do with one another but remember that many pieces of sports equipment were signature models. Not necessarily what a player actually used, but something that an athlete allowed his name to be on. 

And whose name was on that baseball glove? Don Mattingly.

I don't remember exactly when I got it. Perhaps it was before joining that Pee Wee baseball team I mentioned earlier. But I was so proud of that glove. If only the greatness that was Donnie Baseball translated to me through that mitt. 

What is your fondest memory of the New York Yankees?

While I was born shortly after the Yankees won the World Series in 1977, I was 363 days old when they won the 1978 World Series, I was three years old when they lost the 1980 World Series, and I was four years old when they lost the World Series the following season, how many people truly remember things before they were five years old? 

By the time I really understood the game I only knew sadness. The Yankees would miss the playoffs year in and year out, even finishing under .500 a handful of times. My beloved Don Mattingly would garner American League Most Valuable Player votes, All Star game selections, Gold Gloves, but he didn't come close to winning a title. 

Hell, one of my earliest memories about Major League Baseball in general was watching the Mets win the World Series in 1986. I mean, at least they beat the Red Sox, but seeing the Mets celebrate a World Series championship wasn't a whole lot better.

I would read and hear about the great history of my beloved Yankees, but personally I was not able to feel it. Even in 1994, when the team looked like they would battle for a World Series title, the league went on strike. The following season was, up to that point, the best of my life, yet they lost to the Mariners in the AL Division series. But finally... on October 26th, 1996, it happened.

Mark Lemke popped a pitch from John Wetteland in foul territory down the third base line, where Charlie Hayes caught the final out of the World Series. I was in my sophomore year at the University of Dayton, and I remember running outside of my apartment screaming "WE'RE BACK, BABY!"

Strange, but I didn't scream "WE WON" or something like that. I screamed "WE'RE BACK". I guess I knew that that title was the start of what would be a dynasty, as the Yankees went on to win three more championships between 1998 and 2000. Not to mention going to the World Series in 2001 and 2003. And the Yankees would go on to be a powerhouse in Major League Baseball. Not necessarily championship material year in and year out, but they would always be there among the top. 

And here we sit today, quite possibly on the verge of another Yankees dynasty.

What do you think of when you see the interlocking NY of the Yankees?

My heart skips a beat. Seriously. I don't have kids, so I can't say for sure how it feels to watch them as a father, but I have a feeling it's sort of the same. A sense of pride, along with happiness and genuine love. Like I said... I'm not just a Yankees fan. The Yankees are a part of my life. That interlocking logo is a part of me. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 4/21

Good morning Yankees fans and welcome back to the Bronx, New York. Yankee Stadium will welcome the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays back today for the third game of their four-game set. In the start this afternoon the Yankees will send left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery to the mound to face off with future Yankee and current Toronto ace Marcus Stroman for the Blue Jays. I love watching Stroman pitch, but I especially love watching Stroman struggle in New York so let’s make both happen this afternoon in the Bronx.

Montgomery heads into the start this afternoon fresh off his first victory of the young season in his last outing. Montgomery held the Detroit Tigers to three runs on six hits in the only victory of the rain-shortened series for New York. Monty was especially tough against the Blue Jays last season as well posting a 1-0 record in two starts with a 0.79 ERA as a rookie.

Stroman had a shorter spring training camp than most which may be the reason behind his wild start to the 2018 season. Stroman has walked 10 batters in 14.2 innings pitched this season, which is way above his career 2.5 walks per nine innings ratio. Walk Gardner, walk Judge and pitch to Stanton, Didi and Sanchez. Fine by me.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network locally and MLB Network for everyone out of the team’s market. You can also follow along on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, watch out for dingers, and go Yankees!!

Hello… Something Big Continues

Good morning everyone and a Happy Saturday to you all. Behind the scenes I have been working on a few things including the post that finally went live yesterday here on the blog, What Does It Mean to Be a Yankees Fan? This is something I have always wanted to write, but at the same token it is always something that I have kind of been scared to write. This is big, and it means something different to everyone you speak to. There’s a lot of responsibility in doing a piece like this, but this is something that I not only wanted to do, but it is something that I needed to do. For me not only as a fan, but as a writer as well. I don’t expect any big accolades from this or any recognition whatsoever, it is just something I want to do, and it is something that I will be proud of when I am looking back into the archives on this day in 2019. Although I will admit, this series of posts does have all the makings of being something big and something popular amongst the fans, I hope at least.

This series continues today as we take a look at another fan’s perspective. I will leave the “which fan” part out for now, but it is a near and dear friend of mine and someone I consider to be not only in my Yankees family, but my real family as well. Be on the look out for that today and, again, if you want to get involved and answer those four simple questions for us please do so and send them to us. We want to get as many outlooks as we can and share as many opinions and perspectives as we can here on the blog.

While you all enjoy that piece I will be packing up the only home I have known with my lovely Kari as we prepare for the next chapter in our lives. It will be sad to see this house go, but I will never forget the memories that we shared in it. I love you, and I can’t wait to see where this crazy, wild world will take us next, as long as it takes us there together.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/21: Eddie Murray Passes Mickey Mantle

On this day in 1994 Eddie Murray knocked a home run from both sides of the plate in the Indians' 10-6 win over the Twins. Eddie Murray hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game for the eleventh time breaking the previous record set by Yankee legend Mickey Mantle in 1964.