Monday, March 24, 2014

7 Reasons to be Excited about 2014!

Yankee Fans...

We are 7 days from Opening Day which should be a National Holiday in my honest opinion.  Given the fact that my favorite/lucky number is #7 and Mickey Mantle wore said jersey number, I am excited to give you my top-7 reasons to be EXCITED as a YANKEE FAN this season.

1) The potential to have an elite starting-5 that can be borderline dominant. 

We have seen glimpses of what the starters (i.e. Sabathia, Kuroda, Tanaka, Nova, and Pineida) can do during the last week and a half in the Grapefruit League.  Yes there are several questions about the starters, but when aren't there?  Will Sabathia rebound from a sub-par (and underweight) season and adjust to be a true pitcher without the flamethrowing heat he used to possess?  Will Kuroda start AND end the season with a bang...remember, he petered out at the end of 2013, perhaps extra rest during portions of the season with the use of Phelps can save him for a playoff run?  Will Tanaka live up to his hype? I think so and am really excited to finally see him pitch in Pinstripes when it counts.  Will Nova be the dominant pitcher he was 2 years ago or be Ivan the Terrible?  And can Pineida stay healthy for the entire season and finally prove that the trade of Montero was worth it?  The answers to these questions will keep me intrigued for much of the season I hope.

2) Brian McCann's Impending Title of the "Next Great Yankees Catcher"

Jorge Posada was the greatest catcher I had the privilege of seeing play in Pinstripes (sorry Girardi...ha).  He was also possibly the best hitting catcher in his day besides Piazza.  But what has me excited about the addition of McCann is not only his hitting, which should be able to match Posada's average and power numbers at Yankee Stadium, but his ability to call a game should make #1 above plausible.

3) What will Mark Teixeira Contribute?

Maybe it's just me, but I haven't heard much about good ol' Teix...but I have a feeling he is going to have a monster year, what with all the new faces making big cash that may take some of the pressure off of him.  And he makes the entire infield and pitching staff better as he is an A+ defender at first base.  I am excited at the potential of having Teixeira as the 6th hitter in the lineup behind Beltran, Soriano, and McCann.
Photo by Kathy Willens, Associated Press

4) How many home runs can this group hit?

I mean this is no Murderer's Row by any means, but taking a look at the average numbers per 162 games put up by the starting 9 gives us a pretty large number.  Ellsbury - 15, Jeter - 16, Beltran - 28, Soriano - 34, McCann - 26, Teixeira - 37, Roberts - 11, Johnson - 19, Gardner - 6.  Okay, I know...this is a flawed number using the 162 game average, but adding in the numbers by extras, will get the Yankees pretty close to this number as a team, you can almost bank on it.  The number above is 192.  I can see that happening...I am excited to see what Beltran, Ellsbury, and McCann can do with that short porch and whether Roberts can have a season like he had a few years back.  In 2009, his last full season he had 56 doubles, 16 home runs, and 76 rbi.  Let's hope he does again.

5) Speed, speed, and more speed.

"Man I'm fast..."
This team is not just the prototypical Bronx Bombers.  With the likes of Gardner, Ellsbury, Jeter, and Ichiro among others, this team is pretty fast.  Heck Brian Roberts once had 50 steals in a season and averages 34 over 162 games (yeah, yeah...injury potential I know...).  But the potential this team has to both steal bases and manufacture runs with bunts and scoring from first has me really excited.  This team can win with the long ball (chicks dig the long ball) and with small ball typical of the National League.  My sincere hope is that Jacoby can teach Brett something or two in order to increase his steal-rate.

6) Will Joe Girardi's Binder explode?

With so many new additions to the roster this season, we could quite possibly see THE binder blow up...I mean there are just so many new situations and different matchups to predict.  I am excited to see what Girardi can do with this lineup and see if he can infuse some of the young talent in every once and awhile to have a smooth transition after Jeter leaves.

7) The potential for Jeter to Ride off into the Sunset as a Champion.

I am excited to see how El Capitan finishes out his illustrious career.  How many hits can he compile...if he stays healthy he should at least reach 3,500 in his career.  But the most exciting part of 2014 will be seeing the Yankees reach the World Series to allow Jeter to wear a ring on his other hand.  Not that he needs it to impress the ladies.

Just a wife is due on October 7th, 2014...I am just hoping I will be missing a Yankees Playoff game!  Man am I excited!

RiverDogs to Wear Unique Seersucker Uniforms on Sundays

Charleston-themed Fashion Comes to Riley Park and RiverDogs Players

CHARLESTONSC - In the closet of nearly every mature male Charlestonian's wardrobe is a seersucker suit. Now the Charleston RiverDogs players are going to be more "dapper" than any and all of their counterparts as the team this year will don seersucker uniforms for home Sunday games.
"Seersucker is a staple in the Lowcountry and we thought that having our uniforms made in that style will not only be cooler for the player but will also make them look cooler," said RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. "We're certain the players will like them, and we're also certain that our fans will as well."
The uniforms will be light blue and white, and will be worn only on Sunday afternoons at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
The team will debut the new seersucker uniforms on Sunday, April 13 and will wear them again on May 4, May 11, June 1, June 8 and June 22, July 6 and July 20, and August 3 and August 17.
Seersucker, as Lowcountry natives are aware, is a thin, puckered, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or checked, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear. The word came into English from Hindustani, and originates from the words "kheer aur shakkar," literally meaning "rice pudding and sugar," probably from the resemblance of its smooth and rough stripes to the smooth texture of milk and the bumpy texture of sugar.
Seersucker is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places. This feature causes the fabric to be mostly held away from the skin when worn, facilitating heat dissipation and air circulation. It also means that pressing is not necessary.
Common items of clothing made from seersucker include suits, shorts, shirts and robes. The most common colors for it are white and blue.
And because we live in the Lowcountry where the heat and humidity often collide to tremendous heights, seersucker is part of the Lowcountry's traditional clothing for men.

Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs organization. The original article can be seen HERE.

New York Yankees Spring Training News & Notes 3/24

Jacoby Ellsbury is scheduled to play in a minor league game tomorrow to test out his tight right calf. The Yankees don't want Ellsbury in a Grapefruit League game because if worse came to worse they can backdate a DL trip. Ellsbury is scheduled to DH tomorrow and if all goes well he could get into a Major League game, but I doubt it.

Still no word on when Brendan Ryan will be in a game again but it doesn't look like any time soon. Opening Day is pretty much not a possibility at this point.

Joe Girardi has made his fifth starter decision but has not contacted all parties involved yet. The announcement is expected to come tomorrow sometimes, presumably before the game starts. It is worth mentioning that the Yankees haven't named a starter for tomorrow's game and it is David Phelps turn in the rotation.

Ivan Nova pitched today in a minor league game and his unofficial stat line was 8 IP with 4 hits allowed, one run, and 10 strike outs. Impressive, although it should have been.

Yankees Willing To Eat Money To Trade Ichiro

According to Jon Heyman the New York Yankees are still trying to trade outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and are willing to eat some money to do so. Ichiro is owed $6.5 million this season and the hopes of eating money is to get a decent prospect in return, along with the roster and salary relief. This would presumably make room for Zoilo Almonte to break camp with the team. Ichiro can play all three outfield positions, which center field is valuable in itself, but it still seems pretty unlikely that the Yankees can trade away essentially their fifth outfield for an actual prospect and no a player to be named later or cash considerations, but hey what do I know right.

Rotation Starting To Come Together

It was announced that CC Sabathia will start on Thursday, Hiroki Kuroda will start on Friday, and Ivan Nova will start on Saturday. And although he hasn't come right out and confirm it, Joe Girardi said that it's safe to assume that the starting rotation will line up the same way.

That would leave Masahiro Tanaka to start the fourth game of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As for who the fifth starter will be, I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow. However, it's looking like that will be Michael Pineda.

Yankees Moving Jose Ramirez To The Bullpen

And another Yankees starting pitcher has bit the dust and has been converted into a right handed relief pitcher for the bullpen, the latest is Jose Ramirez. Brian Cashman held an interview lately confirming the power right handed pitchers move to the pen from the AAA starting rotation due to his injuries, noting that he had the ability to move very fast through the system.

Ramirez is 24 years old and did not pitch this spring due to a lingering oblique injury that derailed his 2013 season as well. Ramirez has only thrown 100+ innings in a season twice in his career due to elbow, shoulder, lat, and oblique injuries so the move makes sense on paper. Ramirez throws in the mid to upper 90's and has a nice slider and fastball combination so he could be electric out of the pen, only time will tell.

Predicting The Rookie of the Year Awards In 2014

The Rookie of the Year Award may be the hardest to predict out of any of the major awards because so many times do we see guys win the award and not even break camp with their team. I will take my stab at it, and probably be wrong, anyway just for fun.

Call me a homer, call it not fair, call it whatever but the rules are the rules and Masahiro Tanaka is eligible for the Rookie of the Year and he will win it. It will be the first time in a long time a member of the New York Yankees won the award but it will be well deserved, his time in Japan or not. Go Tanak!

This may be the easy pick here but the Cincinnati Reds Billy Hamilton has everyone in the league talking, and for good reason. His speed, his bat, his defense, and his chance to play every day with Shin Soo Choo gone will be enough to net him the award.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #7 Herb Pennock

Herb Pennock was cool, calm, and collected when on the pitching mound. Pennock knew how to get guys out while a member of the New York Yankees. After coming over from Boston prior to the 1923 season the left hander had 115 wins in his first six season in pinstripes including a career high 23 wins in 1926. Pennock helped New York win the 1923 World Series title with two wins and a save against the Giants.

7 days until Yankees Opening Day.

Quick Hit: What To Do On An Off Day

What do you guys and gals do on an off day? Me, I have to work on my car as my check engine light came on yesterday. I am hoping it is just spark plugs, I have put over 60,000 miles on the car since the last set. Updates may be sporadic due to that and were yesterday because I was helping a friend move all day, and I mean ALL day. Enjoy the day, the off day, and the week Yankees family.

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/24

On this day in 1933 Babe Ruth, another victim of the great depression in the United States, was forced to take a pay cut of $23,000 from his $75,000 salary.