Monday, August 8, 2016

Father Time Comes For Us All

Alex Rodriguez only has five days left in his tenure as a Yankee. He is the longest-tenured Yankees player at 11 years (one year was spent suspended). From Sunday to the end of the season you're sure to read a litany of articles about where he stands among the baseball greats. Just as a quick example I've pulled the "Career Highlights and Awards" from his Wikipedia page, but I highly recommend that page and his baseball reference page to truly understand his greatness.

• World Series champion (2009)
3× AL MVP (2003, 2005, 2007)
14× All-Star (1996–1998, 2000–2008, 2010,2011)
10× Silver Slugger Award (1996, 1998–2003,2005, 2007, 2008)
2× Gold Glove Award (2002, 2003)
4× AL Hank Aaron Award (2001–2003, 2007)
5× AL home run leader (2001–2003, 2005, 2007)
2× MLB RBI leader (2002, 2007)
MLB batting champion (1996)
500 home run club
3,000 hit club

When you look at the pure numbers A-Rod is not only one of the best players to ever play the game but he is one of the best Yankees ever. Unfortunately for his perception and legacy with fans, many don't look at the numbers but rather how they believe they were achieved. Perhaps if A-Rod were not at the center of the Biogenesis scandal, he would be receiving the send-off David Ortiz (who was on the Mitchell Report) is receiving. Maybe if he hadn't taken shirtless pictures up against a mirror or in Central Park for magazines fans and writers would not be so eager to attack his personality. 

Alex Rodriguez is not a perfect role model, in his press conference, he mentions how he has fallen and gotten back up multiple times. With the 24-7 news cycle, social media and other news forms his misdeeds have been in the public eye. Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle were alcoholics who had multiple affairs. Mickey Mantle even brought his mistress to his jersey retirement ceremony. Whitey Ford has admitted to doctoring baseballs on occasion. I'm not trying to run down these players as I revere them too, but I want to demonstrate that there are no perfect role models. Every player is human and has faults.

Since his return from suspension, A-Rod has reinvented himself as a person and a teammate. If you 
follow him on social media you know the only thing, he loves more than his teammates are his daughters. He has taken on a mentorship role with the team, in 2015 when Didi Gregorius was struggling offensively and defensively A-Rod worked with him on his footwork.

It will be tough to say goodbye on Friday. I'll be in my season ticket seats in 420B and I expect an extremely somber mood. Rodriguez is a legendary player, and I wanted him to go out on top, not with the season he is having and this "retirement." I put retirement in quotes because he is not actually retiring. The Yankees are releasing him from his player contract. He has not actually indicated he would not suit up for another team. Perhaps a team like the Miami Marlins will pick him up and ride with him until he hits four more home runs to get him to 700 career home runs. However as a 41-year-old who can't play the field anymore and is not hitting this seems unlikely. In my opinion the Yankees are dressing up his release because of his outstanding career. 

The silver lining in Rodriguez no longer being an active player is his new role Special Adviser and Instructor. I hope that it is not a farce and he will be utilized. With the Yankees ongoing youth movement and top talent up and down the minor league levels to have them exposed to Alex Rodriguez's wealth of knowledge will help mold them into the players that will bring a World Series trophy to the Bronx for the first time since Alex Rodriguez did in 2009.

Weekly Prospects Check In: Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees top prospect is now Clint Frazier and damn does he look good wearing a Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders jersey. Call me bias but the waving red hair, which challenged Ben Gamel for the best hair on the team and in the organization, in the red, white and blue RailRiders jersey just looks right.

I can't say it any better than our friends over at Bleeding Yankee Blue when they said "Five-Tool Players, Yeah We Got That" and we got that in Clint Frazier. Enjoy the rest of your evening Yankees fans and enjoy the off day.

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ICYMI: The Greatest Game I Have Ever Been To...

Also by Patrick Hennessy seen HERE: 

Last night, August 1st 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to attend the first game of this years Subway series at Citi Field. Let me just start it off with this, it was one of the greatest games I have ever been to live.

The Yankees entered this game by finishing of their selling spree by trading Chapman to the Cubs, Miller to the Indians, Beltran to the Rangers, and Nova to the Pirates. While the Mets entered this game going in a totally opposite direction by buying at the deadline and trading for RBI leader Jay Bruce and former Met Jon Niese. The Yankees entered this game at a .500 record while the Mets entered with a record of 54-50 which isn't much better then the Yanks but it keeps them in the NL playoff hunt.

Now let's get to the game, I have never been to a Yankee-Met game before so it was a very new experience to me despite all of the previous games I have been to including last years AL Wild Card game. It was also my first time at Citi Field and let me say it is a really nice stadium, ton of options for food, and the bullpen gate is something really cool that all fans who go there should check out. I also like how as I entered the stadium they had a separate express lane for people who didn't have bags that needed to be checked which made my process going into the stadium go much quicker. I still don't believe it is better then Yankee Stadium but it was definitley up there.

I sat in the 500 level where I thought that it would be tough to see the field but it was actually a great view for being that high up. As the game started I saw Brett Gardner come up to bat... Next thing I know is that he hit a deep fly ball to center field and Ruggiano had a tough time playing it so Gardner is speeding around the bases and gets thrown out at the plate going for the inside the park HR. It was devastating because I had Mets fans sitting all around me and they were all going nuts while I was just sitting there with my hat down very dissapointment.

The game was then very quiet until the bottom of the 2nd when Mets 3B Wilmer Flores launched a solo home run off of C.C. Sabathia and the only thing that I thought in my head was "This is when Sabathia is going to collapse" and oh boy was I right. Then in the top of the 3rd Refsnyder was on first base and Sabathia dropped one of the worst bunts I have ever seen right back to the pitcher and it winds up becoming a double play.

Then in the top of the 5th the Yankees got things going again, with two outs Gardner doubled to right field with Refsnyder on 2nd which gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Then the next batter Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center which allowed Gardner to score therefore making the score 3-1 Yankees. I was very confident in this lead until I remembered that Sabathia was pitching....Which made me not surprised that in the bottom of the 5th Conforto doubled to deep right field and scored Nimmo making the score 3-2 which involved a Yankees lead that would not last very long.

The very next inning in the bottom of the 6th Sabathia gives up 2 singles and then allows Matt Reynolds launch a 3-run homer off of him to give the Mets a 5-3 lead, at this point I am just dissapointment in the Yankees thinking that they have no shot to come back because this is how the entire season has gone.

Little did I know that they were going to spark a rally in the 8th inning. The inning started with a Gardner walk and then a strikeout from Ellsbury and then another Strikeout from Tex (which should not be a suprise to anybody) Then McCann comes up and singles to right which allows Gardner to move to third. This is where things get interesting... Girardi puts in Torreyes for McCann and he quickly takes 2nd after a ball in the dirt from Addison Reed. And now Didi comes up, our best hitter all season might be able to have his shining moment as a Yankee. After practically a 10 pitch at bat that had me biting my fingernails and the crowd going nuts, Didi bloops it into left field scoring both Gardner and Torreyes. I WAS GOING CRAZY!!!!

Now this is the moment that I wished we still had Miller and Chapman to pitch in this game but we don't so then we have to put in Adam Warren to pitch the bottom of 8th and 9th.

This is when we can move to the top of the 10th inning when it all goes down. It starts with an Ellsbury walk, a Tex single, and then a bunt by Gamel which was perfectly placed so that everybody was able to be safe which led them to bases loaded nobody out for Didi! He struck out swinging.... Then I started losing all faith thinking that they would not score but then Castro hit a deep fly ball to right center and I thought it was gone but Granderson was able to catch it and the Yankees were able to score that one run that inning and I was hoping that it was going to be enough to hold down the Mets.

Betances comes in to close the game and put it to rest... First batter was James Loney and he doubles to deep right field and at this point I was just praying that Betances would not blow this game. Next batter was Reynolds and he bunted back to Betances which brought Loney to third with only one out. Betances then hits De Aza with a pitch which brings up Rivera and all he does is ground out to Betances. This leaves 2nd and 3rd two outs with Granderson up... Everyone at the stadium is on the edge of their seats waiting to see what is going to happen... After a long at bat Betances throws Grandy a nasty curveball and THE YANKEES WIN!!! Part of the crowd was going crazy and the other part looked like they were going to cry.

Bottom line, out of the countless number of games I have been to in my life including playoff games, this was DEFINITLEY the most exciting and most fun I have ever had at a baseball game!

Follow Me On Twitter- @Yankeesfan0504

Most Popular Article of the Week: A Look At Yankees Newest #1 Prospect, Clint Frazier

By Patrick Hennessy seen HERE:

The Yankees have currently acquired the Cleveland Indians former #1 prospect OF Clint Frazier in a deal which sent Yankee Closer Andrew Miller to the Tribe. Frazier is a bright young prospect that we should take a look and welcome him to the organization with open arms.

Let's start out with this: Clint Frazier born September 6, 1994 in Loganville, GA is the Yankees new prized prospect acquired from the Indians. Frazier is an outfielder who mainly plays the corners but could play centerfield if needed. He is 6'1" and weighs 190 lb. He is currently only 21 years old so if he makes his debut sometime next season then that would mean he would be debuting at a very young 22 years old.

Now what makes Clint Frazier so special? He was the first high school position player selected in the 2013 draft taken with the 5th overall pick from the Cleveland Indians and he received a franchise-record $3.5 million signing bonus. He then went on to lead the high Class A Carolina League in hits (143), doubles (36) and total bases (233) in 2015 and then he performed very well in Double-A this year playing in 89 games with a slash line of .276/.356/.469 with 13 HR and 13 SB. He will come to the Yankees Triple-A affiliate the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders and will team up in the outfield with fellow top Yankees propsect Aaron Judge once he returns from injury in about 4 or 5 days.

Here are Clint Fraziers scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55. Scouts say Frazier's bat speed and raw power are among the best in the Minor Leagues and suggests that his ceiling in the MLB could be an All-Star. This is part of the reason Frazier earned himself a trip to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July. His strikeout and walk rates are trending in a positive directions which is a really positive sign for a guy who mainly hits for power.

It will be interesting to see how Frazier's career will progress within the Yankees organization but the only thing that we know for sure is that he has a very bright future.

Follow me on Twitter @Yankeesfan0504

Yankees Off Day Walk Up Music Recommendation for Greg Bird

The New York Yankees learned this weekend that Mark Teixeira would be calling it a career at the end of the 2016 MLB season. Many wondered if New York would bring Teixeira back on a cheap one-year deal or even offer him a qualifying offer after Greg Bird went down with a shoulder injury in spring training before the season but with that option now off the board I believe the Yankees are now all-in on Bird, whether they really want to be or not.

To be fair Bird has already resumed baseball activities including throwing, swinging a bat and such so he should be more than ready, or at the very least the Yankees should know one way or the other the status of that shoulder, by spring training 2017. Since the Yankees now presumably have to rely on him so heavily next season, and since we haven't talked much about him this season to be fair, I wanted to use this off day as an opportunity to look ahead a bit and listen to the music we will hear every time the lefty steps up to the plate inside Yankee Stadium next season.

When Bird steps to the plate inside Yankee Stadium the song "Right Above It" by Lil Wayne can be heard blaring through the speakers in the Bronx... and that same song can be heard blaring through your speakers now on this off day. Enjoy.

Revisiting the Idea of a Salary Cap in MLB

Whenever I was asked the question, as a Yankees fan, whether I would care if Major League Baseball instituted a salary cap I always claimed that I would be all for it. Much like we see in the NFL or the NBA year after year there are always those one or two veterans who have always wanted to play for (fill in the blank) or are chasing a championship ring or trophy who sign for the league minimum. There are also the players who are willing to take less money and restructure their contracts to bring in or keep another player a la Peyton Manning or Tom Brady which are all factors that I think would help the Yankees still “get their man” while playing within the rules. Then I got rethinking the whole salary cap thing with the new collective bargaining agreement expiring after the 2016 season.

First and foremost why would you want to fix what isn’t broken? Major League Baseball has been flourishing in attendance, television deals etc. for quite a few years now with loads of young talent and money flooding the game right now. Why mess with that by forcing a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yankees or other high market teams to carry lesser players just to save a few bucks here or there? Also, why bankrupt (for lack of a better word) teams like the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays who aren’t lighting $100 bills in their fireplace all winter long to stay warm because with any sort of salary cap comes a salary floor as well.

Player salaries are down across the board in Major League Baseball believe it or not from a high of 56% of all revenue being paid to players in 2002 down to 38% as recent as 2014. These rates will continue to go down as you see fewer and fewer Alex Rodriguez type mega contracts and more and more reliance on young studs and rookies, not to mention new television deals like the St. Louis Cardinals just signed last year for an easy $1 BILLION.

The Yankees would continue to win with or without the salary cap simply because of the team’s popularity and such not only domestically but around the world as well. The problem here is that I think the league would lose in the long run more than the individual teams with a salary cap so let’s hope the owners and MLB Players Association pass on that before the beginning of the 2017 MLB regular season.

Weekly Prospects Check In: Gary Sanchez

The future in New York may be right now for a few key prospects including the Yankees top catching prospect Gary Sanchez. After the flurry of activity before and at the August 1st trading deadline the Yankees had some newfound roster flexibility and they looked to fill those vacant roster spots with players from within their farm system, players like our weekly check in showcase for the day Gary Sanchez.

Sanchez has since recorded his first start at catcher, his first hit and RBI and a whole lot more but most importantly it looks like he belongs. He looks like he thinks he belongs and by watching him I have to agree that he looks more than MLB ready. I won't go as far as to make the Derek Jeter comparison but it's close in my opinion (based on his "cool as a cucumber" attitude, not his on the field presence, stats or anything like that).

Let's see what El Gary Sanchez has been up to as he presumably graduated from our weekly prospects check in to a daily special here in the Bronx:

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/8: The New Yankee Stadium

The 2000 edition of the New York Yankees consistently showed a ton of heart and a never say die attitude. This was on display once again on this day in 2000 when the Yankees went into the bottom of the ninth inning down 3-2 to the Oakland Athletics with the Oakland closer Jason Isringhausen on the mound. Isringhausen would throw just two pitches on this day allowing a home run to Bernie Williams on the first pitch he saw and another home run to David Justice on the first pitch he saw. Just like that the Yankees went from being down 3-2 to walking off with a 4-3 victory in the Bronx.

Also on this day in 1972 the Yankees put to sleep the rumors that the Yankees may be leaving Yankee Stadium as they signed a new 30 year lease to play in the "new" Yankee Stadium starting in 1976. The Yankees would honor the 50th birthday of Yankee Stadium in 1973 and would play their home games in the Mets Shea Stadium for the next two seasons while the House that Ruth Built was remodeled.

Finally on this day in 1970 the Yankees held Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium where Casey Stengel was honored before the game. The Yankees honored Stengel by retiring his #37 uniform number since he led the team to seven World Series championships during his 12 year tenure with the Yankees from 1949-1960.