Thursday, September 7, 2017

Can't Predict Baseball: A First in Major League History w/ Just 23 Fans in Attendance to Tell About it

When you think of the greatest games in Major League history and all the greatest feats in the game you think of jam packed stadiums and crowds rocking and the stadium going wild, right? Not so much on this day in 1916 when the Philadelphia Athletic's switch hitter Wally Schang became the first player in major league history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game. This feat would not be accomplished again until 1940.

What made this especially special was there was only 23 fans attending the game due to rain. This was the smallest crowd in American League history and for such a historic feat to happen really goes to show you, you just cannot predict baseball Suzyn.

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Gene Michael

The New York Yankees lost one of their own today as the baseball world learned that former Yankees player, general manager and executive Gene Michael passed away. He was 79-years old. Michael died of a heart attack and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his friends, the Yankees community and anyone who knew or was affected by his passing. I wanted to take the time this afternoon while we wait for the end of the Yankees game to honor Michael the only way they I feel like I can and the only way that I know how, by remembering his career, his life and what he meant not only to the Yankees but to this game we all know and love so much, baseball.

Eugene Richard Michael was born on June 2, 1938 and passed away on September 7, 2017. Gene Michael, or who was more commonly known as “Stick” for his 6’2” and 180 lbs. frame, played infield for 10 seasons at the Major League level including seven seasons for the New York Yankees. Unfortunately Michael played for the Yankees during one of the worst stretched in the team’s storied history from 1968-74.

Michael played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers during his playing days and also managed the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and 1986 posting a career 206-200 record as a manager.

Gene Michael was the Yankees manager in 1981 and 1982 before transferring over to the front office after his playing career was done. Michael made it all the way to the General Manager position from 1990 to 1995 and many donned him as the “savior” of the Yankees for his six years in the position. Brian Cashman and Gene Watson may have taken much of the credit for the Yankees dynasty in the mid-to-late 90’s and into the 2000’s but it was Gene Michael who built that team, no doubt about it. Michael restocked the farm system after George Steinbrenner, the Yankees owner at the time, gutted it time after time in trade after trade and even built the Core Four of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. It was Michael who also traded for outfielder Paul O’Neill when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

Rest in peace to you Stick. You will truly be missed and always be remembered, and that my friends is true legacy. Say hello to the boss for me and watch your “six.”

Yankees (Supposed to Be) Off Day Walk Up Music Recommendation

The New York Yankees were supposed to be off today as they travel to Texas to take on the Texas Rangers so now seems like a good time to check in with an old special that used to be run here on the blog, the off day walk up music recommendation. Today I wanted to cover and showcase the music of Sonny Gray, the newest Yankee, every time he takes the mound inside Yankee Stadium.

The name of the song is Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne. Enjoy and I hope you enjoyed the off day, not many of these left this season. 

Apple Watches, Cheating and the Evil Empire

Dammit, why didn’t we think of that? The word “that” is in reference to the Boston Red Sox using an Apple Watch to steal signs from not only the New York Yankees but from other teams as well over the course of the 2017 season. Stealing signs have been around since baseball and giving signs have been around and while it technically may not be against the rules (unless you use electronic devices to do so of course which Boston did) it can be a shady thing to do. To be fair I’m sure the Yankees have done their fair share of it, there were always those allegations that Derek Jeter received signs and pitch tipping from some random guy out in center field which I never truly believed, but this is a Yankees-themed site and it was the Boston Red Sox who did it to New York so of course I’m going to talk about it. Here are my thoughts on the whole debacle. 

I will say that I think it’s great that Boston fessed up to the league about it, honesty goes a long way with me, but I am not so sure that manager John Farrell didn’t know about it like they stated. Sure, I’d buy that Dave Dombrowski and other team executives didn’t know about it but I find it highly unlikely that the manager had no idea what was going on here. Rob Manfred says a penalty is coming and I am interested to see what kind of penalty the league will lay down on Boston for this offense. I mean, what can they do? Fine them? Money is a drop in a bucket to a Major League team. They can’t reverse the outcome of games and they aren’t going to make the team postseason ineligible or anything drastic like that so what could they do? I’m not so sure but I’m not expecting much to be honest.  

Will the league follow what the NFL did when the New England Patriots got caught cheating in “Deflategate” and suspend a player for a huge chunk of the season? Tom Brady was suspended four games, or one-fourth of the NFL regular season, after cheating in the 2015 AFC Championship game while the team was also docked a first-round draft pick so maybe something along these lines could happen to the Red Sox for this scandal. I’m thinking the punishment will be more like “Spygate” though, you know that other time a Boston-area team got caught cheating, when the team was docked a 2008 draft pick in the first round while the coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 after filming Jets coaches signals during a 2007 game.  

So what are my thoughts? To hell with the Red Sox. Dock them five-or-ten games and let the Yankees win the division. I’m being a bit extreme and a tad bit sarcastic but honestly something major has to be done. You have executives from teams being charged with hacking other team’s personal files and databases and now there are reports of teams using electronic devices to steal signs. Where does it stop, and more importantly when does it stop? It stops when the league stops it so no pressure, but the future of the game is riding on this decision. A slap on the wrist encourages more cheating but a stern and strong hand nips it in the bud. Stay tuned to see which one we’ll be talking about when the league drops their decision on the Boston Red Sox. 

So it Seems… An Off Day is Needed... And Mother Nature Had Other Plans Last Night

There aren’t many of these left so enjoy them while you can ladies and gentleman, an off day. The New York Yankees, and really any team at this point in the season, need as many off days as the league will allow. There’s always those who are struggling at the plate, those nursing little nagging injuries like Aaron Judge and his shoulder and those who just need a day to clear their head and be themselves. It is human nature and the 162-game Major League Baseball season is a grind. It is also a grind for the people writing about the team day in and day out as well believe it or not and a day off is great to catch up on bookmarks, writing or just relaxing and resting. Or that whole spending time with family thing if you’re into that sort of thing. Enjoy the day but don’t enjoy it too much because here in about two months we will be having these days every day and we will all be missing us some Yankees baseball.

Especially you. HEY YOU. I loves you. 

This Day In Derek Jeter Day & New York Yankees History 9/7

On this day in 2014 the New York Yankees honored the great Derek Jeter in a pre-game ceremony at Yankee Stadium. 2014 marked the final season of Jeter's 20-season career, all with the Yankees, and came with a plaque inside Monument Park.

Also on this day in 1974 the Yankees Graig Nettles was suspended for ten games after stuffing his bat with six super balls. The bat was shattered by a pitch and found by the Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Frehan. Nettles claims the bat was given to him as a gift by a fan in Chicago and hit a home run with the bat in this game for the only run of the game. The Yankees would beat Detroit 1-0 while playing in Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium was being renovated.

Also on this day in 1955 the Yankees Whitey Ford becomes only the fifth major league pitcher to throw consecutive one hitters. In his last start Ford held the Washington Senators to one hit, a seventh inning bloop single by Carlos Paula. In this start Ford held the Athletics to one hit in a 2-1 Yankees victory.

Also on this day in 1952 Johnny Mize hit a pinch hit grand slam to give the Yankees a 5-1 win over the Washington Senators. With the home run Mize would have the honor of hitting a home run in all 15 big league stadiums presently in use.

And finally on this day in 1908 the Washington Senators Walter Johnson continued to dominate the Yankees with his third victory in four days over the Bronx Bombers. In those three games Johnson allowed a total of zero runs to the Bronx Bombers. Johnson started the dominance with a six hit performance on Friday blanking the Yankees. Johnson pitched the very next day allowing only four hits and no runs on Saturday. The Yankees were not allowed to play on Sundays so Johnson had to wait to hold the Yankees to two hits in the first game of a Monday Labor Day doubleheader at Yankee Stadium for the third consecutive shutout.