A Biased Look at the New York Yankees, the Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports
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Did you ever see the movie, “Catch Me if You Can”? It stars Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and is directed by Steven Spielberg. For all intents and purposes it’s a highly enjoyable flick. There’s a line in it, however, that I feel compelled to write about. In the movie, Leo asks, “You know why the Yankees win so many games? Because the other team can’t take their eyes off the pinstripes.” What a load of crap. Here’s your 2011 New…York…Yankees…
Left field: Brett Gardner. 2010 splits: .277 average, five home runs, 47 RBI, .762 OPS. Brief: Gardner is considered sneaky-quick, swiping 47 stolen bases in ’10. His production slipped mightily in the second half, as Gardner batted only .233 after the all-star break. There are concerns within the organization that he will be the same player he was in the second half last season. The good thing for Yankees fans are those concerns are coupled with a fat check book that can go out and make the necessary tweaking if need be.
Center field: Curtis Granderson. 2010 splits: .247 average, 24 home runs, 67 RBI, .792 OPS. Brief: Granderson isn’t a hitter who will consistently hit for average. It’s a common misconception because he’s a speedy centerfield that can rob a sure double in the gap with the efficiency of a common criminal. However, Granderson has an elongated swing that can put him in extended slumps from time-to-time. Still, when he’s on, it’s hard to find a guy more capable of a standup triple this side of Jose Reyes.
Right field: Nick Swisher. 2010 splits: .288 average, 29 home runs, 89 RBI, .870 OPS. Brief: What a pleasant surprise Swisher was in ’10 for the Yanks. Makes me a little sick to my stomach to be perfectly honest. Swisher put up career numbers last year and was also a fan favorite for his “zany antics”. I hate that schtick: “I’m the crazy guy who’s out here to loosen up these up-tight millionaires.” Anyway, there’s also rumors that Charlie Sheen wants Swisher to conduct his first interview since he last ran into some…shall we say…trouble. This guy should buy a lottery ticket.
Third base: Alex Rodriguez. 2010 splits: .270 average, 30 home runs, 125 RBI, .847 OPS. Brief: A-Rod is now 35 years old? Daign, that must make Ken Griffey Junior eligible for an AARP card. Rodriguez produces, despite all the flak he receives. At this point, it’s a simple matter of health for A-Rod. He had a number of different ailments in 2010 including a nagging hip injury. One day he’ll be remembered for what he is, one of the best players of all time. And also for sun tanning in Central Park…The four dudes playing volleyball in Top Gun thought that decision was a little questionable.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter. 2010 splits: .270 average, 10 home runs, 67 RBI, .710 OPS. Brief: There’s certain athletes you don’t mess with. You hear me Hank Steinbrenner!? That’d be like my hometown Detroit Red Wings giving our fearless leader Steve Yzerman grief. And I don’t play that. So, Hank, keep Jeter’s name out of your mouth because he’ll probably make a remarkable play in a big moment and win you another World Series that you don’t need.
Second base: Robinson Cano. 2010 splits: .319 average, 29 home runs, 109 RBI, .914 OPS. Brief: Cano was arguably the best player in baseball last season. He seems to have climbed into that top-tier reserved for future hall of famers and perennial all-stars. Not to mention, the guy makes some ridiculous plays at second base and has tremendous range. It’s good to be good.
First base: Mark Teixeira. 2010 splits .256 average, 33 home runs, 108 RBI, .846 OPS. Brief: Big Tex suffered a nasty hamstring injury last year in Game 4 of the ALCS. He should be back and ready to produce as steadily as always. Teixeira has had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI every year for the last seven seasons.
Designated Hitter: Jorge Posada. 2010 splits: .248 average, 18 home runs, 57 RBI, .811 OPS. Brief: Now 39 years-old, Posada finally relinquishes his spot behind the plate to Russell Martin. I think this is a great move that should help increase Posada’s production at the plate.
Catcher: Russell Martin. 2010 splits: .248, 5 home runs, 46 RBI, .679 OPS. Brief: A former all-star, Martin’s production at the plate has steadily decreased since 2007. Nonetheless, he will provide a breather for Posada, who should benefit from not having his knee cartilage disintegrate at such an alarming rate.
That’s all for now…come back next week and we’ll take a look at all things pitching for the Yanks. Goodnight now.
Those pesky Red Sox won again last night so the Yankees are still sitting on their one game deficit. Still, at 50 wins, the Yankees are in the drivers seat (4 1/2 game lead) for the Wild Card and while that would be the backup plan, it’d still be nice to pass up the Red Sox here before the All Star break.
Yesterday’s game was a nice one as the Yankees took care of the Twins for the second straight night. A.J. Burnett had a really nice start and he improved to 8-4. He gave up two runs on seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Phil Hughes threw an inning of shutout relief and then Mariano Rivera got the final four outs to pick up his 22nd save of the season.
Three of the four Yankee runs came in 4-3 win came in the second inning. The big hit was a two run single by Brett Gardner. Jorge Posada went two for three with a run while Derek Jeter went two for five with a run.
The Yankees go for the sweep this afternoon. It’ll be Alfredo Aceves going up against Francisco Liriano. Liriano’s been solid his last few starts but hopefully we can give Alfredo some runs to help him improve to 6-1.
Those pesky Blue Jays knocked the Yankees down a notch today in a game where Andy Pettitte was roughed up. The Yankees were down as much as 7-1 but they scored five unanswered runs to make it tight but they couldn’t quite pull this one out.
Pettitte gave up six runs in six innings before yielding to the pen. David Robertson shined out of the pen and he struck out two and he didn’t allow a hit in 1 1/3 innings. Brian Bruney gave up the other run and that pushed his ERA up above 4.00.
Eric Hinske belted his first home run since joining the Yankees. Nick Swisher went three for four with a double and a pair of RBIs while Robinson Cano doubled twice and scored two runs.
The loss puts the Yankees a game and a half back of the Red Sox but that should be a single game by the end of the night because they’re losing to the Athletics 5-0. Now the Yankees hit the road. They play three against the Twins before heading to the West Coast.
This is the kind of roll I like. The Mariners have been in town for two games and they’ve lost them both, and that’s pushed the Yankees winning streak to seven. One more tomorow and it’s a nice little sweep. And it was another nice start by Andy Pettitte. He’s going to be hard pressed to retire after this season the way he’s pitched. He improved to 8-3 and he gave up just two runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts in seven innings. That gives him 222 career wins versus just 130 losses. His ERA and WHIP are nothing special this year, but he’s getting it done. Mariano Rivera picked up save number twenty with a shutout ninth.
Three Yankees homered. Alex Rodriguez went yard, as did Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera. A-Rod drove in two while Mark Teixeira went two for four with a run.
CC Sabathia gets the turn tomorrow as we go for the sweep. Jason Vargas throws for the M’s.
This game had a ton of stuff going on. First, it was the ESPN Sunday game of the week. Chien Ming Wang was fighting for his job and then the Yankees were going for their fifth straight win. Of course the game didn’t disappoint and even better the Yankees won. Mark Teixeira drove in two with a double in the first and then he came around to score on Jorge Posada’s sac. fly. Those three runs were all the Yankees would need but in between, there was definitely some excitement.
First off, congrats to Mariano Rivera. He picked up save number 500 with 1 1/3 shutout innings. Also give some props to Wang, who’s fighting for his job. He gave up two runs on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 before yielding to the pen. We’ll need to see more starts like this from him but at least we know he has it in him.
Derek Jeter was given a lot of attention last night. Steve Phillips thought he’d get to 4,000 hits but Joe Morgan disagreed. Then Morgan (who I still like but just says some bizare stuff at times) said Jeter would always play short stop and that would hurt him in his chances at reach the 4,000 hit mark. Still, Jeter had a nice game and he went one for two with three walks and a run.
The Red Sox lost, so the Yankees are now three games back. Even better, they come home to take on the Mariners and hopefully they’ll be able to add to that five game winning streak they have. Joba Chamberlain throws in the opener against Brandon Marrow.
This shit has to stop. The Yankees scored two runs in the ninth, but they stranded the tying run at third base in a 6-5 loss to the Marlins. The big ninth inning his was a two run triple by Brett Gardner and he also singled earlier in the game. Alex Rodriguez singled and drove in two runs while Derek Jeter singled, stole his fourteenth base and then scored a run.
CC Sabathia left in the second with a forearm injury. That’s not good. Just as bad is how the pen performed in this one. Brett Tomko took the loss after he gave up three runs and Phil Cooke got just one batter out but gave up a run himself. Tomko has an ERA north of six now so they might have to make a move there.
Now the Yankees deficit is four games. There’s a much needed day off and then Chien-Ming Wang throws on Tuesday. He has to show something soon because 0-5 ain’t going to cut it. The Yankees will get to see Braves pitching phenom Tommy Hanson, so this game could be a fun one.
I still can’t believe the Yankees lost ground with the Nationals in town. The Yankees took the opener then dropped the last two in a disappointing series. Still, they started to make it up for it by taking care of the Florida Marlins this evening.
Andy Pettitte did it again. He improved to 7-3 and he gave up a run on three hits without a walk with seven strikeouts. Not too bad an it allowed the Yankees to rest their premier relievers.
Melky Cabrera belted a solo home run and he drew two walks. Derek Jeter had another nice game and he went two for four with a double, a walk and a run.
A.J. Burnett gets the nod tomorrow night. Josh Johnson gets the start for the Marlins.
When you play a crappy team like the Nationals, you don’t have to bring your best stuff and while the CC Sabathia gave up three runs to the Nationals it was good enough to push his record to 6-4 on the season. Oddly, he struck out just two but he walked only one guy so maybe he was just keeping it where the Nationals could get the ball in play to let the defense take care of things. Mariano Rivera also pitched in with a shutout ninth and he picked up his 15th save of the season.
Robinson Cano had a huge day at the plate. He went four for four with a double, two RBIs and a run. Johnny Damon doubled and he scored twice.
The Yankees look to make it two in a row against the Nationals tonight. It’ll be Chien Ming Wang going up against John Lannan. I’ve actually heard of Lannan so maybe this one bears some watching.
You don’t see this happen every day but you also don’t see an offense like the Yankees have every year. Anyway, the Yankees capped off a series win over the Mets with a 15-0 beatdown and they did it with Johan Santana on the mound. By the end of the fourth, the Yanks would have a 13-0 lead. Even better, A.J. Burnett had a spectacular start. He gave up just four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings and he improved to 5-3.
It’s hard to pick a hitting star in this one. Derek Jeter went four for four while Johnny Damon and Robinson Cano had a team high three RBIs. Hideki Matsui had a team high three runs and he also belted his tenth home run of the season.
The Yankees still have a two game deficit thanks to that stupid sweep earlier in the week. Next up are the bottom feeding Washington Nationals. CC Sabathia gets the nod against some guyI’ve never heard of and don’t care much about.
It doesn’t get much better then the Yankees against the Red Sox. They square off for a three game set and things are right in the world. There’s no Blue Jays or Rays in the mix this year. The Yankees are in first place, and the Red Sox are in second. Of course when the season’s done, that’s how things are going to finish up whether Red Sox fans whine about it or not.
I’m heading out West in August for a couple of weeks. As much as I’d like to make it a baseball trip, the Yankees schedule isn’t cooperating. They do have a West Coast swing, but they play four in Seattle then three in Oakland. I’m going to be in California so I’m not going to fly up to Seattle just to see the Yankees dismantle the Mariners, but the Oakland series looks interesting. I’ll just have to pick up some Oakland A’s tickets. All three games are night games and all of them work. Even better, it’ll be a nice tune up because right after that, they head to Boston to play three at Fenway Park.
You have to love baseball. While this is kind of lull for pro baseball, it’s still great seeing the Yankees in first place. June is that weird month. The All Star Game is still over a month away and the excitement of opening day is a distant memory. Still, baseball is a marathon not a sprint and the games in this month have just as much bearing as those in any other month. The goal is to just win as many as possible.
Things aren’t going well tonight though. 6-0 Red Sox and time is running out. That means the Yanks and Red Sox will be tied, but it’s all good. That still leaves us two games to take.
Chicks dig the long ball so new Yankee Stadium is the perfect place to take your date. This trend continued yesterday as the Yankees pounded four home runs to account for all five of their runs in a 5-3 win over the Rays. Nick Swisher hit a two run shot while Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira all went yard with solo shots. In fact, four of the six Yankee hits went over the fence.
Andy Pettitte threw a nice game and he improved to 6-2. He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in six innings. Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera (save 14) then pitched scoreless frames each to finish up the Devil-less Rays.
That gives the Yankees their one game lead back. Now it’s time to go play in the shit box for three games. A.J. Burnett will hopefully pitch his heart out against the Red Sox while Josh Beckett throws for the Red Sox.
See, these are the Rangers we all know and love. The Yankees piled on twelve runs in a 12-3 beatdown and the Yankees had just about everything going right. Jorge Posada belted a home run and he drove in four to lead the offense while Derek Jeter continued his nice hitting and he went three for four with a run. Hideki Matsui also had a nice game and he went two for five with a long ball, three RBIs and two run.
A.J. Burnett earned his paycheck today and he improved to 4-2. He gave up three runs on eight hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in seven innings. It was Burnett’s fourth straight game in which he struck out more guys then innings pitched and it was his second straight win (both against the Rangers).
Tomorrow, it’ll be Andy Pettitte against Scott Feldman. The Tigers lost to the Red Sox so the Yanks still sit just one game ahead in the division. Three straight wins would be nice.
Joba pitched eight innings for the first time in his career as the Yankees took care of business once again in a 5-3 win in their finale against the Indians. Joba only struck out five, but he gave up just two runs on four hits and two walks in those eight frames and he needed 106 pitches. Mariano Rivera put the Indians down in order for his eleventh save.
The Yankees set a record today. It was the eighteenth straight game that the Yankees played without making an error. Not too shabby and it’s not a coincidence that it’s matched up with the Yankees hot streak.
Nick Swisher had the hot bat and he doubled twice and drove in two. Alex Rodriguez singled, drew a walk and drove in two while Derek Jeter went two for three with two walks and a run.
The win gives the Yankees a one game lead over the Red Sox. A.J. Burnett throws in the Yanks opener tomorrow against the Rangers while the Red Sox visit the Tigers.
Man, this was a tough one. The Yankees came back from four down only to lose it in the ninth. You have to kind of fell for Phil Coke. He gave up a walk to lead off the ninth then got pulled after a sac. bunt. Then David Robertson came in and gave up a walk and a single to allow the winning run to score. Coke takes the loss, but Robertson should have gotten at least an assist (in a bad way).
Phil Hughes was pretty unspectacular in his start. He gave up four runs in five frames but he did strikeout six with one walk. Chien-Ming Wang threw three innings of shutout relief to keep the Yanks in it but he gets nothing for his efforts (except maybe a rotation spot here soon).
Mark Teixeira was a one man wrecking crew. He belted a two run homer to put the Yankees on the board, then he had a two run double in the eighth to tie the game up. Johnny Damon scored two of those runs while Derek Jeter went two for four and he scored once.
The final game in the wrap around series is tomorrow and Joba gets the ball. Jeremy Sowers throws for the Indians. His ERA is close to eight so I like our chances.
Yeah, it’s been a while so sue me. Still, it’s nice to see the Yankees sitting atop the standings. They have two more games against the AL Central doormats (Indians) before they head home to take on the surprising Rangers. Still, at the end of the day, regardless of whether the Yankees win or lose, they’ll sit in their rightful place atop the AL East standings.
Mark Teixaira has done his job so far and my best is, he heats up even more as the weather turns. His twelve game hitting streak has turned his batting average from poor (.231) to decent (.275) and hopefully he keeps it up. It’s also nice to see Johnny Damon having a bit of a comeback season. At this pace, he should top his career high 24 homers and his current OPS of .899 would be a career high.
Then there’s the pitching. The Yankees near5.00 ERA can’t stand if they’re going to keep their first place and guys like A.J. Burnett have to step it up. Joba is coming back tomorrow so hopefully he’ll help things out. Even CC, while he’s doing okay, has to step it up to earn that big paycheck he’s getting.
Yesterday, the Yanks got the bats going. Robinson Cano drove in three while Hideki Matsui finished with a team high three hits. Jorge Posada and Nick Swishe both belted homeruns and CC Sabathia improved to 5-3 with seven solid frames.
Today, it’s Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano throws for the Indians. Man would it be nice to belt Pavano around.
Brett Gardner rose to the challenge after getting the nod as the Yankees everyday centerfielder. He went three for four with an RBI in the Yankees spring win over the Reds. Melky Cabrera also chipped in despite being on the losing end of that starter spot and he doubled and drove in three runs. Angel Berroa went two for four with a run.
Joba Chamberlain looked sharp today and he improved to 4-0 this spring. He did get tagged for two runs, but he struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. Phil Coke and Dan Giese each struck out two in their shutout frames to close out the game.
A-Rod is looking for a May return. It can’t be soon enough because we need that bat in the lineup. In the meantime, CC Sabathia makes his last spring start this afternoon against the Philllies.
The Yankees took care of business behind the arm of Chien-Ming Wang in a 4-1 win over the Astros. Wang got 10 groundball outs through his five innings of work and he gave up just a single run on three hits with two strikeouts. No walks either. I’ve never been a big believer in Wang the 19 game winner but I think he’s poised for a solid season this year.
Four different Yankee relievers threw shutout innings to close out the game. Jonathan Albaladejo was particularly strong. He struck out one and didn’t allow a baserunner in his shutout inning.
Austin Jackson singled and scored two of the Yankees’ runs. Jose Molina and Robinson Cano each had a pair of hits while Eric Duncan singled and drove in two runs.
Tonight, the Yanks take on the Jays in a night game. A.J. Burnett gets the start.
Alright, this is what you like to see. The Yanks dismantled the Phillies today and Joba Chamberlain was solid for three shutout frames. Three strikeouts, one walk, two hits. You have to like that. Kei Igawa also had a solid outing with three shutout frames of his own. Jonathan Albaladejo struck out two in his single shutout innning.
There was plenty of offense too. Nick Swisher went three for four with three RBIs. Cody Ransom went two for two with two runs while Xavier Nady went two for four with two runs and an RBI. Good, good and good.
Here’s a solid story in Brian Bruney. He’s looking to set up Mariano Rivera and to turn some heads, he came into camp 20 pounds lighter. You have to love that kind of dedication.
The Yankees next victim are the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field. CC Sabathia gets the nod against Tigers cast off Virgil Vasquez. I like our chances. Even better, the games on MLB.TV.
It’s been a while since you’ve consistently been graced by my prescence. Well, you need to wait no longer. After some fill ins, my time off is at an end. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do much with the off track Yankees History site, but the hope is, you’ll find me writing about the finest sports establishment in our fine world’s history on a day to day basis. Of course it helps that I’m unemployed but when Brian asked me to come back and write, it was hard to refuse.
While a large contingent of player’s are off at the WBC and while Alex Rodriguez is having his little vacation, the Yankees are coasting through the spring. Yesterday, Andy Pettitte showed us what he can do with three shutout innings. Phil Coke also had a solid outing and while he gave up a run, it was over three innings in which he struck out two and walked one. Then three relievers threw a shutout inning a piece to close out the game.
Angel Berroa singled and drove in two runs in the 7-1 win. Jorge Posada also had a nice game with two hits and two runs but his big test was the fact that he was behind the plate for the first time in a game this spring.
This afternoon, it’ll be Joba. The big hurler needs to work on some things this spring so hopefully he’ll have a solid outing.
Was it perhaps a bad choice of words, or are our ears geared to hear only certain words when discussing baseball right now? I will let you decide.
When asked how he felt after pitching from the mound again today for his fifth mound session of the spring following surgery to repair his right shoulder, Mariano Rivera replied, “I feel good — a little high today — but I feel good.”
What did he say? My ears cancelled every noise around me in order to hone in on this most disturbing recent development. “I feel good all year around after having surgery. I wanted to push a little more, so I feel good.”
Oh, thank you for clearing that up. I thought he was saying….well never mind let’s not even go there.
After pitching from the mound today he said he will be ready to pitch in a game on Tuesday, and will be right on track for the regular season.
The Yankees also got some perfect pitching today from A. J. Burnett, who struck out three in his four innings of work in a split squad game today against the Astros. This was his second start of the spring for the Bombers, and he is as advertised, and today was flawless.
This takes the Grapefruit League Record for the Yankees to 7-8-1.
The Twins are in town Sunday for a 1:15 pm game, and Pettitte will be getting the start.
In an interview that was taped for ESPN on Monday’s early afternoon, and then immediately released to air, Alex Rodriguez admitted to using performance enhancing drugs from 2001-2003, during his stay with the Texas Rangers. He seemed genuinely apologetic, and sorrowful to his fans and the Rangers organization.
In his home in Miami, A-Rod’s interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons went like this:
Peter: “Alex, this weekend Sports Illustrated reported that in 2003 you tested positive for testosterone and an anabolic steroid known as primobolan. What’s the truth?”
Alex: “When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day. Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid, I was naive, and I wanted to prove to everyone that, you know, I was worth, you know—and being one of the greatest players of all time. And I did take a banned substance and, you know, for that I’m very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then and Major League Baseball overall–was very–I just feel that–You know, I’m just sorry. I’m sorry for that time. I’m sorry to fans. I’m sorry for my fans in Texas. It wasn’t until then that I ever thought about substance of any kind, and since then I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”
Peter: “So your saying that the time period was 2001, 2, and 3?”
Alex: “That’s pretty accurate yes.”
Peter: “And what kind of substances were you taking?”
Alex: “Peter, that’s the thing, I mean, again, it was such a loosey-goosey era that that’s–I am guilty for a lot of things. I am guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions and, um, to be quite honest I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”
Like him or not he was honest , which is more than I can say for others who have the same accusations brought against them. He admitted his errors in judgment, and basically blames it on his naive youth and the culture of Major League Baseball at the time. It wasn’t right, but he has proven since then that he is the real deal, and didn’t need anything like that anyway.
It takes a lot to admit what you did was wrong, and even more to admit it to the world. Maybe getting this monkey off his back will elevate his level even higher, and he will start doing things in the playoffs that all his fans know he is capable of doing. This could have been the best thing that happened to his career, and maybe what he needed to help get the Yankees to another World Series victory, and start the new season in the new stadium off right, Yankee style.
As the 2009 season is approaching, the “steroids in baseball” conversation is long from over. I was hoping that we could put that in the past and remember the Mitchel Report, and the players testifying before congress as things that ended in the 2008 season. But now we have a huge name being mentioned in the biggest media market in the free world, New York City. A report in Sports Illustrated online came out on Saturday that uses Alex Rodriguez’s name as one of the positive steroid tests obtained in the late 2003 MLB season, when he was with the Texas Rangers.
He reportedly tested positive for testosterone and anabolic steroids, one of them called Primobolan, four seperate sources told Sports Illustrated. This steroid could be taken either orally or through injection. This unfortunately seems to follow the story supplied by Jose Canseco, also, in his book, “Vindicated.” Canseco alleges that he did everything but inject Rodriguez himself after he set Rodriguez up with known steroid dealers. The debate starts again.
The hard part about all of this is that steroids was not banned by MLB then, so on that note Rodriguez was only making a morally bad decision. However, if my memory serves me correctly, it is illegal. So we have that matter to consider. He broke the law, maybe not a MLB rule.
The problems of drugs in baseball has plagued the sport from the beginning of time. From booze during prohibition, to amphetamines, and now steroids. Pick the era, pick your drug, anything to get an advantage, and solidify your name as one of the greatest of all time.
When asked about these latest allegations, Rodriguez said that the MLBPA would have to be contacted. Everyone else close to the story has been contacted, and of course the usual “unavailable for comment,” “no reply was received,” and “never returned our call” seems to be the only response.
This has been a pretty rough week for A-Rod, as it started on Tuesday as excerpts from Joe Torre’s book, “The Yankee Years,” revealed that many Yankees during the 2004 season referred to him as “A-Fraud.” Now the Sports Illustrated article saying that he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Larry Bowa, who spent two years with Rodriguez in New York, summed it up the best as he commented on how the “drug thing” will definitely take away from the focus brought forth by the “book thing.” Alex might have a thick skin, and he has been known to let very few things bother him, but this is New York. I wouldn’t want to be A-Rod this week, it is a rough one. But hey, at least he is still employed, and his house is not in foreclosure.
Steroids or not, he did win the American League home run title and the AL Most Valuable Player for 2003 as short stop for the Texas Rangers. So put that in your pipe and smoke it; or inject it…whatever it takes to get the advantage.
Not leaving a thing behind in the big move across the street to new Yankee Stadium, the boss remembered to bring everything with him, including his check book. The Yankees have not hesitated to put themselves back in the discussion for the best team in the majors, this winter, with huge offseason signings totaling more than some teams entire rosters. This is the Yankee baseball of old.
Just in case you were wondering how the organization felt about the egg that was laid last year in their non-climactic end to a very climatic facility, the front office made moves this offseason that gets us Yankees fans starting to discuss World Series plans. In just a matter of three signatures the Yankees saw a total of $424.5 million leave their hands, in signing CC Sabathia (7-year, $161 million), A.J. Burnett (5-year, $83.5 million), and Mark Teixeira (8-year, $180 million).
Also, since the organization won’t seem to put this to bed, Manny is still available, just saying. However, Brian Cashman, Yankees GM, did make a remark that may debunk those Manny rumors, and get the focus on moving ahead with what they have. “The decisions we made this winter would complicate my ability to be aggressive in the free-agent market as we move forward … I’ll leave it at that.” So maybe there will be no Manny being Manny in New York, but until the Yankees officially say no, anything is possible.
With the aggressive tone to this offseason it looks like the Yankees are ready to christen the new ball park in style, with a World Series win. It has been 8 years since their last World Series victory, when they capped off their dynamic stretch from 1996 – 2000 with 4 out of 5, and it looks like “The Boss” is gearing up for another run at dominance with these few off season long term signings of some of baseball’s finest current players.
As if you were not excited about the new season in a new stadium, the Yankees seemed to have forced the issue, being front-and-center again in the national media, and AL East. This feels similar to those seasons, just 8 years ago when winning World Series Championships seemed to be a no brainer, and some of the league’s best talent asked to come to New York, and they got stronger every season. Yeah, this definitely feels like those times.
Joe Torre spent the afternoon in front of a line of fans and reporters stretching around the block of a Mid-Town Manhattan bookstore, on Tuesday, defending his new book entitled “The Yankee Years.” A lot has been said since excerpts starting leaking out last week about the book, and the feelings of those involved. Alex Rodriguez seems to take a couple punches. Mike Mussina, thrown under the bus, saying he thinks that Mariano Rivera is no good without him? Didn’t agree with GM, Brian Cashman? What the heck is going on here? Let’s take a closer look.
This does not sound like the Joe Torre we all know, some love, and most respect. He made it very clear that he did not violate any of the trust the Yankee organization put in him, and that he wasn’t concerned about any fall-out the book may generate.
He said that the book is not a “tell-all-exposé,” and would have been written regardless of contracts or positions in or out of the club because he started writing it while he was still the Yankee manager over two years ago. Even most of the ballplayers knew about it, whether they agreed or not wasn’t discussed.
The reaction was mixed from those die-hard Yankee fans who were upset that Torre aired some of the Yankee’s dirty laundry so publicly, however, maintained that he was not saying anything that they didn’t already know.
Then there was those who thought maybe it was about time that some of those things were made public, and chip away at some of the insulation that makes the Yankee organization so “untouchable.”
From what I can gather nothing in the book was done to harm anyone’s career as a Yankee, or Major Leaguer for that matter. Joe Torre maintained his usual level of class when describing certain events, and just made sure that he was telling it from his side of the story, that’s all. I think the thick skinned ballplayers and management don’t have too much to worry about. It is those easily offended, or maybe “Alex Rodriguez” types with little pain tolerances that might feel a push.
All in all, you can’t be a Yankee fan and not respect Joe Torre and everything that he did for this organization, including bringing 4 World Series Championships to the Bronx. I am on the fence when it comes to airing dirty laundry for a paycheck, but then that is why I am not a fan of Jose Canseco. But it sure does make for good reading.
It is currently on sale at all your local bookstores, or can be purchased through your favorite online book broker as well. And Joe, you spell my last name K-O-I-T-Z, just in case you needed it for my check. Or I’ll take a signed copy instead, I’m not complaining either way. Thanks in advance.
A lot has happened in baseball since the last time I have had the opportunity to be a part of BaseballHistorians.com. I want to thank everyone responsible for making this a reality for me again this year. I hope to become a spark that enables discussion, and hopefully bring you the information that makes this season a memorable one.
I welcome comments and opinions, as always, and I am really looking forward to spending this time with you here as we celebrate another World Series victory for the Bronx Bombers in 2009.
One of the bigger off season stories was the retirement of Mike Mussina. I thought it would be a great way to get started here again this season.
Now let us go back to the day “The Moose” announced his retirement. I was driving home from work and “sports at :15 and :45 past each hour,” told me that Mike Mussina is retiring from Major League Baseball. The day was November 20, 2008.
I came home and wrote this…
Some Things Still Get Better With Age
Thursday November 20, 2008 will live in the memories of every baseball fan, and especially every Yankee fan, as Mike Mussina announced his retirement today. The soon to be 40 year old right-hander leaves behind a career that started in the Baltimore Orioles organization in 1991, where he went 4-5 and had a 2.87 ERA in a total of 87.2 innings pitched, and ended with the 2008 season, where he took the mound for the New York Yankees in 200.1 innings, winning 20 games (for the first time in his career), and kept a low 3.37 ERA in the offensive strong AL East.
His career numbers are as follows: 270 Wins, 153 Loses, with a 3.68 ERA, over 537 Games (536 Started), and 3,562.2 innings pitched. Amazing.
He is overflowing with accolades, achievements, and awards. He is a five-time All Star, has six top five finishes in the voting for the AL Cy Young (finishing 2nd behind Pedro Martinez in 1999), and was sixth in voting this year (2008).
As one of the best fielding pitchers baseballs ever seen, he won seven Gold Gloves, four straight from 1996-1999 with the Baltimore Orioles, and the remaining in 2001, 2003, and filling his trophy case this year with one as well with the New York Yankees.
The Hall of Fame discussion can begin now, but not before you look at where he stands among the all time greats of the game. He finishes his 18 year career surrounded by current Hall of Famers on every list baseball has to offer in pitching. He was just 30 Wins shy of 300, with 270, tying him for 33rd overall with Burleigh Grimes, and his 2813 Strikeouts puts him at 19th overall (19 behind Mickey Lolich), and 10 ahead of the man that baseball named the crown jewel of pitching after, Mr. Cy Young himself.
Baseball is a game of numbers, and Mike Mussina has surely compiled enough of them over his career to be in same conversation with the greats. His 123-72 record with the Yankees, and 147-81 record with the Orioles makes him only the second pitcher since 1900 to be at least 50 games over .500 for two different teams (Randy Johnson the other). Given that both of these teams are in the before-mentioned powerhouse AL East that is no small triumph.
Baseball will miss Mike Mussina tremendously, but not as much as the Yankees. He has been the solid and steady force off the mound for the club since his free agent signing in 2001. This type of work horse, who gets the job done, day in and day out, year after year, are becoming harder and harder to find these days in the big leagues. It’s nice to have such a long look at this class individual. He did what many professionals strive to do their whole careers, finish on top, and that’s exactly what he did. Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career, and thank you for the wonderful memories you brought each and every one of us Yankee and Baseball fans over the years.
For all of the clamoring that’s going on out there, it looks like the Yankees are going to live up to their promise of cutting payroll. Yeah, they paid big money for CC, A.J. and Tex but they also cut a lot of fat out and they’re going to be less expensive and much better out on the field. 2009 will be the year of the Yankee once again.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t put too much stock in preseason NFL Power Rankings. I mean, who predicted way back when that the Cardinals would be in the Super Bowl. Out of all of the sports, I think NBA power rankings are the most reliable (and this carries through into the playoffs with the higher seeds winning more times then not). In fact the only thing less reliable are the College Football Power Rankings, which rarely if ever picks the National Champion.
If C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett weren’t enough for you, the Yankees made their biggest signing of the offseason with an 8 year mega deal for $180 million to bring in slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira. When you stack Teixeira with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, you have quite a formidable lineup. It’s been a while since two hitters on the same team belted 50 homers, but there’s a distinct possibility that A-Rod and Teixeira could do it this year.
In the meantime, the Red Sox are going after Josh Bard and Javier Lopez, the Yankees have made splash after splash. My bet is the Yankees have a ten game lead by the break, clinch in early September, and then skate to their first World Series win since 2000.
I got a sweet new baseball bag for my son for Christmas. If you’ve ever checked out Baseball Rampage, you should do so. To say they have a good selection of baseball equipment would be like saying that the Yankees have spent a little bit of money this offseason. For those Red Sox fans who don’t get it, it’s called an understatement.
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