Hey Billy, you’re fired!…
Pescatore/New York Daily News
I have to admit that there’s a singe of disappointment when I hear the Steinbrenner Family has no intention of selling the team. I admire Hal Steinbrenner for his disciplined and calm leadership style, and I do not disagree with the approach to shed excessive dollars from the payroll. There is no need to pay the exorbitant luxury taxes on dollars exceeding the cap when having the highest payroll does not ensure the Commissioner’s Trophy.
But…I admittedly miss the excitement of the bold moves by former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. George would often do what the rest of us were thinking. He overreacted, he overvalued other teams’ stars while undervaluing his own, and he was incredibly impatient. Hal exhibits none of these characteristics, but there was something to living life on the edge. You always knew the Yankees were going to be entertaining. I remember the 1980’s and how the fans would boo Steinbrenner, but I never did. I didn’t like watching former Yankees prospects thrive elsewhere while aging former stars with bloated contracts came to the Bronx. But you knew that George was never satisfied. With Hal, you don’t really know where he stands unless GM Brian Cashman tells you. Occasionally, Hal will give an interview that gives a little more insight but he is never too revealing. The days of the Bronx Zoo are nothing but a distant memory.
Hal talks about a long term plan that will cede control of the team to the next generation of Steinbrenners. He clearly has no intention to ever see a Donald Trump like individual take control of the Yankees. We’ll see if his approach is successful. I am glad to see the core of the young prospects remain in the organization. There will be losses, such as the Rule 5 loss of OF Jake Cave (assuming he makes the Reds’ roster this year) or 3B Eric Jagielo (sent to Cincinnati in the Aroldis Chapman trade). But I am sure these players are carefully evaluated before being sent away. For whatever reason, they were deemed to be expendable. In Cave’s case, it is a plethora of young lefthanded outfielders.
The perfect Yankees owner, in my opinion, would lie somewhere between father George and son Hal. Cautious but aggressive. Long term vision but highly competitive. Supportive but with an inability to accept ineptitude. I know there’s more to Hal than meets the eye, but being a Yankees fan today involves much patience. For those of us who grew up with Yankees impatience, this is a difficult transition. Nevertheless, the Yankees are stronger today than they were a few years ago, so they’re on the right track it would seem. Hal deserves more time to see if his leadership style proves to be championship quality.
Still, there’s the part of me that yearns for immediate results. So that’s why I felt disappointment when Hal indicated no plans for the future sale of the team. Yet, I am supportive of the current ownership team, and obviously I will continue to be a Yankees fan for the rest of my life. Life is about change. You adapt…
Chapman’s extended vacation in Tampa…
I am glad Commissioner Rob Manfred finally handed down the penalty for closer Aroldis Chapman. The uncertainty was becoming a distraction. I was anticipating something in the neighborhood of 40 games, so the sentence of 30 games was a little lighter than expected. It sounds as though Chapman’s decision to not appeal led to the shorter sentence. It’s a tough loss, and the Yankees will need to find strong relief for the middle innings. But there’s comfort at the back end of the bullpen with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Miller proved he is a great closer last year, and his attitude is even better than his skills which is rather amazing.
It would be better knowing that Justin Wilson was still on board to assist, but that ship has obviously sailed. It will be up to the younger guys, like Chasen Shreve, Bryan Mitchell, James Pazos, and others, to step up their game. The talent is there to succeed.
As for the penalty for Chapman, I am supportive. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and a cry for no punishment would be a plea for its continuation. My only hope is that Chapman learns from this, and he takes the steps necessary to ensure that he never crosses this line again. I really don’t know if Chapman will be a long term Yankee or if he’ll just be a brief member of the team before departing via free agency in the fall. But whatever the future holds, I hope Chapman is able to become a better man.
The Enquirer/Sam Greene
The team of low expectations…
As the Yankees stumbled to the All-Star Break, I was surprised to read the number of stories that said the Yankees may have a hard time making the play-offs if they keep playing like this. I hate to be the doomsayer but this team isn’t going anywhere. I love the Yankees and I’ve been a long-time fan, but there’s no doubt that this team is not built for October success. As it stands, a third or fourth place finish, if nothing changes, is the best case scenario for the injury-plagued, patch-work 2013 Yankees. When your ace pitches like Jose Contreras used to against the Boston Red Sox while wearing pinstripes, it’s fairly obvious that there are no 10-game winning streaks looming on the horizon.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a season where every player who has been injured, gets re-injured after his return. Hopefully, Derek Jeter just had a minor setback but at this point, it’s anybody’s guess what the second half of the season holds.
I still do not support trading top prospects for a glimmer of hope. I think any mid-season deals at this point would only strengthen the possibility of third over fourth. I do not see any potential deal that would make me line up to buy play-off tickets. I would so love to be wrong, and you could argue that the Los Angeles Dodgers have arisen from the dead to become potential play-off contenders, but they aren’t pieced together like a quilt comprised of Goodwill cloth.
Erase the standings…well, except for the Yanks…
Even though they aren’t in the top 3 in the AL in wins, I still expect the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers to be the last men standing when the ALCS rolls around. I don’t buy into the Red Sox “Juggernaut” and I expect the Rangers to eclipse the Oakland A’s this time around. Tampa Bay will be a threat but in the end, the Tigers and Rangers should persevere. Detroit will be so scaring if Justin Verlander starts pitching like he can and Max Scherzer continues his Verlander-like impression.
Holiday for A-Rod…
The latest A-Rod news has him proclaiming that he should be ready for the Bronx in about a week. So, I say, Commissioner Selig, where are those suspensions? It is time to send A-Rod to the bench. 50 games? Life? I would probably prefer the latter, but at the very least, the suspension should, in my mind, prevent his 2013 return. I do not want to see #13 on the field regardless of the cost. Sorry A-Rod, I am not a fan of yours.
What’s happenin’ in Scranton/Wilkes Barre and Trenton?…
At this point, 6 games down in the AL East standings, I’d probably prefer to see the Yankees give some younger guys a shot. This is not 1978 where the Yankees have the team to overtake Boston to win the World Series. With Rafael DePaula now becoming the most hyped Yankees pitching prospect, let’s see what he has at the major league level. I’ve watch the Phil Hughes Show and it deserves to be cancelled. It’s too bad that Hiroki Kuroda is nearing the end of a great career, the Yankees will be hard-pressed to replace both him and potentially CC Sabathia at the top two positions in the rotation if CC continues to struggle.
Do you want Hal’s office or Hank’s?…
So, should the Yankees re-sign Robinson Cano? Absolutely. He is the team’s legitimate star, and they need to build around him in coming seasons. If they are looking for a second baseman next year in addition to a power bat in the middle of the order and the other missing pieces, it’s going to be shades of the 1980’s as the team will have to have some down years before they can re-emerge.
Hope on the horizon…
I was glad to see the Yankees finally sign first-round pick Aaron Judge. Judge, an outfielder, seems to embody the right ingredients to be a future star in the Bronx. I think I read the Yankees had signed their top 16 picks which is good. It’s tough watching a guy like Gerrit Cole pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates knowing he was once a Yankees draft pick that didn’t sign. I kind of feel the same way about Josh Pettitte. I would love to see the Yankees sign Pettitte, but it’s been made very clear his path is college. Andy’s professional success has given Josh the financial security to make that decision. I can only hope the Yankees have another opportunity to one day draft Josh with the serious intent to sign him.
You need a clutch hit, I give you Donnie Baseball!…
Going back to the Los Angeles Dodgers, I want to say how proud I am of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. His team came into the season with very heavy expectations and injuries derailed any chance of a strong start. He became everybody’s favorite to be the next manager fired, but with a recent rally, he has the Dodgers within 2.5 games of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. I fully expect Donnie Baseball to surpass the D-Backs after the All-Star Break and he’s proven to me that he is a quality baseball manager. There’s a reason he has always been my favorite when he puts on a uniform and he is not disappointing me this year. He’s truly one of the game’s greats.
You’re a Knicks fan, I’m a Knicks fan, we’re ALL Knicks fans!…
I left the Los Angeles Lakes to become a New York Knicks fan before last season, and now Metta World Peace has apparently followed the same logic in signing with the Knickerbockers. I am not crazy about J-Kidd coaching in Brooklyn, but hopefully the Knicks can pull together some magic for next season.
Sorry, I still can’t get used to the short hair…
Congratulations to Tim Lincecum for his no-hitter. But it came too late to help my fantasy baseball teams as I cut bait long ago. I guess if I were a baseball owner, I’d probably be George Steinbrenner. Billy!!!! 😉
Why not dream big?…
Admittedly, I keep hoping the Yankees announce the acquisition of a proven slugger for right field, but the realist in me knows that the Yankees are truly serious about getting salaries beneath $189 million by next year.
I’ve also come to realize that whenever the Yankees are publicly attached to a certain player through rumors or expressed interest, those deals rarely come to fruition. Such was the case with Washington Nationals first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse who was subsequently dealt to the Seattle Mariners. I thought Morse would have been a good replacement for the departed Nick Swisher, but the Yankees obviously felt the cost in terms of prospects was too much. Of the remaining options, there’s always the chance that GM Brian Cashman can parlay his good relationship with Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers into a deal for outfielder Justin Upton. I am really not enamored with other possibilities like Vernon Wells.
I guess I am still waiting for that next Paul O’Neill type of deal to bring a fixture to right for years to come…
What if Boston’s acquisition of A-Rod had come true so many years ago…
Before I write these next words, please know that I am not a fan of Alex Rodriguez. Therefore, my words about him will always be jaded. My personal opinion is that A-Rod was as immersed into PED’s as the newly admitted doper Lance Armstrong. I look forward to the day when A-Rod no longer wears the pinstripes. When the reports about A-Rod’s ailing hip came to light, there were comments by his doctor that it was directly attributable to his poor play late last season. But today, the news headline is that the cartilage damage was “less than expected”. So, of course, my immediate thought was maybe the hip had nothing to do with A-Rod’s performance…he just tanked it as he always does in pressure situations. The man who lives for his own personal stats is not a friend of mine and certainly not someone I want on my team.
Yogi Berra’s heir-apparent…
I am very pleased to see Jorge Posada accepting an invitation to spring training as a guest instructor. There’s no doubt his exit from the Yankees could have been handled much better, but it is time to make amends and to embrace Jorge as a Yankees Legend. Without question, the uncertainty of the 2013 starting catcher is a great opportunity for Jorge to mentor the right candidate for the job. I think the starter will be Francisco Cervelli or Cervelli in a platoon with another catcher. As much as I like Austin Romine, it’s just not quite his time yet. Welcome back to the fold, Jorge! Hip-hip, Jorge!
Andy, just say “no”…
I know that Andy Pettitte has not committed to the WBC or Team USA yet, but I really hope that it does not happen. I am not convinced that the Yankees can get an entire season out of Pettitte who missed part of last year due to injury. I do feel that 2013 most likely will be Andy’s last season so I hope that we can get the best possible Andy for his swan song.
I guess Jenny Craig does work…
After seeing all those photos of “fat” Derek a month or so ago, it’s clear from current photos that he’s in pristine condition and ready to take the field. Derek has never been my favorite player (sorry, but Mariano Rivera has held that position since 1996), but he’s a future Hall of Famer and his number will be between Billy Martin and Babe Ruth in Monument Park after his playing days are over. Derek has impressed me with many things over the years but his renaissance after talk he was declining shows how truly special the player is. I have trust in DJ to know that when his time comes, he will walk away. He will never be a burden to the Yankees roster…unlike his teammate to his right.
Back to A-Rod, I really hope that Kevin Youkilis holds third base for the entire season…
My favorite manager is…
I can’t help but think the stars are aligning perfectly for Don Mattingly to return to the Yankees as manager. I do like Joe Girardi and I’d be in favor of an extension, but the Yankees’ sudden budget conservatism places the Yankees in a potential “letdown” season. If the team loses, can Girardi hold his job? Meanwhile, baseball’s new salary leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have soared expectations to unimagined heights. So, if the Dodgers underachieve, is Mattingly a potential fatality? Mattingly has become a good manager so if the circumstances yield a result with Girardi unemployed and Donnie Baseball available, is #23 the next manager of the Yankees? It could certainly happen. As a huge Donnie Baseball fan, I’d like to see this outcome. Sorry Joe…
Spring training is getting closer and closer. I am ready…
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”…
There is a reason that Mariano Rivera has been my favorite Yankee for a very long time. I know that Derek Jeter is a quality guy and a favorite of many, but for me, Mariano Rivera has always been the premier player in my opinion. It doesn’t mean that I feel Jeter’s not a great player…he is. He is most likely a first ballot Hall of Famer and will go down as the greatest shortstop in Yankees history (with no disrespect to Phil Rizzuto). But Rivera has always handled himself with dignity and class, and he’s always been accountable when things have gone wrong. He has never disrespected another player or team, nor has he placed blame anywhere but with himself. He hasn’t always been perfect, but he’s clearly the best closer in major league history (with no disrespect to Goose Gossage).
I have been dreading the day when Rivera walks off the field as a player for the final time. But I never dreamed that, potentially, his final moment would be inability to walk off the field under his own power. It was very disheartening to see the pre-game injury when Rivera tore the ACL in his knee this week against the Kansas City Royals. I kept hoping for the best when I first heard the news, but it is now known that he’ll miss the remainder of the season. Given that he is 42, the road to recovery is going to harder than if he was still in his 30’s. Nevertheless, withn 24 hours, Rivera was saying that he wasn’t going to go out like this and that he’d be back next season after much speculation this might be his final season prior to the injury.
If Mo says that he’ll back, I am fully confident that he will be. I am sad that we won’t see #42 come out of the bullpen for the rest of the year, but I look forward to next season when Mo perhaps takes the final lap in what has been a legendary career. I will always be appreciative that Rivera wore pinstripes, from beginning to end, and he’ll remain one of my favorites in the history of the storied franchise.
That first step is a doozy…
David Robertson has big shoes to fill as he steps into the closer’s role but I have faith and confidence in his abilities. I hope that Rafael Soriano is up to the challenge of making a positive impact as he slides back into the role of primary setup man. Just as Andy Pettitte has become a much more needed pitcher than he was when it was announced he was going to pitch this year, the need for the return to good health for Joba Chamberlain is equally important. I am glad that one of Manager Joe Girardi’s strengths is his ability to work the bullpen so I continue to view the Yankees relief corps as a strong unit despite Rivera’s absence.
A few favorites…
With Rivera as my favorite current Yankee player, it made me think of my other favorites:
- Favorite living former Yankee: Don Mattingly
- Favorite former Yankee who played during my lifetime: Thurman Munson
- Favorite all-time player: Lou Gehrig
- Favorite manager: Billy Martin (followed closely by Joe Torre)
- Favorite owner: George Steinbrenner
- Favorite current Yankee (excluding Rivera): Robinson Cano
- Favorite Yankees team: 1998 Yankees (closely followed by 1927 Yankees)
There are many other players that I will always have special feelings for…most notably, pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, for whom I attribute to why I am a Yankees fan today. I was a fan of the Oakland A’s and Hunter in particular when I was young, but everything changed when he signed with the Yankees as a free agent in December 1974. I had always admired the history and the tradition of the Yankees (the first book I recall reading was a biography about Lou Gehrig), so bring the combination of the Yankees and Hunter together brought me to the team as a fan. I’ve been a faithful one ever since that time.
I’d be remiss by not mentioning Mickey Mantle. A great player who really could have been even greater than he was. I was able to attend his funeral in Dallas, and I remember seeing a few of the former Yankee greats who were in attendance. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. Bob Costas delivered a tremendous eulogy. It’s amazing to think of what Mantle could have accomplished if he had held himself to the same standards as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera do.
Yogi Berra, of course, is an invaluable link to the Yankees’ history of success. There are way too many guys to acknowledge, but these are a few that stand out to me.
Hard to close…
It’s amazing to me how 2012 has been the Year of the Fallen Closers. So many closers on the DL (Rivera, Andrew Bailey, Drew Storen, etc.); so many demotions (Jordan Walden, Carlos Marmol, whoever is pitching for the White Sox, etc.); and guys who are on the brink of losing their jobs (most notable being Heath Bell). This is one of the only years in fantasy baseball where all my bench slots are filled with guys on the DL. But as they say, one guy’s misfortunate is another guy’s opportunity. Sports is about the ability to step up and take it to the next level.
Game of Stars…
I realize that Bryce Harper is only 19 but I am hopeful that he can find success at this level now rather than a return trip to the minor before he is ready. I can’t recall a player who has received as much hype (well, perhaps Stephen Strasburg) but I genuinely would like to see the player match (or even exceed) the hype. It is good for baseball. Robin Yount was in the majors by age 19 and I think he had a fairly successful career (<understatement). While I still question the signing of Jayson Werth, it is fun watching the accumulation of talent in DC. I am just glad they play in the NL and not the AL.
Where’s the caveat?…
When a pitcher throws a no-hitter like Jered Weaver did this week against the Minnesota Twins, they should come up with a degree of difficulty score. C’mon, it was the freakin’ Twins! It wasn’t like Weaver was facing the monster bats of Texas, New York, Tampa, Detroit, or Boston. So, while a no hitter is a great achievement, it’s hard not to discount Weaver’s performance.
What am I doing writing this post? I should be in line to buy my ticket to see The Avengers! Have a great weekend, everyone! J
Ah, there was a time when those words were such sweet
music to the ears!…
Granted, it was probably more like “Martin’s Back!” but
still, the name Martin and the city of New York is a great match. The latest Martin to set foot on Broadway is
former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. In theory, he has been groomed for this
opportunity by the best…former Dodgers manager Joe Torre and former Dodgers hitting
instructor (now Dodgers manager) Don Mattingly.
While he still has to pass a physical, Martin has apparently signed a
one-year contract with the Yanks.
Larry Goren/Icon SMI
Martin was one of the top catchers in the NL several
years ago but has regressed. He suffered
a torn labrum in his right hip last August and missed the remainder of the
season. I will be anxious to see what
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long can do with Martin. More than likely, Martin will be part of a
catching platoon with Jesus Montero, assuming the latter proves that he is
major league ready in spring training.
NY Daily News
Martin will probably be the only guy on the roster with a
name this long: Russell Nathan Jeanson
Coltrane Martin, Jr. Martin, born in East York, Ontario, will be 28
by the time the spring training games begin in February.
I like the move for Martin so long as it is not designed
to replace Montero so he can be used as a trading chip.
It was disappointing to see Cliff Lee decide to return to
Philadelphia on a 5-year deal for less money than he was offered by the
Yankees. I can’t blame Lee for choosing
a place that he is comfortable with, but I wish that he would have given New
York a chance. I grew rather pessimistic
about the Yankees chances last week when the Lee camp did not jump on the
Yankees 7 year offer. Like many, I
thought that he was headed back to the Texas Rangers so it was a bit of a shock
to hear that the mystery team was the Phillies.
All things considered, if Lee wasn’t going to go to New
York, I am glad to see him depart for the National League. I am not excited about a rotation that
features Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and now Cliff Lee, but that’s
only a concern if you make it to the World Series as an American League team
(nice problem to have). The Rangers fans
are glad they didn’t lose out to the Yankees, but conversely, I am glad that
the Rangers and Nolan Ryan didn’t get one over on the Yanks. Also, I am glad that Lee didn’t go to the
Angels or the Red Sox.
As it stands, the Red Sox have enjoyed a hugely
successful off-season compared to the Yanks, but I would not underestimate
Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner family.
As for immediate focus, I think the Yanks need to make sure that they
have the arms in the bullpen and I’d really like to see the return of Kerry
Wood. Of the remaining free agents,
there aren’t many that excite me. Manny
Ramirez is still out there but he’s a liability in the field and the Yankees
have the DH role locked up with Jorge Posada.
Manny’s bat is also not what it used to be and the Yankees don’t need
more ‘late thirtysomethings’ on the roster.
I’d have to say that I am mixed on whether the Yankees
should pursue a trade with the Kansas City Royals for starter Zack
Greinke. However, there will be
competition which of course drives up the trade demands so I am not sure that
avenue is the best given the uncertainty over whether Greinke could handle New
York (assuming he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to the Yankees). I’d probably prefer signing Brandon Webb or
pursuing Mark Buehrle in a trade. The
Yankees do have to do something about their starting rotation regardless of
whether Andy Pettitte returns or not.
Right now the #4 and #5 starters appear to be Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre
based on the current roster which is not very appealing. I am willing to give Nova a shot but if the
Yankees break camp with Mitre as their 5th starter, it’s going to be
a long season.
Why is it that Red Sox fans think the rivalry between the
Yankees and Red Sox is over on December 14th just because they didn’t
sign Cliff Lee? As Brian Cashman
indicated on a conference call earlier today, patience is the key. Somehow, I suspect the team that breaks camp
next spring will be able to compete with the newly enhanced Red Sox…
Congratulations to Hideki Matsui who signed a one year
deal with the Oakland Athletics. As a
resident of the Bay Area, I am sure that Godzilla will be well received and he’ll
be a great stabilizing factor in the A’s lineup.
It has been a tough week…
The week started on the wrong foot when long-time public address announcer Bob Sheppard died, but it reached its crescendo with the passing of owner George Steinbrenner. Monday morning, I was at the gym running on the treadmill when ESPN broke in with the story that George had suffered a heart attack. With each update, the news got progressively worse. Between 6:30 am (actual time of death) and 7:00 am, other news channels began to report that the Boss had died. ESPN lagged behind with their report of the death. It was difficult to watch the news unfold. At first, you hope for the best, but as each report got progressively worse, the realization that this may be the end began to set in, and of course, the finale was the worst case scenario.
I realize that George’s health had deteriorated significantly in the past few years. But still, I did not expect his demise to come so suddenly. Of course George was not a perfect owner. He clearly had his faults, but you could never fault his desire to win. I do not agree with the way people were treated at times. I became a Yankees fan at the end of 1974 so George had just been the owner of the team for two years. Instability at the manager and pitching coach positions was a given. It was a certainty each year that there would be change at one or both of the positions. I idolized Billy Martin and I was always so thrilled when he was hired and so devastated when he was fired, and it was a cycle that kept repeating itself until Martin died tragically on Christmas Day 1989.
The Star Ledger
By the time that Joe Torre was hired in 1996, I was so ready for stability. I had grown tired over the years of the constant change, and did not like the revolving door for players in the 80’s as the roster was constantly changing. I don’t know if it was George mellowing or if it took special personalities like Stick Michael to allow the core players to develop and management and coaching positions to hold, but whatever the reason, George was still responsible for the great late 90’s championship run that I will probably never experience again in my lifetime.
I admire and respect current Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, but he is obviously much more reserved than his father. I don’t think that Hal will ever gain the love (or the hatred) to the degree his father experienced. Well, I suppose championships are a cure for everything, but at this point, it would be hard to envision the son enjoying the success of the father. Time will tell.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I wish that the Yankees had been successful in landing Cliff Lee in what turned out to be the final trade negotiation of George’s life. But it was fitting for George to depart with a two-game lead in the AL East at the All-Star break. I also read about how his death was convenient for the family given that there is not an estate tax this year (saving them something like $45 million).
I think it is important that we remember George’s faults while we reminisce about his good qualities, and not try to defend those bad traits. They are what made the man…good, bad or indifferent…and frankly, I really wouldn’t want it any other way. I am glad to have experienced the Steinbrenner Era and I hope that it has helped to make me a better person as a result. I will miss George but I do look forward to the new Steinbrenner regime. They’ve already given us one championship so hopefully the dedication to winning will remain and we’ll see Hal and Hank at the podium accepting future trophies from the Commissioner.
The day brought several victories on the homefront…
Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP
The Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, on Saturday behind the stellar pitching of CC Sabathia. The game featured the potent formula that the Yankees hope will take them deep into October.
CC Sabathia + Phil Hughes + Mariano Rivera = Win, Hold, and Save!
CC was locked into a pitchers’ duel with Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Dice-K pitched masterfully on the day. His only mistake was a pitch left out over the plate with Robinson Cano batting to lead off the 6th inning. Cano took advantage of the opportunity, and gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead with his career high 24th home run of the season. It would be the only run that CC needed.
Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP
It would have been the final score except for an error in the 8th inning by Red Sox third baseman Chris Woodward. The Sox had speedster Brett Gardner caught in a rundown between third and home, but Woodward couldn’t handle a throw from catcher Victor Martinez.
Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP
The play extended the inning and allowed Johnny Damon to bat after Derek Jeter struck out with the bases loaded. Damon delivered a two-run single to raise the score to 3-0.
Credit: Henny Ray Abrams/AP
I realize that Red Sox manager Terry Francona is playing for October, as evidenced by his starting lineup (possible future Yankees left fielder Jason Bay had the day off). Nevertheless, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is clearly playing for the AL East Championship. I am sure that once the Yanks clinch the division, we’ll see a lineup that includes Shelley Duncan, Juan Miranda, and Ramiro Pena, with Josh Towers on the mound. For now, the Magic Number is 1 and the Yankees have a game to win.
Their next victory will be the 100th of the season. Joe Girardi’s second season has been very successful, so far. CC has played a huge role (no pun intended) in the team’s success. I know Zack Greinke is being highly touted for the AL Cy Young Award, but the Kansas City Royals reside in the cellar of the AL Central. Without Greinke, they’d still be among the AL’s worst teams. Felix Hernandez has also pitched great this season, but the Mariners season will be coming to an end in about a week. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, has the Yankees at the doorstep of the AL East Championship. Without CC, it’s likely the AL East pennant chase would have been much closer or perhaps Boston would have been in the lead. So, in my mind, CC has made a much greater difference on his team’s success than Greinke or King Felix. Admittedly, the Cy Young is for individual accomplishment, but CC leads the AL with 19 wins and is fourth in ERA (3.21). He hasn’t lost a game since late July and he has been the true definition of an ace for the Yankees. I know that Greinke has an ERA of 2.08, with 229 strikeouts, but seriously, there’s more pressure pitching in the Bronx against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays than facing the Chicago White Sox in Kansas City.
Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP
By taking the first two games of the latest series, the Yankees accomplished several objectives besides cutting the Magic Number to 1. First, I am the winner of the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. As her penalty for losing, Julia will once again grace us with a pro-Yankees blog entry. She’ll post a list of Top 11 Yankees players, past or present (and can include managers). The list will be in no certain order or ranking; she can simply choose 11 Yankees she feels have made a difference in the game. I would like to see a mix of different eras, including the present, but it will be up to Julia to decide. She will also be forced to wear a Yankees t-shirt in photographs near famous Boston landmarks. The pink Yankees hat is optional.
I had a tough time trying to decide what t-shirt Julia should wear. My initial thought was to go with the player I felt was most instrumental in the series win. Despite CC’s great performance yesterday, the table was set on Friday night with the hitting (and stealing) show put on by Alex Rodriguez. However, A-Rod has certain past indiscretions that made him an illogical choice. I thought about Robinson Cano or CC, but I really wanted someone that represented the Yankees like no other. With that in mind, the choice became clear. “I’m Not A Headline Guy” is a tribute to Lou Gehrig so it is only right that Julia must wear a #4 jersey…
The second benefit of the Yankees victory is they have denied the Red Sox the opportunity to break champagne on Yankee Stadium soil. If they had clinched the Wild Card slot while in the Bronx, they would have become the first team to break bubbly at the new stadium. However, with two Sox losses and a win by the Texas Rangers yesterday, Boston’s Magic Number stands at 3, making it impossible to clinch on Sunday. As a result, the Yankees are the only team with the chance to spill some champagne today so life is good…
Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe wrote “Today might be a good day to employ the half-full theory. Cover your eyes, let the Yankees celebrate, and think about October”.
Credit: Henny Ray Abrams/AP
Yes, today is our day to celebrate. It is time for the Yankees to put closure on the AL East Championship! Tomorrow, we can join the RSN in thinking about October!
By the way, nice play by Boston’s Victor Martinez.
Credit: Henny Ray Abrams/AP
It’s the changing of the guard in Boston, as Jason Varitek makes his way to the exit door. Tek has been a worthy opponent, and I am sure that we’ve not seen the last of #37 who is a future manager waiting to happen…
Credit: Simmons/Daily News
P.S. Congratulations to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes for their 21-10 victory over the fifth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night. The Hawkeyes upset Penn State last year, so the Nittany Lions were seeking revenge. It was not meant to be as the unranked Hawks moved to 4-0 on the season. As a lifetime Hawkeyes fan, success has been very fleeting so it’s always a great time when they can play with the big boys. J
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P.S.S. Good luck to A.J. Burnett’s father, who undergoes surgery on Monday. Bill Burnett will have triple-bypass surgery. A.J.’s start was pushed back to Tuesday so that he could make the trip to Arkansas to be with his dad. Best wishes for a successful surgery, followed by a speedy recovery!