Happy Mother’s Day! With no offense to Derek Jeter, that’s still the primary special occasion today. So I hope it’s a wonderful Mother’s Day for all mothers in the Yankees Universe. This is your day! None of us would be here getting ready to celebrate Derek Jeter Night if not for you.
Congrats to Derek Jeter as he gets ready to leave a permanent reminder of his notable Yankee achievements in Monument Park. Unless someone eventually takes number “0”, it’s the final single-digit number to be retired.
As the number 2 begins to make its way to the Monument Park Wall, it’s hard not to remember when it was worn by the late Bobby Murcer. Murcer wore the number when he was reacquired from the Chicago Cubs in 1979 until his release in 1983. Bobby was a great Yankee. I don’t really remember much of his first tour with the Yankees, but growing up in the Midwest, Murcer was constantly on TV with the Cubs. I knew his history with the Yankees and he was a welcome addition to the 1979 Yankees which would soon be marred by one of the team’s greatest tragedies (the death of catcher Thurman Munson). As a close friend of Munson, Murcer’s actions and words in the days following the tragic plane crash in Akron, Ohio were huge. It was easy to see how much Murcer loved Munson and the Yankees. We were later privileged to have Murcer as a Yankees broadcaster until his passing.
Of course, #2 recognition also has to be given to Mark Koenig who was the first Yankee to wear the number in 1929 courtesy of his spot in the lineup. Koenig, the team’s shortstop, was part of the famed 1927 Murderer’s Row, when he batted second in front of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.
Yankees third baseman Red Rolfe wore the number from 1931 until his retirement after the 1942 season.
The only person to wear #2 for more years than Jeter was Frankie Crosetti. Also a shortstop, Crosetti spent his entire 17-year playing career as a member of the Yankees. He started wearing #2 in the final years of his playing career in 1945 and continued throughout his 20-year coaching career with the team which ended in 1968.
While Number 2 is being retired for Jeter, the number will forever carry the significant contributions of those who wore the number before the kid from Kalamazoo.
The first game of today’s double-header begins at 2:05 pm Eastern. The Derek Jeter Night pre-game ceremony scheduled between games will start no earlier than 6:30 pm ET. The second game of the doubleheader will begin following the pregame ceremony but no earlier than 7:30 pm ET. Many former teammates will be in attendance including David Cone, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Gerald Williams, and Bernie Williams. Former Yankee greats Reggie Jackson and Willie Randolph will also be there, along with Dick Groch, an area scout who signed Jeter, former Yankees head athletic trainer Gene Monahan, and Jean “Soot” Zimmer, widow of former Yankees coach Don Zimmer.
Derek Jeter, this is your day…your night. Enjoy!
The New York Post’s Steve Serby had a Q&A with Aaron Hicks this morning. When asked what is the biggest criticism he’s heard that bothers him the most, he responded: “I don’t want to be considered…I want to be a starter. I don’t want to be a fourth outfielder. That’s kind of something that I don’t like. I’m better than a fourth outfielder.” I agree 100%. Sadly it is time for GM Brian Cashman to create the room in the outfield for Hicks to start. Without question, I would love for the Yankees to move Jacoby Ellsbury, but that’s not happening. So, it is back to Brett Gardner as the most marketable outfield asset for a trade. Gardner’s recent homer binge hopefully raised his perceived value.
Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year $21.65 million contract for the 2018 season. It includes a $1 million incentive if he win’s the MVP Award. The contract buys out Harper’s final year of arbitration eligibility and he maintains eligibility to become a free agent following the 2018 season. He’s making $13.625 million this year. To celebrate his new contract, he hit a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. I am anxious to see what he does when he signs that 10-year $400 million deal with the Yankees in a couple of years. Hal, it’s just money…
It’s not really Yankees news but Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta took a fastball to the face in Friday’s action. The pitch fractured some teeth and Iannetta’s nose, but the catcher is doing okay and hoping to avoid a DL stint. The pitch was thrown by former Yankees prospect Johnny Barbato, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this year. All the best to Iannetta with his recovery. It could have been much worse and I am thankful it was not.
|Credit: Mark J Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports|
Have a great Mother’s Day and Derek Jeter Night! Let’s take two!
After more than a year of speculation and news about the Albert Pujols contract negotiations, he shocks the world and accepts Arte Moreno’s $250 million to go to Anaheim. I guess you can blame the Yankees for this one. Don’t they always get the blame? If the Yanks hadn’t gone on a spending binge several years to secure the services of then-Angels first baseman Mark Texeira, the Los Angeles Angels would not have been in the market for a top shelf first baseman. Albert, of course, is more than top shelf, he is THE top shelf. Still, I was surprised by the move. The Angels have Mark Trumbo returning, a player they control, and a healthy Kendrys Morales. I am sure that there are other areas of the team that could have used upgrades.
The Angels did follow up immediately with the signing of top free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. I had a feeling that Wilson would be headed to the West Coast despite the Miami Marlins pursuit of the former Texas Ranger. He leaves the top of the rotation for perhaps the #3 or #4 slot with the Angels. The Philadelphia Phillies have been recognized for the best rotation, but the Angels cannot be too far behind with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and now Wilson leading the rotation. I don’t know who the #5 starter is for the Angels off the top of my head, but does it really matter? You could probably go grab Mark Langston out of retirement and throw him in the rotation…it wouldn’t matter.
This has to be a reactionary move by owner Arte Moreno. The Los Angeles Dodgers are primed to re-capture the LA market once a reputable, financially-sound owner or ownership group takes control of the team. After being considered the class of the AL West for years, the Angels have become an understudy for the Texas Rangers. Today’s moves clearly re-establish the Angels as the class of the AL West, and perhaps of the American League.
I do feel bad for the St Louis Cardinals and their fans. As an iconic player, the fans deserved to see Albert play his entire career in St Louis. Stan “The Man” Musial is beloved to this day, and Albert is the first Cardinals player that could have rivaled Musial after his playing days are over. Now, Albert will never be automatically thought of as a Cardinal. He’ll carve out a legacy as an Angel, and will give us reasons to remember him in Anaheim. A very disappointing day for the Cardinals. No offense to Lance Berkman, but that’s a big drop-off from Albert.
The Miami Marlins had looked like the crown prince of the Winter Meetings with their acquisitions of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, but they were torched on the last day by the Angels. It’s been a good off-season for the Angels, who earlier picked up a new backstop in Chris Iannetta.
Meanwhile, I can hear crickets at Yankee Stadium…
A little bit of nothing…
The Yankees did win the posting for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, but based on the reports I’ve read, the Yankees will have difficulty signing him. The leading speculation is that he’ll return to Japan for another season and then sign with the Boston Red Sox next winter. That would really stink if the Yankees lost a prospect to their bitter rival. But from Nakajima’s perspective, Boston could offer him a starting role at shortstop (something the Yankees could not do) and their manager has tremendous experience with Japanese players. The posting I want the Yankees to win is for pitcher Yu Darvish, but reports indicate the Yankees interest is lukewarm. Of course, that could always be a ploy to help keep posting bids down, but the lukewarm comments certainly proved to be accurate for the Yankees interest in C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle.
I remain hopeful that the Yankees have started the groundwork for a successful acquisition of a pitcher like Gio Gonzalez, John Danks, or Kyle Drabek. Brian Cashman may feel that he doesn’t need to do anything with a 97-win team, but I heard a GM on MLB Radio say that if you’re standing pat, you are getting worse. I agree that you need to consistently seek upgrades and for the most part, the Yankees stood pat last season. Catcher Russell Martin was huge, but at the time of the signing, it was very low key. Same with the signings of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. It’s been a very long time since Yankees fans have had a reason to feel great excitement and joy for a player acquisition like the Angels experienced today. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are getting older and certainly not better…
I know, we’re Yankees fans, we want it all…
Go New York!…
Now that the NBA is back, I am at the crossroads. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan in recent years, primarily because of my appreciation for Kobe Bryant as a player. But as funny as this sounds as a Yankees fan, I am tired of backing a team that is always expected to win and often does. I want a team that has suffered so that when the team does win, there is greater satisfaction. As a result, I am switching my allegiance to a team that has my favorite player, Amare Stoudemire as well as my second favorite player, Carmelo Anthony…the New York Knicks.
First year in Minnesota, worst year in the history of the franchise…
Despite my relocation to Minnesota, I remain committed in my support of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. And despite their 2-10 record, I am still a Vikings fan. On the bright side as a Vikings fan, I won’t have to wait long to find out who the Vikings select in the NFL Draft in April 2012. At this point in the season, you’re pulling for losses, hoping the team can overtake the Indianapolis Colts for the worst record. But of course, that’s a moot issue if the Colts can’t win a game. This is probably one of the first years ever that I’ve accepted and embraced that the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl. It’s easier to say that when your team was left for dead long ago.
I need one of my teams to step forward and win a championship. It’s been a drought since 2009, and I need something to cheer about!