My interest in Baseball began in my childhood like most fans.
I can remember NFL Football as the first sport I discovered but my passion and love for Major League Baseball started a few years later and quickly rose to favored status.
I consider 1972 as the year I started following Football with close interest. That’s the year I became a fan of Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings. I was aware of Football in the immediate preceding years, but my father died in early 1972 at the age of 42. I found the Vikings gave me something to focus on as I processed my grief.
Along this same time period, I started following the Oakland A’s. In the 1970’s, they were a very colorful team with a unique owner and a collective cast of characters that were routinely championship caliber. But the one player that stood out to me was A’s starting pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter. As a North Carolina farmer, fisherman, and general outdoor enthusiast, Catfish had a very easy and engaging personality to go with the fantastic arm.
During the 1974 season, Catfish finished 25-12, with a 2.49 ERA, while winning the AL Cy Young Award. Meanwhile, the A’s were winning their third consecutive World Series championship.
I had been aware of the perfect game that Catfish had thrown during the 1968 season and it was easy to identify with him as my favorite active player.
One of the very first books that I read was a biography about Yankees legend Lou Gehrig so I naturally carried positive feelings about the Pinstripers and their rich, legendary history.
This set the stage for December 31, 1974. After aggressive pursuit by the majority of the MLB teams, Catfish, a free agent, signed a five-year contract with the New York Yankees.
I remember feelings of disappointment that the A’s had allowed Catfish to become a free agent and could not envision myself as an A’s fan without him on the mound despite their recent history of success.
So, on the day Catfish signed with New York, I officially decided to become a Yankees fan. The team had struggled during the preceding decade but my preference was to follow Catfish, even with a potentially losing team, over continuing to root for the A’s.
From that day forward, I have never looked back as the Yankees have been my team ever since.
After a couple of years, catcher Thurman Munson replaced Catfish as my favorite baseball player but the love of the Yankees deepened with each passing year.
I will always credit Lou Gehrig for creating my positive perception of the Pinstripes, and Catfish Hunter for bringing it all together.
42 has multiple meanings for me. It is the number of years I’ve been a Yankees fan, it was the number of years my father walked the Earth, it is the symbol of one of Baseball’s greatest players (Jackie Robinson), and the number of one of my all-time favorite Yankees (Mariano Rivera).
Today, December 31, 2016, I look back on the many great memories (the tremendous victories and the heartbreaking losses) the Yankees have provided, and look forward to the the bright future and continuation of the success of Baseball’s most storied franchise.
I am grateful to be a Yankees fan…
I am glad that the Yankees moved quickly to re-sign
Manager Joe Girardi. It’s not like
Girardi was going anywhere, but the team has much greater things to be
concerned about than negotiating with Girardi.
Once the Chicago Cubs named Mike Quade as their permanent manager, there
was really no question that Girardi would be back in New York. Of course, to listen to Girardi, Chicago was
never an option, but I have to believe at some level it was.
From everything I’ve read, Girardi was more like
the 2008 version in September than the 2009 version that was more relaxed and a
better players manager. Was it
uncertainty about his own future or the sluggish play of his team? Who knows, but whatever the cause, Girardi
has the comfort of knowing he should be able to call Yankee Stadium home for
the next 3 years.
For me, I had held a glimmer of hope that somehow
Don Mattingly could get the job but of course that was nixed the moment the Los
Angeles Dodgers made Donnie Baseball their manager following the departure of
Joe Torre. Outside of Mattingly, there
really was no other manager that I would have preferred to see hold the Yankees
job than Girardi. Well, maybe Terry
Francona, but rumor has it that he already has a job.
2011 will be a very challenging year for the
Yankees. They have an albatross or two
to deal with. It’s tough to sink over
$80 million into a pitcher that was a nightmare for most of the season (A.J.
Burnett). I saw a recent fan poll that
actually showed Yankee fans would prefer Javier Vazquez over Burnett. That’s bad.
The first order of business for the new pitching coach, whenever he is
named, will be to restore Burnett to the pitcher he is capable of being. Also, decisions have to be made regarding the
Core, primarily Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
Assuming DJ re-signs with the Yanks, he’ll continue to play at short but
will he lead off? Based on comments at
Girardi’s press conference, it would appear that this is being heavily
reconsidered (and rightfully so). As
Posada, the time is clearly now to move on to the next great Yankees catcher,
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
There are many hard decisions to be made between
now and spring training so hopefully Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are prepared
to make the right decisions for the best interests of the 2011 New York
So far, the World Series has been all San Francisco
Giants. It was clear they had superior
pitching in the NLCS but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their play in the
first two games. I’ve always been a fan
of Matt Cain and he certainly has raised his game to a higher level during this
post-season. With a 2 games to none
lead, the series now shifts to Arlington, Texas. I am sure that we’ll see a much different
Rangers team in their home park, but if the Giants can win a game or two on the
road, I really like their chances to win the World Series.
I spent 14 years in Dallas and used to go to
Arlington to watch the Rangers play quite often. You’d think that I would pull for the Rangers
but as an American League fan, it is hard to pull for anyone other than the
Yankees. Plus, many of the times that I’d
go to Arlington, it was to see the Yankees so I was consistently cheering
against the Rangers. Meanwhile, I’ve
always been a fan of the Giants in the National League even though I didn’t
move to the Bay Area until about 5 years ago.
So, given my current geographic location, it wasn’t hard to pull for the
Finally, I just don’t think there is any way that
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress pulls the plug on Brett Favre’s
consecutive games playing streak this Sunday against the New England
Patriots. While the best decision is to
probably start Tavaris Jackson, it’s a no-win situation for Childress if he
pulls Favre. So, win or lose, expect to
see #4 on the field when the Vikings take the ball.
As for the Vikings-Patriots game, I have made yet
another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.
The loser of the game must write a blog about the highlights of the opposing
team’s history. I know, the Patriots
have a more illustrious history than the Vikings, but I personally will like
reading about Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton and the others who made the Vikes such a
great success in the late 60’s and 70’s.
I know, I still owe Julia for another lost wager at
the end of the baseball season. I will
try to make good this weekend.
Caffalo/NY Daily News
Finally, here is a great video of an awesome Giants fan who just can’t stop believin’…
Like an old pair of shoes, Jose Veras has been tossed aside…
With the return of Mo’s set up guy, Brian Bruney, the Yankees had to make a roster decision and it meant the end of the line for Jose Veras (who was DFA’d). Veras could have protected his spot had he shown any flashes of his performance of last year, but it was not meant to be. I wish him luck wherever he goes, and hopefully he’ll recapture the promise of a year ago in a less pressurized situation.
David L. Pokress/Newsday
I wonder if Bruney got a congratulatory card from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez for his return?
Umm, probably not…
I am on a business trip to Denver, Colorado, so I am a little removed from the baseball action. I know, the Rays are at Coors Field, and I can’t go…what’s wrong with that picture?
By the way, I used to live two blocks from Coors Field. I definitely miss those days!
Nevertheless, the Yankees did play a game tonight. The Washington Nationals are in the Bronx for a three-game series with the Yanks. Everybody is quick to say that it will be a three-game sweep, but I don’t think it will be that easy. The Yanks always have trouble against the teams they are supposed to beat, so I could see the Nats steal a win or two. Fortunately, tonight was not the night for the Nats as they fell to the Yankees, 5-3.
The Yankees led 2-0 until the 5th inning when Anderson Hernandez unloaded a three-run homer on CC Sabathia. Of course, that provoked an email from Julia (“You are losing to the Nats????”. But hey, 15-0 games are boring…or even the 8-2 yawner that the Red Sox put on the Florida Marlins. With 21 come from behind wins, now 22, the Yanks came roaring back in the 7th inning against old friend Ron Villone. Johnny Damon singled to open the inning, and he scored on Mark Teixeira’s double. Following an A-Rod strikeout, Robinson Cano hit a double that scored Tex. Cano was thrown out attempting to stretch the double into a triple. Ramiro Pena added an insurance run in the 8th inning with a RBI single.
Cano was clearly the star of the game as he went 4-for-4, with 2 RBI’s and a run scored. He also shined defensively.
CC Sabathia (6-4) picked up the win, and Mariano Rivera earned his 15th save. Brian Bruney made his first appearance following his stint on the DL, and came into the game during the 8th inning after CC walked another old friend, Nick Johnson. That brought the Nats’ best hitter, Ryan Zimmerman, to the plate. Hey Bruney, no pressure!
Fortunately, Zimmerman grounded out and the inning was over. Welcome back, Bruney! We don’t care what K-Rod says about you…you are the star of the 8th inning — exactly where we need you to be!
The Nats should have an excellent chance for victory on Wednesday with Chien-Ming Wang on the mound…
It’s sure is starting to sound like Brett Favre will be wearing Purple this fall. He is definitely making much reference to the fact that no one remembers that Vince Lombardi ended his career as Head Coach of the Washington Redskins. All I can say is that I am glad my childhood idol, Fran Tarkenton, retired with the Vikings. I don’t know what I would have thought if he had played with the Green Bay Packers during his final year, but I have to believe that it would have changed my perception of Sir Francis…
Oh, by the way, CONGRATULATIONS to the new NBA Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers!
Paul Rodriguez/Orange County Register
Now, if the Yankees can only win the World Series…