Tagged: New York Yankees

My Apology to Julia’s Rants…

I owe the great Irish ranter from Boston a huge apology…

 

 

I posted a blog last night, and said Julia of Julia’s Rants (loser of a recent bet that you may have heard about) couldn’t post a blog about certain Yankees that I have mentioned in the past, like Billy Martin, Catfish Hunter and Thurman Munson.  Unknown to me, Julia had already written a blog tribute to Number 15 and had to trash it as a result of my blog.  When my son was little, he was constantly changing the rules of any games we played to suit his advantage.  It used to drive me nuts.  So, of course, that’s exactly what I did to Julia and I am sorry. 

 

Nevertheless, her choice for an alternative second Yankees blog is terrific!  She wrote about the late Bobby Murcer.  I could never imagine what it must have been like to follow a legend like Mickey Mantle with unrealistic fan expectations.  But Bobby handled it with class and dignity.  Bobby was a great ballplayer, an awesome broadcaster, and wonderful human being. 

 

AP

 

Excellent choice, Julia!  Two terrific blogs in a row!  Keep up the great work! 

 

JR LOSES IN RETURN TO CHICAGO

 

The San Jose Sharks lost last night’s game, 6-5, in Chicago against the Blackhawks in a shootout.  The Sharks, who had trailed by three goals at one point, rallied to tie the score.  But the Blackhawks won the shootout 2-0.

 

Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin keeps an eye on San Jose's Devin Setoguchi as Joe Thornton leaps out of the way and the Hawks' Colin Fraser dives to try block shot. Setoguchi scored on the play for San Jose's 1st goal, tying the score at 1-1.

Charles Cherney, Chicago Tribune

 

It was appropriate that the final shot in the shootout was delivered by Jeremy Roenick.  But there were no heroics as his former Phoenix teammate, Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, blocked the shot with his chest.  I can still remember the Coyotes fans screaming “Hob-ee-BOOOO-lin”!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t pulling for him this time.  Roenick blamed the miss on indecision, as he had planned to go short side on Khabibulin, but changed his mind at the last second.  Perhaps the loss had more to do with the fact that JR was raised in Boston!  Just kidding, Julia!

 

By tying the Blackhawks in regulation, the Sharks still picked up a point to put them atop the overall NHL standings (tied with the Detroit Red Wings).  But the team was disappointed with only a single point. 

 

“You never want to take satisfaction with one point,” said right wing Devin Setoguchi, who scored twice for the Sharks. “That’s not our mentality.”

 

JULIA, THIS TITO’S FOR YOU…

 

Considering Julia spent so much writing a draft about Thurman Munson that never reached her blog, I will post this photo of Tito for her.

 

 

Oops, not that Tito!

 

This Tito!

 

 

 

Per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org), here is Tito’s highly successful Red Sox managerial record:

 

Year

Regular Season

Postseason

Won

Lost

Win %

Finish

Won

Lost

Win %

Result

2004

98

64

.605

2nd in AL East

11

3

.785

Won World Series

2005

95

67

.586

2nd in AL East

0

3

.000

Lost in ALDS

2006

86

76

.531

3rd in AL East

 

2007

96

66

.593

1st in AL East

11

3

.785

Won World Series

2008

95

67

.586

2nd in AL East

6

5

.545

Lost in ALCS

 

 

I look forward to Julia’s final pro-Yankees blog!  

 

Have a great day, everyone!

 

–Scott

Why Did You Become A Fan of…

The question has been asked on multiple blogs, but it is always very relevant and quite interesting…

Why did you become a fan of your favorite baseball team?

Often, it’s simply geography or a family’s passion that is passed from generation to generation.  But other times, there are deeper, individual reasons for why we follow certain teams. 

I have always been quick to say that I became a Yankees fan on December 31, 1974.  That’s the day Oakland A’s free-agent pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter signed a 5-year, $3.75 million contract with the Yankees.

 

Walter Iooss Jr/SI

The early 70’s were a great time to be an A’s fan, and I was on the bandwagon like all my friends.  But I was starting to get older and had gained a better awareness and understanding of baseball.  After some careful thought, I decided to follow Hunter to New York in terms of my loyalty and support.  I was immediately captivated by the personalities on the Yankees roster, and Billy Martin was quickly my all-time favorite manager.  Thurman Munson became my idol, and I can still remember the magic and excitement when Chris Chambliss hit the game winning home run in the 1976 ALCS against the Kansas City Royals (I remember watching his foot placement in the batter’s box and feeling that something huge was about to happen).

 

New York Daily News

I remember my mom was getting tired of me telling her that Reggie Jackson had hit another home run in the 1977 World Series, and sadly, I remember exactly where I was on August 2, 1979.

 

Yet, when I think about why I was attracted to the Yankees, it really happened much earlier.  When I was about 7 or 8, I read a book about Lou Gehrig. 

At the time, I was just starting to become aware of Major League baseball.  I was drawn to the history and aura of the game.  I “discovered” pro football first, but baseball quickly passed football as my true love.  Today, Lou Gehrig is my personal all-time hero, and hence, the source of the name for my blog.

“I’m not a headline guy.  I know that as long as I was following Babe Ruth to the plate I could have stood on my head and no one would have known the difference.”

–Lou Gehrig

There are multiple meanings in this quote for me personally.  Not only does it pay homage to the great class and character of Lou Gehrig, but it also recognizes that I am among greatness at MLBlogs with so many outstanding writers.

I have always been drawn to the history of the Yankees, so I think the book about Gehrig set the stage for my conversion from an A’s fan to a Yankees fan a few years later. 

A very moving article to read is the “This Morning with Shirley Povich” column that appeared in the Washington Post on July 5, 1939.  The Washington Senators played a double-header against the Yankees on July 4th, and Gehrig gave his immortal farewell speech between games.

Yankees manager Joe McCarthy made the following statement at the mike that day while openly crying:  “Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came to my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ball player because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that.”

I think that quote alone can sum up why I feel that Lou Gehrig was such a special person…

The Senators won the first game, 3-2, but the Yankees came back to win the second game, 11-1, after Gehrig’s farewell.

This is an excellent tribute to Lou… 

 

Who would have known it would set me on a collision course against Julia of Julia’s Rants? 😉 

Now, the Yankees win…

A week ago, the Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox and lost 8-4.  Thanks to the loss, I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend immersed in the Red Sox Nation as I wrote three blogs about Red Sox players (the penalty for losing to Julia of Julia’s Rants).  The Yankees have not lost since that game.  What’s up with that?  Guys, where were you when I needed you?

Next time I need you, please be ready!  Hint:  It involves Fenway Park!

So, when you see the Bat Signal, be ready to play! 

You know the phrase ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game’?  It DOES NOT apply here! 

“Sure, winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing.”

— UCLA Football Coach Red Sanders, 1955

April 24th through April 26th.  I expect three victories..nothing more, but absolutely nothing less!  Do you want me to lose to this woman again?  C’mon, please help out a desperate Yankee fan!

Hey, Elizabeth and Bob, your votes don’t count!  😉

Today, the Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins, 4-2.  I will start by offering my apologies to Erin of Plunking Gomez.  The outcome may have been different had Joe Mauer played or if Jose Mijares didn’t, as Erin suggested. 

But it was great to see Mark Teixeria’s first spring homer and a solid pitching performance by Phil Hughes.  Also, it was great to see Robinson Cano back in pinstripes. 

For Erin’s benefit, I offer a photo of who she thinks would have been the star only if…

 

POTENTIAL VIKINGS QUARTERBACKS

There is actually a subject that Erin and I agree upon…the Vikings are the greatest (well, NFL-speaking of course)!

I am listening to Kelly Clarkson as I type this so forgive me if I am momentarily distracted.  Uh-oh, Julia may have figured out my Achilles heel…

Now, about the Vikings and their QB quandary… 

Naturally, I remain hopeful that the team will be frontrunners for the services of Jay Cutler should the Broncos decide to trade him.  Listening to the continued comments regarding the rift between Cutler and Head Coach Josh McDaniels, I don’t see how this is going to end happily for Denver.  Even owner Pat Bowlen said that unhappy players shouldn’t stay despite his stated preference to retain Cutler.

My Life Would Suck Without You is such a great song…

Sorry, I was distracted again…

I saw an article that indicated the Vikings should pursue Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young or Cardinals QB Matt Leinart.  I absolutely do not want Vince Young.  There is no scenario that I’d prefer him over Sage Rosenfels (or even Tavaris Jackson, for that matter).  Matt Leinart, who thus far, has failed to fulfill expectations, might be a different story.  I do think that one of these years, Matt is going to “get it”.  I could see him having a Rich Gannon-like career.  But don’t we already have one over-hyped USC quarterback on the roster (John David Booty)?  My preference remains Cutler since I can’t have Matt Cassel…

Kelly Clarkson has 7 dogs?  Wow. 

 

Well, I would be willing to take Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, but of course, the Vikings do not have the Number 1 pick in the upcoming draft or anything remotely close.  So, I guess the Vikings will be shopping at Nordy’s Rack for their QB hopes…

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!  J

Introducing the New Yankees Manager…

The She-Fan, Jane Heller, asked a great question with her blog yesterday… 

 

What about you? Do you think you could manage a team? And if so, what sort of manager would you be?”

 

Of course, my philosophy to life probably most closely resembles former Yankees manager Joe Torre.  At work, I have always tried to emulate the same managerial style and try to stay consistently calm and level-headed in the face of chaos.  

 

But, with that being said, as a major league manager, all bets are off!  A new ME would emerge!  Ladies and Gentlemen, here comes Scott aka Billy Martin…AGAIN!

 

 

 

These Billy Martin quotes would become my bible:

 

“I really love the togetherness in baseball. That’s a real true love.”

 

Barry Chin/Globe Staff Photo

 

“Most people miss the great part mental outlook plays in this game.”

 

 

 

“There’s nothing greater in the world than when somebody on the team does something good, and everybody gathers around to pat him on the back.”

 

 

 

“What I miss when I’m away is the pride in baseball. Especially the pride of being on a team that wins.”

 

 

 

“I’m getting smarter, I finally punched something that couldn’t sue me.”

 

 

 

 

“I may not have been the best Yankee to put on the pinstripes, but I am the proudest.”

 


Mgr.JPG

 

 

Scott, you’re fired!

 

 

“Oh, no, not again!”

 

 

 

Escape from the Red Sox Nation!…

Freedom!

 

Julia (of Julia’s Rants) has graciously reduced my sentence by one blog!  Yeah, I am free!  Well, I guess I will be after this blog!  😉

 

 

For my last Red Sox blog, I thought long and hard about what player I wanted to write about.  I thought about David Ortiz since I think the man is personally responsible for the end of the Curse of the Bambino.  He gave Manny Ramirez huge protection in the line up, and he instilled a ‘don’t quit’ attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse.  For the life of me, I still don’t understand why the Minnesota Twins released Big Papi…or why Brian Cashman didn’t react quicker. 

 

Cataffo/New York Daily News

 

I also thought about manager Terry Francona.  For years, Red Sox managers were always guys that you loved to hate.  Even though he later occupied the Yankees bench along side Joe Torre, I couldn’t stand Don Zimmer when he was the manager of the Red Sox.  With Tito, the Red Sox finally had a manager who commands respect.  I am hopeful that Joe Girardi will one day be the man that Tito is today.

 

 

Ultimately, I decided to go with the Man of the Hour.  Fresh off the newly signed contract, Jon Lester seems to be the most appropriate current Boston player for my final Red Sox blog. 

 

 

So, here goes my final blog as a temporary but involuntary member of the Red Sox Nation…

 

 

Odd One Out?

 

 

Future 20-Game Winner

 

I first became aware of Jonathan Tyler Lester in 2006.  I had started to hear about the latest Red Sox pitching phenom early that year (he made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 at Fenway Park).

 

 

In his first game, Jon pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 4 walks.  He also had 4 strikeouts.  He received a no-decision, but the Red Sox lost the game to the Texas Rangers, 7-4.

 

Over the next couple of months, Jon pitched very well.  He had racked up 7-2 record, with 4.76 ERA in 81 1/3 innings by late summer.  But on August 27, 2006, he was scratched from a start in Oakland against the A’s.  The reason listed was a sore back, and there were concerns it was related to an auto accident that had occurred earlier that month.  He was placed on the DL, and sent back to Boston for further tests.  On August 31st, it was reported that Jon had enlarged lymph nodes.  A few days later, the doctors confirmed that he had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma. 

 

In December of that year, after a sixth round of chemotherapy, the doctors reported no evidence of visible cancer cells and declared that Jon was in remission.  It will be a five year process before Jon can be declared cancer free, but it has been all good so far. 

 

Jon was born in Tacoma, WA on January 7, 1984.  He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma.  He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington in 2000.  He had the opportunity to go to college on a scholarship, but opted to sign with the Boston Red Sox after being selected in the second round of the 2002 draft (57th selection overall).

 

Following the cancer treatments of 2006, Jon’s velocity had returned by mid to late 2007.  He returned to the majors in the summer and finished the year with a 4-0 mark, 4.57 ERA and 50 strikeouts.

 

In October, Jon started and won the deciding Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.  He pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks, and had 3 strikeouts.

 

Bill Greene/Boston Globe

 

As Jon moved to 2008, he had gained 25 pounds from the year before (almost all muscle) and looked to be in great physical condition. 

 

On May 19th, with the temperature only 56 degrees, Jon and the Red Sox faced the Kansas City Royals, and he promptly threw a no-hitter.  With 130 total pitches, to go with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks, Jon threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 29 batters he faced.  The game was highlighted by a diving catch of a sinking liner in the 4th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury.

 

AP

 

In July, Jon made his debut at Yankee Stadium.  Unwilling to yield to the mystique and aura of the Stadium, he threw a complete game five-hit shutout.

 

AP

 

Jon finished the successful 2008 campaign with a 16-6 record, 3.21 ERA, and had 152 strikeouts.  He became the first Boston southpaw since Babe Ruth (1916) and Lefty Grove (1937) with as many as 15 wins, 30 starts, 200 innings, 150 strikeouts, and sub 3.50 ERA in a single season. 

 

Yesterday, the Red Sox and Jon finalized the much anticipated 5 year contract for $30 million.  The contract includes a club option for 2014.  “Everyone is excited about it,” 2B Dustin Pedroia said.  “You want to play for a long time with those guys you came up with.  Jon is going to keep getting better and better.  I’m sure by Year 5 of that deal he’s going to be an even better pitcher than he is right now.”

 

That doesn’t bode well for AL East opponents, including my beloved Yankees.  It’s no wonder the Red Sox held Jon out of trade discussions involving the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett, and Johan Santana over the years.

 

I wish #31 the very best…well except when he makes the trip to the Bronx or the Bombers travel to Fenway.  Jon is a champion competitor, a true ace, who plays the game the way it should be played.  He deserves our respect, but clearly the pleasure of watching him pitch is all ours…

 

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

SO LONG RON SILVER…THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

 

Granted, it’s not sports-related; however, I would like to acknowledge the passing of actor Ron Silver who died Sunday at the age of 62.  He had been fighting esophageal cancer for the past couple of years. 

 

 

Through the years, Ron has been involved in so many television and film roles dating back to The Mac Davis Show in the early 70’s. More recently, he had a recurring role on “The West Wing” as a slick strategist for the president. 

 

He was a very good actor, he commanded your attention when he was on screen, and he’ll be sorely missed…

 

AND FINALLY, YANKEES NEWS…

 

Ah, let’s talk about the Yankees!  I love it!  Yankees, Yankees, Yankees…24/7 from here on out!  Yeah!

 

  • The Yankees routed the Philadelphia Phillies today, 12-0.  Nick Swisher played first base, and had 3 RBI.  Joba Chamberlain pitched three shutout innings of two-hit ball.  He also had 3 strikeouts.  Kei Igawa continues to pitch well, but I’d definitely take the ‘sell high’ approach with him (even if it means paying part of his contract to unload him).
  • LP Zach Kroenke, 25, who was chosen by the Florida Marlins in December’s Rule 5 Draft, was returned to the Yankees on Monday.  He has been assigned to AA Trenton.  Sorry, Zach, but I am glad you had a miserable time in the Florida training camp.  Welcome back…
  • Both 2B Robinson Cano and P Damaso Marte received good news from the results of their respective MRI’s.  Cano has bursitis of the right shoulder, and Mare has inflammation of the left shoulder.  So, both should be back in action before long…
  • Good luck to former Yankees C Pudge Rodriguez who has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros.
  • In a non-Yankees note of interest to most likely only me, Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler had a very acrimonious meeting with new head coach Josh McDaniels over the weekend, and has demanded to be traded.  The Vikings deny interest, but the Minnesota papers seem to follow every step of the action between Cutler and the Broncos with great detail.  I personally think Jay would look pretty good in purple and gold…

 

It is great to be back in Yankeeville!  Hopefully, my guys won’t let me down next month when the Great Showdown II with Julia of Julia’s Rants takes place (the weekend series between the Yankees and Red Sox on April 24th through 26th).  

 

With all sincerity, I do want to thank Julia for the incredible sportsmanship and good humor that she displayed during our first showdown.  I know, without a doubt, that it would have been no different had she lost.  We are very privileged to have her as one of our leading bloggers, and she continues to work harder than anyone I know at making MLB Blogs an incredible experience for everyone. 

 

But with that, I will still say…Go Yankees!  J