Turn the Heat Up…

Well, after the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds in their final Grapefruit League road game, I owe an apology to Joba Chamberlain for the wiffle ball comment that I made in my last blog.  

 

Joba sparkled yesterday, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, and 2 walks.  He struck out 6.  But the greater stat, in my perspective, was the increased velocity on his pitches (speeds of up to 96 mph). 

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

Both Joba and Andy Pettitte have shown that the back end of the rotation is just fine. 

 

I have seen reports that A.J. Burnett has proven to be a good mentor for Joba this spring.  I am glad to see A.J. take the leadership responsibility, and I think he has much wisdom to offer based on his own experiences as he has learned to become a true pitcher instead of just a hard thrower.  

 

Joba is in Lancaster County, Nebraska today for his arraignment on last fall’s drunken-driving charge.  One thing’s for sure, Joba will hold only himself accountable and he can be depended upon to make the best of a bad situation.  He’s a ‘stand up’ guy, and that’s certainly one quality that has earned my respect.  

 

THE NEW YANKEE STADIUM WON’T BE “OFFICIAL” UNTIL…

 

Until these familiar words flow through the loudspeakers, the new Yankee Stadium cannot be truly christened…

 

“Good evening…ladies and gentlemen…and welcome…to Yankee Stadium”

 

 

Newsday

 

Unfortunately, long-time Yankees public-address announcer Bob Sheppard, who is in his late 90’s, will miss the exhibition games with the Chicago Cubs on April 3rd and 4th, and Opening Day on April 16th against the Cleveland Indians.  

 

He is still recovering from the bronchial infection that sidelined him for most of last season.  His wife indicated that he does not currently have the necessary stamina and was advised against working by his physician.  She stated that a warmer mid-season return was more likely.  Until then, Paul Olden will handle the duties. 

 

It is hard to believe that Sheppard has been the public-address announcer since 1951.  His first game was April 17, 1951.  The Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox, 4-0, that day.  The combined lineups featured seven Hall of Famers:  Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Ted Williams, and Lou Boudreau.  It was also Mickey’s first game (he went 1-for-4), and the beginning of the Yankee Clipper’s final season.  

 

Here’s hoping for a full recovery and a triumphant return to the new Stadium by Mr. Sheppard…

 

 

ODDS & ENDS…

 

Jonathan Albaladejo has made the final Yankees roster, which means that Brett Tomko, Alfredo Aceves, and Dan Giese are headed for Scranton.  Tomko was very disappointed as he felt that he had pitched well enough to make the roster.  True, but Joe Girardi obviously feels that the club is stronger with Albaladejo.  

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

The last roster decision is the infield utility role, which has become a competitive battle between Angel Berroa and Ramiro Pena.  Unless the Yankees decide to go outside of the organization for a last-minute choice, I fully expect Pena to be announced as the victor.  But the #90 jersey has to go!  Just kidding.  I know that he’ll be re-assigned a more “reasonable” number if he makes the roster.  

 

I was glad to see that former Yankee Nick Green has won Boston’s infield utility role (well, at least until Julio Lugo returns).  

 

 

I was surprised by the Detroit Tigers decision to release Gary Sheffield.  The Phillies were almost immediately mentioned as a possible destination, but Sheffield is better suited for the American League as a designated hitter.  The Rays have also been mentioned.  Considering that his next home run will be number 500, there should be some good early season drama.  That’s okay, but can we put Sheffield on mute?…

 

Mike Carlson/AP

 

Warning:  I am getting ready to make some non-baseball related comments so please feel free to bail from this blog…

 

What took John Calipari so long to say yes to the University of Kentucky’s $31.65 million offer to become head coach of the school’s basketball team?  Geesh!  $32 mil at one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the country.  What’s to think about?…

 

Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress is really scaring me now.  He has made comments that he is satisfied with the current quarterbacks on the roster (primarily Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels).  Fine, but calling Sage “a younger Gus Frerotte” is not a good thing!  No offense to Gus, but c’mon…we need more than the next Gus Frerotte.  The Vikings have shown no interest in Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, but of course, you never know if that’s truly because there is legitimately no interest or if it is simply posturing in the event of a trade so that the team doesn’t appear to be desperate.  Now that the Broncos have indicated they will trade Cutler after an inability to communicate with him for 10 days, it will be interesting to see what transpires.  I am not saying the Vikings need to pull the trigger, but they need to get in the game…

 

Have a happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!

 

  

 

–Scott

9 Comments

I hope you don’t find too many “tricks” today! Don’t worry about the Vikings – just because they don’t have any “friends” in New England to help them out with their QB problem. ;-) I read about Mr. Sheppard on one of the Yankees beat writers blogs – he’s 98? God bless him and I hope he is back to good health soon.

Have a great one!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

JULIA – The April Fool’s joke was on me! I don’t know how I managed to double-post the same entry under the same title. I deleted the duplicate, but of course I lost the associated comments.

ERIN – Same as above. I lost your comments by deleting the duplicate entry. But I agree with you, I’ll be upset if Cutler lands in the NFC North with the Bears. I keep trying to give Brad Childress the benefit of the doubt, but I’d have to say that so far I am unimpressed. He makes me miss Mike Tice…

Scott

We’ll forgive you Scott! ;-D and just blame it on that jester up above! Hope that’s the worse trick you get today!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Hey Scott – it was just announced that Mr. Sheppard is going to retire – the details are here: http://yes.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/04/breaking_news_bob_sheppard_ret.html

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

You two are crazy. es, that’s a good thing. Better have a blast this weekend. Wish I could be there! Let me know what the city and area is like, Scott.
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

JULIA – The Yankees are denying the retirement report on Yankees.com. Personally, it would make sense for him to retire. He served the old stadium through the end, so it’s an appropriate ending point. From the sounds of it, it would be hard to believe, at age 98, he’s going to improve significantly. Unfortunate, yes, but it’s simply life.
CANUCK – I am excited to see the city. I have been very impressed by the photos I’ve seen, and I am anxious to see what the area around Fenway Park “feels” like if that makes any sense. Too bad I won’t be seeing a game, but at least I will have a sense for what it may be like. I’m excited about the trip. I will make sure to let you know; we can compare notes once you’ve made the trip yourself.

Have a great evening!

Scott

Hopefully, Sheeperd does not retire. He is a great announcer. Can you see Sheffield going to Toronto? They seriously need a power bat.
shorporch http://shortporch.mlblogs.com/

Scott, it certainly would be a fitting end to Mr. Sheppard’s career to have it end at the old Yankee Stadium. Even this Red Sox fan could tell that there was something special in Mr. Sheppard’s announcing at the Stadium. Whether he officially retires or not, I hope it is not the last you hear from him, and I hope he will be well. A tip o’the cap to him, and all the best. Take care.

That little miscommunication today involving Bob Sheppard was unfortunate, but I guess he’s not ready to say goodbye to the job he’s had for so many years and who can blame him? I doubt we’ll hear his dulcet tones again at the Stadium, however, given his age and fragile health. I can’t imagine anybody replacing him long term. Anyhow, on to baseball and the Yankees’ final game today. CC wasn’t the greatest but the offense picked him up and we won another one, Scott. Spring training is officially over! Have a great time in Boston.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

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