Results tagged ‘ George Steinbrenner ’

A Champion Has Fallen…

 

George Michael Steinbrenner III

July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010

 

 

 

A sad day in the Yankees Universe.  My deepest sympathy condolences to the Steinbrenner Family, the Yankees Organization and Yankees fans everywhere.  Our world will never be the same.  It was only fitting that George departed as the World Series champion.  He is and always will be a champion to us.  George, thank you for being you…

I only saw George Steinbrenner in person one time (at Mickey Mantle’s funeral), but he had a deep and lasting impression on my life.  He is perhaps the only owner of any sports team that I’ve ever followed that wanted to win more than I did.  As a fan, what more could you want in an owner.  I can’t say that I agreed with every move, but I can say that the Yankees are who they are because of George.  He restored honor and prestige to a downtrodden franchise and restored the team to the standards of its rich legacy and storied past.

Somewhere in the corner of Heaven, Billy Martin can be heard…”But George!”…

 

–Scott

 

A Trip Down the Canyon of Heroes…

 

I wish we could do this more often…

 

Josh Haner/The New York Times

 

Those were the words of Yogi Berra as he travelled down the Canyon of Heroes yesterday during the Yankees Parade in New York City.

 

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AP

 

I am right there with ya, Yogi!  Let’s do it again next year!

 

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Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Yankee Fans Celebrate Their 2009 World Series Champions

Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger

 

Friday was the day for Yankees fans all over the World.  Of course, most of us couldn’t make the trip to the City, but about two million fans lined the streets as the floats bearing the Yankee players made their way down Manhattan.

 

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Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post 

 

When the season started, who would have thought this would have been possible?  A-Rod was on the DL after undergoing hip surgery, so the starting third  baseman was Cody Ransom.  The bullpen was imploding regularly, led by Jose Veras.  Mark Teixeira forgot his bat in Tampa.  And there were regular calls for the head of manager Joe Girardi.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that little 0-8 start against the guys from Beantown.  Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez returned in May and the team, figuratively and literally, never looked back.  When Boston was winning their championships, they displayed a ‘don’t quit’ mentality, and that was never more evident for the Yankees than this season.

 

The third baseman's huge hit ties the game up at 3 and the game heads into the 12th.

Antonelli/NY Daily News 

 

The off-season acquisitions were tremendous.  I know, the jokes about the Yankees’ financial advantage have reverberated throughout the country.  I think Conan O’Brien’s line was “It’s amazing what hard work, determination and a half billion bucks will do for you!”.  While I agree that they have the revenue to keep the team competitive year in and year out, if you don’t spend the money on the right players, you will not win.  Every year is a challenge to put together the right mix of team chemistry.  Sometimes it is less about ability than it is cohesiveness.   GM Brian Cashman certainly deserves much credit for putting together the 2009 Yankees.  I am not sure that this could have happened a few years ago when there was a clear power struggle between the Yankees front office in New York and the group in Tampa, led by Mark Newman.

 

CC Sabathia (l.) celebrates with fans (and Mark Teixeira, r.) along Canyon of Heroes.

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

During the season, I felt the Yankees needed to make a move for a frontline starter and it was difficult to watch Cliff Lee go to Philadelphia and Scott Kazmir to the Angels.  But in the end, Cash was right to stand pat.  We didn’t give up any major talent, and now super prospect Austin Jackson stands ready in the wings to take command of center field.  A trade for a quality starting pitcher could have potentially cost the Yankees Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, A-Jax, or one of the other high level prospects that can contribute to Yankee success in 2010 or 2011.  So, thanks to Cash for executing a brilliant plan and sticking to it.  His perseverance guaranteed the trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and hopefully ensures that this will not be the last one for owner George Steinbrenner. 

 

George Steinbrenner with daughter Jessica at the Yankees' home opener.

Sipkin/NY Daily News 

 

A few memories from yesterday’s parade…

 

Hideki Matsui at parade 11-06-09

Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger

 

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Reuters

 

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Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

 

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Kevin P. Coughlin

 

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Getty Images

 

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Victoria Will/New York Post

 

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Paul Martinka

Congratulations to the 2009 World Champions…

 

New York Yankees!

 

Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees celebrate winning their 27th World Series championship, beating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

 

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

In other notes, the Angels acted very quickly in re-signing former Yankee Bobby Abreu to a two-year $19 million deal.  It is a good move on their part.  He helped to energize an Angels line up that came within one team of making it to the World Series.

 

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

 

The Red Sox were also very quick to make a move as they acquired young, under-achieving outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins.  What, are the Marlins the minor league farm club for the Red Sox?  This is starting to feel like what the Kansas City A’s were to the Yankees back in the 50’s.  Nevertheless, Hermida is a former first round pick and is only 25.  The Red Sox gave up a couple of minor league pitching prospects but not any of their upper shelf talent.  This was a very good low-risk, high-reward move by Theo Epstein.

 

Lynne Sladky/AP

 

The Yankees primary concerns heading into the off-season will be the statuses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte.  Of the three, the only one I expect to return is Andy Pettitte.  I think Pettitte will take his usual time to decide if he’ll return but then he’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere around or after Christmas.  Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Damon are less certain.  Time and again, Matsui delivered the key hit to rescue the Yanks.  However, he is a liability in the field and the Yanks have too many DH-types.  I like Damon’s attitude and versality, however, I’d like to see someone with a stronger arm in left field.  You’ll never see Damon gun someone down at the plate, unless the runner is Drew Carey…

 

 

I think both Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang are gone, although I do have reluctance in seeing both leave.

 

Kim Klement/US Presswire

 

 

In Los Angeles, it looks like Manny Ramirez will be back for another year with Joe Torre and the Dodgers.  Manny exercised his $20 million player option on Friday.  I think Manny has a lot to prove during the coming year.  I cannot say that I followed the team closely during the season, but it seemed to me that the Dodgers were a stronger unit while Manny was serving his 50-game suspension.  It will be interesting to see which Manny shows up in the spring.

 

 

The fourth-ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes look to extend their streak against Northwestern.  I have been a Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember…I guess it’s a product of growing up in an Iowa farming community.   The stakes are very high for the 9-0 Hawks at this point in the season.  They lead the Big Ten, however, the Ohio State Buckeyes loom in the horizon.  The Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a very pivotal game this weekend, and then the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will meet for the final regular season game.  I’ll be pulling for Penn State, but hopefully the Hawks can continue their ride in the driver’s seat.  Of course, they have been cursed by the cover of Sports Illustrated so I am a little uneasy…

 

 

Hey Julia, I was reading the Boston Globe and read something about the Boston Celtics getting “sunburned”.  I hope they’re okay!  LOL!  So much for the streak!  J

 

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, foreground, reacts to a foul called on him as Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) looks on during the second half.

Associated Press

We are ALL tied!…

I knew it!…

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

I was afraid that Cliff Lee would dominate the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series.  He has always pitched very well against the Yanks, and he won the very first game in the new Yankee Stadium in April while a member of the Cleveland Indians.

 

Associated Press

 

Lee’s performance was masterful and he deserves all accolades for a job well done.  Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have Chase Utley as your second baseman.

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

The Phillies’ 6-1 victory took away home field advantage from the Yankees and leveled and the playing field.

I was stunned at the trading deadline when the Phillies acquired Lee from the Indians.  Everybody had been talking about Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies quietly dropped an ace into their starting rotation.  I had wanted the Yankees to upgrade the #5 pitching slot.  They did acquire the San Diego Padres’ Chad Gaudin but I’d hardly call that a major move.  Even the Los Angeles Angels were able to acquire a stud for their rotation with the acquisition of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Scott Kazmir.  The Philles had signed free agent Pedro Martinez a few days earlier.  Pedro was another pitcher that I felt the Yankees should have pursued, but they were never a player.  I can so clearly remember hoping that the moves wouldn’t come back to haunt the Yankees.  Well, it is now October, and the moves are staring us straight in the face…

 

Cat-CatStaringFirstToBlinkLoses.jpg Cat - Cat Staring, First To Blink Loses image by Fredcat

 

Fortunately, Game 2 was a reversal of fortune.  Early on, it was a great pitching duel between the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett and the Phillies’ Pedro Martinez.  It had the “feel” of an old Yankees-Red Sox game.  Hmmm, I wonder what my friend Julia is doing these days?  Probably watching Celtic basketball.  Nevertheless, Burnett was stellar, while Pedro gave up homers to Mark Teixeira and later Hideki Matsui.

 

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

 

The Yankees added a run in the 7th inning before a botched call by the umpires cost the Yanks the possibility for more runs.  With one out (why the heck was Derek Jeter bunting with two strikes???!!!), Johnny Damon hit a liner at Ryan Howard.  The runner at first (Jorge Posada) had broken for second and would have made it safely on an errant throw.  However, the ump called it a double play when Posada was tagged since they ruled Damon had lined out to Howard.  Subsequently, replays showed that the ball had one-hopped into Howard’s glove so the runners should have been safe at first and second.  I hate it when the umpires are in position to decide a game…

 

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

 

Burnett was pulled after 7 magnificent innings.  Manager Joe Girardi wasted no time in going with legendary closer Mariano Rivera.  I thought it was a bit premature, but after a few bumps and bruises but no runs, the Yankees had emerged with a 3-1 victory.  The win tied the Series at one game apiece.

The Series now heads for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Saturday.  Andy Pettitte versus last year’s post-season ace Cole Hamels.

 

 

For the record, sitting Nick Swisher was an excellent move even if Swish didn’t agree.  His bat could be likened to the Artic Front.  He was replaced by Jerry Hairston, Jr.

I am glad that George Steinbrenner has been able to watch the games at Yankee Stadium.  Given the decline in his health, you never know if this will be his final World Series appearance.  I hope not…

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

“It’s great to see Pedro Martinez on the stage again” – ESPN Analyst Chris Berman

 

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I don’t disagree, but I am still glad that he didn’t get the win…

In the post game press conference, Pedro said, “If I played for the Yankees, I’d be the King”.  The comment was made in response to the boos he received as he walked off the field, but he’s probably right…

Ready, Set, Go!…

 

A rare off day…

 

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The Yankees have an extra day of rest before they embark on the second half of the season.  Hopefully, it will give them the necessary distance from last weekend’s debacle in Anaheim.  Of course, it doesn’t get any easier as the Detroit Tigers invade Yankee Stadium.  But with a little pitching, a little hitting, a little fielding, and a whole lot of hustle, I’ll take my chances…

 

 

The Yankees deal with 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Damian Arredondo was voided by the league when they found out that he wasn’t 16 and his name is not Damian Arredondo.  Sure, the league saved the Yankees over $800,000, but I would have thought that the Yankees would have done a little due diligence before signing the alleged “prospect”…

 

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So, the Boston Red Sox are “desperately” seeking to trade Julio Lugo?  I guess they have been listening to that ranter in Boston.  Hopefully, they didn’t get her message about Jason Bay…

 

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I am surprised, but Derek Jeter is building a monster mansion on Davis Islands in Florida (not far from downtown Tampa).  The square footage per the county is 30,875.  The home has 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.  According to the Tampa Bay Tribune, the average Best Buy store has 39,700 square feet (to put it in perspective).  The home is on Bahama Circle, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.  I want to be Derek Jeter when I grew up!  ;)

 

Derek Jeter house

Richard Mullins/Tampa Bay Tribune

 

According to the Associated Press, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner spent three hours at his office in the Tampa spring training complex.  He reportedly said that he is doing well.  Hopefully, he is putting the finishing touches on that deal for Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay…

 

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

 

Apparently, Brett Favre has set a deadline of July 30th to decide if he’ll play for the Minnesota Vikings this fall.  The date is when the Vikings open camp.  The Star Tribune has created The Brett Favre Page to track the developments between now and Favre’s imposed deadline.  At this point, I have to believe that we’ll see #4 in purple when the team reports to Mankato.  I guess that means Erin is going to become a Bears fan…  ;(

 

Brett Favre

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

 

Let the second half begin!…

 

 

Neil Shapiro 

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.”

 


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Scott, you’re fired!

 

 

“Oh, no, not again!”

 

 

 

Griffey’s a Brave, no wait, a Mariner!…

RETURN OF THE ANCIENT MARINER

 

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!

Why look’st thou so?  With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.

 

   From Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

The Ancient Mariner has returned!  Ken Griffey Jr., 39, decided to sign with his original team after deliberating between the sentimental choice versus playing close to home with the Atlanta Braves.  Some news accounts earlier in the week were erroneously reporting that Griffey had chosen the Braves.

 

I was surprised.  I had expected Griffey to stay close to home, but obviously the lure of the sentimental return proved to be too great in the end.  On one hand, it is a nice story to see his return to Seattle.  The fans are excited, and he has the chance to end his career wearing the same uniform he started with.  But on the other hand, he is a shell of what he used to be.

 

As a Cincinnati Red in a June 2007 series at Safeco Field against the Mariners, Griffey did say, “I think I owe it to the people of Seattle, and myself, to retire as a Mariner“. 

 

Apparently, it was Griffey’s teenage daughter who helped seal the deal.  Taryn Griffey plays for an AAU basketball team that’s based in the Atlanta area, but according to agent Brian Goldberg, “She told him, ‘Dad, I really think you should go back to the Mariners and not have any regrets about how you finished,” Goldberg said.  “That kind of put it over the top.”

 

Griffey, with 611 career home runs, will play left field and DH for the Mariners. 

 

Despite signing free agent pitchers Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami and trading for pitcher Javier Vazquez, this has been a disappointing off-season for the Atlanta Braves.  In addition to losing out on Griffey, they failed in their attempts to sign or acquire Mike Hampton, A.J. Burnett, Rafael Furcal, and Jake Peavy.  It also sounds like the Braves will look to fill their outfield needs internally, rather than pursue a trade for someone like Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.

 

I’ll admit that it’s nice to see Griffey back in Seattle, but hopefully, we won’t be seeing any repeat headlines like this…

 

 

 

NEW OLD VISITORS

 

The Yankees had two visitors in camp today.  Bernie Williams was invited to practice at the major league facility by manager Joe Girardi as he prepares for the World Baseball Classic.  “Obviously he’s retired as a Yankee, but, you know, once you’re a Yankee, you’re always a Yankee,” Girardi said.  Hmmm, I wonder if Mike Lowell knows that he is still a Yankee?  ;)  The other visitor was owner George Steinbrenner, who is rarely seen in public these days.  The frail 78-year-old owner was taken from the parking lot to Steinbrenner Field by golf cart, using a wheelchair to get to his office.

 

 

 


 

 

LET THE BATTLES BEGIN…

 

Nice to see that the Great Yankees-Red Sox War resume battle this week with the opposing points of view regarding a salary cap in Major League Baseball.  Red Sox Owner John Henry called for a salary cap, and President Larry Lucchino criticized the Yankees’ spending on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.  Yankees Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner, never at a loss for words, fired back with “Along with a few other teams, we’re basically baseball’s stimulus package.”  Say what you will about Hank, but he’s right.  The Yankees pay a heavy price for their spending habits as evidenced by the high luxury taxes and revenue sharing they pay each year for exceeding the salary thresholds; money that is funneled to other teams.  According to AP, the team paid about $110 million last season. 

 

VERY OFFENSIVE

 

It’s exciting to see the Phoenix Suns return to their “offensive” ways.  In the two games since Terry Porter was dismissed as coach, the Suns have scored a total of 282 points.  Of course, the opponent in both games was the Los Angeles Clippers.  But it’s exciting to see the team return to its fast-paced strategy.  It doesn’t mean it will result in a championship, but it is fun to watch.  I felt Terry Porter was a mistake when he was named to replace Mike D’Antoni since he was coming from a defensive-minded team like the Pistons.  I know what much of the appeal to the Suns was, but they need to stick with the strengths.  This is a great opportunity for interim coach Alvin Gentry.

 

 Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

 

TIGER’S IN THE HOUSE

 

Tiger Woods has announced on his website that he’ll make his 2009 PGA Tour debut at the 2009 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, AZ February 23rd through March 1st.  Tiger is the defending champ, and also won the event in 2003 and 2004.  It will be exciting to see the new dad back in action!

 

 Tiger Woods

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

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