Results tagged ‘ Lou Gehrig ’
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”…
There is a reason that Mariano Rivera has been my favorite Yankee for a very long time. I know that Derek Jeter is a quality guy and a favorite of many, but for me, Mariano Rivera has always been the premier player in my opinion. It doesn’t mean that I feel Jeter’s not a great player…he is. He is most likely a first ballot Hall of Famer and will go down as the greatest shortstop in Yankees history (with no disrespect to Phil Rizzuto). But Rivera has always handled himself with dignity and class, and he’s always been accountable when things have gone wrong. He has never disrespected another player or team, nor has he placed blame anywhere but with himself. He hasn’t always been perfect, but he’s clearly the best closer in major league history (with no disrespect to Goose Gossage).
I have been dreading the day when Rivera walks off the field as a player for the final time. But I never dreamed that, potentially, his final moment would be inability to walk off the field under his own power. It was very disheartening to see the pre-game injury when Rivera tore the ACL in his knee this week against the Kansas City Royals. I kept hoping for the best when I first heard the news, but it is now known that he’ll miss the remainder of the season. Given that he is 42, the road to recovery is going to harder than if he was still in his 30’s. Nevertheless, withn 24 hours, Rivera was saying that he wasn’t going to go out like this and that he’d be back next season after much speculation this might be his final season prior to the injury.
If Mo says that he’ll back, I am fully confident that he will be. I am sad that we won’t see #42 come out of the bullpen for the rest of the year, but I look forward to next season when Mo perhaps takes the final lap in what has been a legendary career. I will always be appreciative that Rivera wore pinstripes, from beginning to end, and he’ll remain one of my favorites in the history of the storied franchise.
That first step is a doozy…
David Robertson has big shoes to fill as he steps into the closer’s role but I have faith and confidence in his abilities. I hope that Rafael Soriano is up to the challenge of making a positive impact as he slides back into the role of primary setup man. Just as Andy Pettitte has become a much more needed pitcher than he was when it was announced he was going to pitch this year, the need for the return to good health for Joba Chamberlain is equally important. I am glad that one of Manager Joe Girardi’s strengths is his ability to work the bullpen so I continue to view the Yankees relief corps as a strong unit despite Rivera’s absence.
A few favorites…
With Rivera as my favorite current Yankee player, it made me think of my other favorites:
- Favorite living former Yankee: Don Mattingly
- Favorite former Yankee who played during my lifetime: Thurman Munson
- Favorite all-time player: Lou Gehrig
- Favorite manager: Billy Martin (followed closely by Joe Torre)
- Favorite owner: George Steinbrenner
- Favorite current Yankee (excluding Rivera): Robinson Cano
- Favorite Yankees team: 1998 Yankees (closely followed by 1927 Yankees)
There are many other players that I will always have special feelings for…most notably, pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, for whom I attribute to why I am a Yankees fan today. I was a fan of the Oakland A’s and Hunter in particular when I was young, but everything changed when he signed with the Yankees as a free agent in December 1974. I had always admired the history and the tradition of the Yankees (the first book I recall reading was a biography about Lou Gehrig), so bring the combination of the Yankees and Hunter together brought me to the team as a fan. I’ve been a faithful one ever since that time.
I’d be remiss by not mentioning Mickey Mantle. A great player who really could have been even greater than he was. I was able to attend his funeral in Dallas, and I remember seeing a few of the former Yankee greats who were in attendance. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. Bob Costas delivered a tremendous eulogy. It’s amazing to think of what Mantle could have accomplished if he had held himself to the same standards as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera do.
Yogi Berra, of course, is an invaluable link to the Yankees’ history of success. There are way too many guys to acknowledge, but these are a few that stand out to me.
Hard to close…
It’s amazing to me how 2012 has been the Year of the Fallen Closers. So many closers on the DL (Rivera, Andrew Bailey, Drew Storen, etc.); so many demotions (Jordan Walden, Carlos Marmol, whoever is pitching for the White Sox, etc.); and guys who are on the brink of losing their jobs (most notable being Heath Bell). This is one of the only years in fantasy baseball where all my bench slots are filled with guys on the DL. But as they say, one guy’s misfortunate is another guy’s opportunity. Sports is about the ability to step up and take it to the next level.
Game of Stars…
I realize that Bryce Harper is only 19 but I am hopeful that he can find success at this level now rather than a return trip to the minor before he is ready. I can’t recall a player who has received as much hype (well, perhaps Stephen Strasburg) but I genuinely would like to see the player match (or even exceed) the hype. It is good for baseball. Robin Yount was in the majors by age 19 and I think he had a fairly successful career (<understatement). While I still question the signing of Jayson Werth, it is fun watching the accumulation of talent in DC. I am just glad they play in the NL and not the AL.
Where’s the caveat?…
When a pitcher throws a no-hitter like Jered Weaver did this week against the Minnesota Twins, they should come up with a degree of difficulty score. C’mon, it was the freakin’ Twins! It wasn’t like Weaver was facing the monster bats of Texas, New York, Tampa, Detroit, or Boston. So, while a no hitter is a great achievement, it’s hard not to discount Weaver’s performance.
What am I doing writing this post? I should be in line to buy my ticket to see The Avengers! Have a great weekend, everyone! J
Congratulations to the Captain!…
Well, I am very wrong about when Derek Jeter would make the 3,000 hit club! I really thought that the last hit to reach the magic number would be the most difficult hit given the enormous pressure associated with it. I must have forgotten it was Derek Jeter we were talking about. There is a reason that he has thrived, time and again, in pressure situations. It was what makes him different from you and me, and why he is a Yankee legend.
Robert Sabo/NY Daily News
When DJ singled during his first at-bat, I felt that yesterday could be the day but again I really thought the at-bat trying for 3,000 would be so difficult. But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what would happen next. I heard YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay reference that the first major league hit that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price had given up was a home run to Jeter, but I definitely was not thinking home run. When Jeter came to bat, and blasted the 3,000th hit with homer to left, I was very surprised. For a moment, I had to ask myself if what I just saw was real. There is absolutely no way that it could have been scripted any better.
Andrew Theodorakis/NY Daily News
After a see-saw game that saw the lead change several times, Derek was responsible for the game winning hit in the 8th as he capped the day by going 5-for-5. My immediate thought was that the game was instantly headed to the YES Network’s library of classic Yankee games.
Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News
The day belonged to Derek Jeter and he deserved it. With so much negativity associated with Major League Baseball at times, Derek is what is so right about the game. When I see younger guys who put the game ahead of themselves, I can’t help but wonder if DJ hasn’t been an influence on their lives in some way, shape or form…the same way that Don Mattingly influenced younger guys like Mark Teixeira.
When Mariano Rivera gave Jeter a hug, I recognized that it was two numbers that will never step on a playing field again when those two are finished with their playing days.
Andrew Theodorakis/NY Daily News
Congratulations to Derek Jeter for becoming the first New York Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. He stands alone in Yankee history as the only player in its legendary history with 3,000 hits in pinstripes. Alex Rodriguez may be the next Yankee to reach 3,000 hits, but many of his came while he was with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers so it won’t be the same. Derek Jeter is the leader of the New York Yankees, and, somewhere, he most certainly achieved a standing ovation from the great Yankees of the past…Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and many others. I can even hear the late Phil Rizzuto hollering, “Holy Cow!”…
I have been a Yankees fan for exactly 36 years!
How do I know? I
became a Yankees fan the day that free agent pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter,
formerly of the Oakland A’s, signed with the New York Yankees. The date was December 31, 1974. Prior to the signing, like many other people,
I had been a fan of the Athletics.
I was fairly young so my deep interest in baseball didn’t
really materialize until after I had become a Yankees fan. Each year, from the 1975 season until about 1982,
I kept a scrapbook on the season. I’d
record box scores and transactions, and would collect news clippings and
I think it was during the 1981 season that I showed my
scrapbook to then Yankee Oscar Gamble and he autographed it for me. I still carry these scrapbooks around with me
although they’ve been packed in storage for years. One of those days, I will pull them and
re-live those great seasons of Catfish, Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry, Sparky
Lyle, Rich Gossage, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Chris Chambliss, Bucky
Dent, Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, and others.
Becoming a Yankees
fan was easy. One of the very first
books I recall reading as a child was a biography about Lou Gehrig. I was probably only 7 or 8 at the time and I
was so in awe of Gehrig and the history of the Yankees. I am not sure why I didn’t become a Yankees
fan then, but at that point, Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings were my
main spectator sports passion. Baseball
did not really capture my attention until the personalities of the championship
Oakland teams of the early 70′s hit the scene.
It is hard to believe that it’s been over 10 years since
Catfish passed away. He was a great
Yankee and one of the best pitchers of his era.
I will forever be grateful to him for bringing me with him to the
Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
As for the current Yankees, not much has been happening
but that’s to be expected this time of year.
Once we get past the holidays, I am sure that we will see movement on
the Andy Pettitte front (will he retire as currently expected by many?). While no frontline starting pitcher looms on
the horizon, the Yankees can help minimize the deficiencies of the starting
staff by building a superior bullpen. I
remain hopeful the team finds a way to bring reliever Rafael Soriano on board
to set up Mariano Rivera. That would
allow David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain to focus on the seventh inning and
prior to really shorten up the games for the starters.
I really cringed when I heard that Bartolo Colon was
saying that several teams were interested in him, including the Yankees. That is definitely one signing that I do NOT
want to see!
Patience, patience, patience…I know, that’s what Brian
Cashman keeps saying. So, we’ll see what
the new year brings us!
Happy New Year to everyone! May 2011 be your best year yet! J
Last week, I had the good fortune to travel to New
York on business. I delayed my return
home until Sunday so that I’d have a day to spend in the city…
There were really only two things that I really
wanted to do. One was to attend the New
York City Marathon Expo that was being held at the Jacob Javits Center on
Saturday, November 6th. The
other was to have dinner in Greenwich Village.
So, with some thought the night before, I embarked
on my journey when Saturday arrived.
First, I started the day by running on the hotel treadmill. 8 miles on a treadmill can be a long, long
experience, but it gave me some time to think about what I wanted to do. After my run, I got ready and headed out the
The first destination was to find H&H Bagels on
46th Street and 12th Avenue. I’ve been to other H&H Bagels locations
but I had not found this one before.
H&H Bagels has been featured on several TV shows, like Sex in the
City and Seinfeld, but, seriously, their bagels are tremendous. They’ve always been very fresh and
delicious. I have even gone as far as to
order two dozen bagels from H&H for shipment to California.
For this day, I purchased a blueberry bagel and a
bottle of orange juice. I walked over to
a nearby bench in close proximity to the USS Intrepid and enjoyed the bounty
from H&H Bagels. It was well worth
Next, I walked down to the Jacob Javits Center for
the ING New York City Marathon Expo. I
am a runner and although I’ve only run one marathon (2008 NYC Marathon), I do
have the ambition to run more. I had
intended to run in the 2009 NYC Marathon but a stress fracture in my leg forced
a hiatus from running that cost me to withdraw from both the San Francisco and
New York Marathons. 2010 has been about
trying to get back into running and I decided that I’d avoid trying a marathon
this year, however, 2011 is a different story.
I’ve already registered for the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon which will be
held on March 20, 2011. Still, the NYC
Marathon was such an incredible experience, it is something that I do want to
LA has a good route for their marathon. It starts with a run around Dodger Stadium,
heads through Hollywood and Beverly Hills and makes it way to Santa Monica and
the Pacific Ocean. I love that area, so
it will be a fun experience. But nothing
compares to New York. The marathon
starts in Staten Island and eventually makes its way through all five boroughs
before finishing in Central Park. To run
for 26.2 miles with New York crowds cheering you on for every step of the way
is phenomenal. Coming off the Queensboro
Bridge into Manhattan was probably one of my favorite spots. Well, the finish line was a welcome sight
Well, back to the Expo. I wanted to experience the marathon through
the Expo and did find a good running t-shirt and a back pack. However, I found that I was so envious of the
runners who had their entry packets in hand.
I definitely was wishing that I had been able to run this year’s
marathon. I walked the Expo for several
hours and then bought a sandwich for lunch.
Next, I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a
very long time. For all my trips to New
York, I’ve never gone to visit the grave of my idol, Lou Gehrig. Finally, I decided that today was the
day. So with just having the name of the
cemetery and name of the town, I hopped on the subway to Grand Central Station
and caught the Metro North Railroad Harlem Line to Valhalla, NY. From there, I walked a little under a mile to
the Kensico Cemetery. After walked the
cemetery and getting directions from other visitors, I found the grave. I was a bit surprised at how modest the
headstone was and for all I know about Lou, I didn’t know about the “typo” on
his headstone. The year of his birth is
erroneously shown as 1905 (he was born in 1903). But for as modest as the headstone was, the
location was so serene. I thought it was
the perfect place for burial and given its close proximity to Manhattan, I was
overtaken by the charm of the quaint, quiet town of Valhalla. Lou and Eleanor truly could not have picked a
better place to spend eternity. I sat at
the grave for awhile and just thought about the images of Lou that I’ve seen
and thought about what it must have been like to have watched him play
After leaving the cemetery, I had an hour to kill
before the train to Manhattan arrived.
By the train stop, there is a great restaurant/bar called The Valhalla
Crossing. It is inside an old train
station, and the ambiance of the establishment was first class, The service was probably one of the best I’ve
ever experienced. I could have stayed
there all night.
Heading back to Manhattan, there was just one more
thing on my to-do list. Dinner in
Greenwich Village. I took the train back
to Grand Central and then caught the Subway down to Greenwich Village. I did not have a particular restaurant in
mind (well, I had a couple but for this trip, I wanted to be open-minded). As I worked my way through Greenwich Village,
I stopped at my favorite coffee spot, the Porto Rico Importing Company at 201
Bleecker Street. It is the best way to
find coffee beans by the pound. When I
lived in Delaware, I would make a trip for no other reason than to go to Porto
Rico. Highly recommended.
As I continued my walk down Bleecker Street, I came
to Cornelia Street and remembered a Greenwich Village tour I had taken several
years ago. One of the stops was the
Cornelia Street Café. I remember
thinking at the time that it was someplace I’d like to have dinner. On this night, I thought my plan would be
rebuffed when the waiter asked me if I had reservations. Fortunately, there was a seat at the bar, so
I gladly accepted my option and had a great meal. It was fun listening to the couple next to me
talking about how their son would be running the New York City Marathon the
next day. It kind of brought the day
It was an incredibly enjoyable day in the city of
New York. The only thing better would
have been a 28th World Championship by the Yankees. Oh well, throw mega millions at Cliff Lee and
let’s crank up this machine for 2011!
By the way, I registered for the lottery for entry to the 2011 ING New York City Marathon! Wish me luck!
Joe Torre and slow starts are a thing of the past…
Well, except for Mark Teixeira. Nevertheless, the Yankees have taken the first two games of a three game set with the Texas Rangers (by scores of 5-1 and 7-3).
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
Apparently, according to the Associated Press, the Yankees haven’t won their first four series of the season since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were in the middle of the order. I know, interesting but irrelevant, however, it is good to see the Yankees playing well from the start. In the past few years, they would dig a hole and then have to spend the season digging their way out. More often than not, they were successful. However, that’s not the best formula for World Series success.
Friday night’s game against the Rangers was all-CC Sabathia. Despite a rain-shortened six inning game, CC was masterful. In facing 22 batters, he threw 20 first pitch strikes. He definitely picked right up where he left off in his previous start against the Tampa Bay Rays, a near no-hitter that was broken up by a Kelly Shoppach single. Catcher Francisco Cervelli, who caught both games for CC, put it best: “I think he was better today. He was throwing nasty pitches today, man.”
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Yankees continued their winning ways on Saturday behind great pitching by A.J. Burnett. In 7 innings, despite giving up 6 hits, A.J. did not allow any runs and struck out 7 Ranger batters. Alfredo Aceves lost the shutout by giving up a three-run homer to Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, but the subsequent relievers, Damaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain, did their jobs and the Yankees had their 8th win in 11 games.
There were a few major milestones achieved today. Jorge Posada put his name with legendary Yankees catchers like Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey and Thurman Munson with his 1,500 hit as a Yankee. Hip-hip-Jorge!
Michael Strobe/US Presswire
Alex Rodriguez hit his 584th career home run, moving past Mark McGwire into 8th place on the all-time list. It was his first home run of the season. Next up is Frank Robinson’s 586 home runs.
Al Bello/Getty Images
It doesn’t seem like he has been manager of the Yankees for very long, but Joe Girardi notched his 200th career win as a Yankees manager. Time flies when you’re having fun! Wouldn’t it be cool if he makes it to 300 games THIS season? Works for me!
Brian J. Myers/US Presswire
Is Mark Teixeira really 4-for-40? Yikes! May cannot get here soon enough. Maybe Mark should see a hypnotist to make him think today is June 1st!
And note to Javier Vazquez: Please feel free to join the Yankees’ pitching party! I know that you haven’t accepted the invitation yet, but fashionably late is perfectly acceptable!
The Yankees lost their first player to the disabled list when Chan Ho Park was moved to the 15-day DL due to a hamstring strain. The move allowed the Yankees to recall Boone Logan from AAA. Welcome back, Boone! Enjoy Yankee Stadium!
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
I will finally get my first opportunity this year to see the Yankees in person when they travel to Oakland next week. Let’s hope the fun continues! Go Yankees!
P.S. Hey Julia, how is the book assignment coming along? ;)
The oldest Yankee legend has passed away…
Tommy Henrich, 96, a Yankees outfielder in the 30′s and 40′s, died yesterday in Dayton, Ohio. Henrich was part of a tremendous outfield trio in the late 40′s that included Charlie Keller and Joe DiMaggio.
In Game 1 of the 1949 World Series, Henrich hit the first game-winning home run in Series history in a 1-0 victory over Don Newcombe and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Henrich, like many of the players from his era, missed three years due to military service during World War II.
Henrich, a five time All-Star, played 11 seasons and hit 183 home runs. His career batting average was .282. He retired following the 1950 season. During his career, Henrich was part of seven World Series Championships.
He was nicknamed “Old Reliable” by the great Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen due to his knack for coming up with clutch hits in big games. On a sad note, Henrich was the final surviving teammate of the legendary Lou Gehrig and the last member of the 1938 World Champions.
An autographed picture of Henrich has long been one of my prized possessions. In Yankees history, he ranks as one of my personal favorites. I never got to meet Henrich, but he will be missed.
The Yankees did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents. So, Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui are free to sign with any team without compensation to the Yanks. I understand the reasons (they couldn’t take the chance that any of the players accept arbitration), but it does feel that the bonds to the players have lessened considerably. I still think that Andy Pettitte will come back on a one year deal, but I am getting pessimistic that Damon will return. It was a given that Matsui most likely will not be back.
With the talk of Boston’s interest in Matt Holliday, it will be interesting to see if that sparks any Yankee interest in Jason Bay. If both Damon and Matsui leave, the Yankees will lose a tremendous amount of production that needs to be replaced.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
Derek Jeter was named Sport Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Surprisingly, he is the first Yankee to win the award in its 56 year history. It was a great year for the Yankee captain, and of course, just another noted achievement, in what is becoming a long list of achievements, for the future plaque that will be placed in Monument Park when DJ retires. Congratulations to Derek for the well-deserved honor and recognition!
The New York Jets brought in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to teach QB Mark Sanchez how to slide? Seriously?…
New York Post
All hail the Captain…
After a few games of goose eggs, Derek Jeter busted through with a 3-for-4 night to tie Lou Gehrig’s franchise hit record. Both DJ and Larrupin’ Lou stand at 2,721 hits…
Congrats to DJ for a well-deserved achievement, and of course, all his future hits will be franchise records. This adds another reason to why the Yankees need to do what’s right, and lock up Jeter for the remainder of his career. We don’t need another Brett Favre in Minnesota saga…
Tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays was a microcosm for what’s wrong with the 2009 Rays. Great starting pitching…awful bullpen. Rookie Jeff Niemann was masterful against the Yanks tonight. In 7 innings, he did give up 8 hits, but only allowed one earned run and had 8 strikeouts. Given that the East Coast games start while I am still at work, I was constantly checking the game score on my BlackBerry. Despite a significant advantage in hits, the Yankees couldn’t seem to push any runs across the plate.
I have a good friend that is a die-hard Rays fan. For many years, Kelly has held a single season ticket to games at Tropicana Field and she is generally there without fail. She was going to Rays games when you needed binoculars to see the person sitting next to you and parking was free. After the double-header sweep on Monday, Kelly sent me an email the next day that said “I would rather lose like we did yesterday to the Yankees than to play like we did last week. We were winning the games until the late 8th or even 9th inning and then the bullpen just gives the games away. Sunday we gave up a grand Slam in the 9th to lose the game. That is just brutal. No matter what the score is when the starting pitcher leaves the game, the fans can rest assured that the bullpen will screw it up.” Unfortunately (for her), the next two games proved to be the exact formula she was hoping to avoid.
It is an unfortunate situation because I was hoping that the Tampa Bay Rays would beat out the Boston Red Sox for the Wild Card spot (sorry Julia!). Most likely, the Rays would not have beaten Boston had they retained Scott Kazmir. However, that trade just seemed to draw the life out of the Rays. He couldn’t have helped their bullpen woes, but it seemed like Rays management were throwing in the towel.
Tonight’s game had another great finish. Trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning, and unable to get any runs across despite an advantage in hits, the Yankees started their patented late inning comeback. It was an inning early but why wait if you have the bats. Alex Rodriguez ended Jeff Niemann’s night with a single. Enter Lance Cormier. Hideki Matsui singled to advance A-Rod to third. Jerry Hairston, Jr. entered the game as a pinch runner for Godzilla. Nick Swisher reached first base on a throwing error, scoring A-Rod. Hairston advanced to third. Brian Shouse relieved Cormier. The stage was set for Robby Cano to be the hero, but he promptly struck out. Next up was Jorge Posada, who batted for Brett Gardner. The Rays brought Grant Balfour in the game to face Posada, but the move failed. Jorge launched a three-run homer to right, and the Yankees had their first lead of the game, 4-2.
Brian Bruney secured the first two out of the 9th inning, and I had some choice words for Joe Girardi when he brought Phil Coke in to relieve Bruney. But Joe, showing why he is the Yankees manager and not me, watched Coke strike out Gabe Kapler to end the game.
The Red Sox also won tonight, 7-5 over the Baltimore Orioles, to stay 2 games ahead of the Texas Rangers. Sorry Julia, but I was pulling for the O’s. They tried, but couldn’t quite do it…
However, the Yankees’ magic number is still reduced to 14. Ah, Sweet Lou, those were some great years…
The Yankees are now 40-13 since the All-Star Break. I remember sitting 4 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and I told Julia that the Yankees could win 4 more games than the Red Sox by the end of the year. She thought I was talking rubbish…
This night belonged to Derek Jeter, but I will close my post with a tribute to my idol. Lou, you have been and always will be the greatest Yankee (to borrow some words from Spock). Your records may be tied and broken, but you were a lasting inspiration and there’s no doubt that had you been able to play out your career to the fullest, you would have set marks that never would have been broken. But regardless of what may happen, you will always remain the true Pride of the Yankees…
I enjoyed my evening. How about you?…
The Yankees completed a three-game series sweep over the Orioles in Baltimore with a convincing 10-2 victory on Wednesday. CC Sabathia continued his recent hot streak (hasn’t lost since July 28th), and became the AL’s first 16-game winner.
There were three games of importance tonight:
Yankees 10, Orioles 2
Rays 8, Red Sox 5
Mariners 3, Angels 0
The outcomes meant that the Yankees increased their lead in the AL East to 7 games over the Red Sox, and best record in the AL to 6 ½ games over the Angels. It’s tough to gloat at this point in the season because the thought of Gene Mauch and the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies is never too far from memory. But I am pleased with where the Yankees are at this point in the season.
Walter Iooss, Jr/SI
The latest series sweep by the Yankees was very convincing. It featured a stellar pitching performance by Andy Pettitte, whose attempt for a perfect game was disrupted on an error by third base Jerry Hairston, Jr. A.J. Burnett continued his impression of an injured Chien-Ming Wang, but Yankee homers came to the rescue. Finally, it was the combination of Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez that secured the sweep.
The Yankees are 72-33 since A-Rod returned from hip surgery, and it’s starting to look like he may not need additional surgery after the season. Tonight, he notched his 2,500th career hit, and paced the Yankees with 4 RBI’s.
In an interesting stat, Eric Hinske has only 14 hits since he joined the Yankees, but 7 of those hits have been home runs including one tonight.
Derek Jeter now stands 9 career hits behind the legendary Lou Gehrig for the most career hits with the Yankees. Larrupin’ Lou had 2,721 hits, while DJ has 2,713. Admittedly, it is bittersweet to see another Gehrig mark fall, but I am happy for Jeter. I am sure that Lou would be standing and clapping when Derek gets his 2,722nd hit.
There are reports that Mariano Rivera will miss the next few games with a slight groin injury. That hurts just to type it! ;) Hopefully, it isn’t too serious and he’s back soon. Meanwhile, the other guys in the pen will need to step it up. Hughes, I am not talking about you!
There’s a chance that Brett Gardner will be back in uniform by the Rays’ series. His hustle and ‘all-out’ style of play have been missed despite the Yankees’ continued success.
The Yankees begin a four-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday. The scheduled starter is Chad Gaudin. It is anticipated that Sergio Mitre will pitch Sunday, so I can’t say that I am overly optimistic about the upcoming series. At first pass, I’d have to say that I’ll be pleased with a split. On Monday (Labor Day), the Yankees will open a four-game set with the Scott Kazmir-less Tampa Bay Rays. They’ll play two on Labor Day to get things started. So, it isn’t going to get any easier for the next week. I am sure that my friend Julia in Boston is licking her chops…
What is it with ex-Red Sox pitchers? They stink it up in Boston, and then go to the National League and pitch lights out. John Smoltz struck out 9 batters in his first start with the St. Louis Cardinals. Tonight, Brad Penny pitched eight scoreless innings for the San Francisco Giants to defeat the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Considering that the Giants are my team in the NL, I am pleased for the performance considering that the Giants are neck-and-neck with the Colorado Rockies for the wild card chase. I also liked the anti-Dodger comments that ex-Dodger Penny made. Given that he has made some disparaging comments about the Florida Marlins, I wonder how long before he rips into the Red Sox Nation…
Based on the Red Sox pitchers success in the National League, I guess that means Nick Green will be next year’s NL Cy Young winner! LOL!
Okay, I still can’t wrap my head around Brett Favre being my team’s starting quarterback. How do you suddenly begin cheering for a guy that you “hated” for 16 years. How many times did you think your team was going to win, only to see Favre throw a last second TD to pull out a win for the Pack? I’ll admit that I’ve embraced Johnny Damon despite his previous employer. But then again, I always liked and respected Damon. Even as a Red Sox player, he was always very classy and professional. So, I couldn’t “hate” him. I tried to think of a Red Sox player that I wouldn’t want on the Yankees roster. The first one to come to mind is Josh Beckett. But I still think of him more as a Florida Marlin, so that doesn’t really count. Maybe David Ortiz. But I can’t help but like the guy. I have no problems with Jason Bay, and he would be welcomed to left field in the Bronx with open arms. There really isn’t anyone in any sport that I can compare to how difficult it is to see a bitter rival where your team’s colors. Plus, Favre just looks kind of funny in purple. Maybe Favre should have went to play for Dallas. Watching all those Packers-Cowboys play-off and Thanksgiving games showed that Favre had an affection for throwing to the guys with a silver star on their helmets. Nevertheless, I guess I had better get used to #4. He is not going away. Not this season at least. I remain hopeful that the final Vikings roster of 53 includes John David Booty because I still think he’s the QB of the future. But I guess this season I’d better learn to enjoy eating cheese…
Chris Polydoroff/Pioneer Press
Finally, I went to see Nickelback perform last night at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Jose, CA. I am a huge Nickelback fan so I had high expectations. But this was easily the best concert I’ve ever attended. Chad Kroeger is a master showman, and he definitely knows how to engage a crowd. He’s the type of guy you’d love to have a beer with, except you’d never get in a word edgewise. I was thoroughly impressed, and I recommend the Dark Horse Tour for anyone who hasn’t seen it if it is coming to a city near you. Hinder was also excellent. The concert will leave you feelin’ way too damn good…
Given that his club hits record is being assaulted, I will end this blog with a call out to Lou Gehrig. Lou, you remain the Pride of the Yankees, and you are an inspiration for the world! We will never forget you…
Posted on YouTube by RUKidding05
P.S. I know that I’ve used this video before, but it remains one of my all-time favorites…
There might be something to this so-called “rest”…
Of course, we all know how well Alex Rodriguez responded to some rest and relaxation. Mark Teixeira has not had any rest, and of course, we’ve seen the results of that…
The latest recipient of rest was catcher Jorge Posada who sat out a couple of games with a bruised thumb. He was back in the lineup on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, and the results were, well, for the lack of a better word, very A-Rod-like. On Sunday, in the 12th inning with the game tied at 5, Mark Teixeira doubled to open the bottom of the inning. With first base open, Alex Rodriguez was intentionally walked. Robinson Cano was up next, but true to form recently with men in scoring position, he failed to advance the runners as Tex was out on a fielder’s choice. Jorge Posada came to the plate, and he ripped the third pitch to center, scoring A-Rod with the winning run.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Posada had also homered earlier in the game, a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the 4th inning.
Sabo/NY Daily News
Chien-Ming Wang had pitched well through five innings. When the 6th inning started, Wang was nursing a 3-2 lead over Yankee killer Roy Halladay and the Jays. He had retired 10 of 11 Toronto batters at that point. With Halladay, it’s like what it used to be with Pedro Martinez when he pitched in Boston, you just want to keep it close until you can get into the other team’s bullpen and then take your chances. Unfortunately, disaster struck Wang in the 6th. Marco Scutaro led off with a double. After Aaron Hill had grounded out, Adam Lind homered to give the Jays a 4-3 lead. He threw one pitch to the next batter, Scott Rolen, but Posada knew that something was wrong. Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue came out to the mound, and Wang departed the game. He was later diagnosed with a shoulder strain with bursitis, and had a MRI at a local hospital.
Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger
Wang was relieved by David Robertson. Robertson ended up walking Rolen, and subsequently walked the next batter (Lyle Overbay) too. After striking out Vernon Wells, Alex Rios singled to score Rolen. David Dellucci flied out to end the inning, but Doc Halladay and the Rays had a two-run lead.
Luc Leclerc/US Presswire
Brian Bruney, currently out as the 8th inning bridge to Mariano Rivera until he begins pitching more effectively, opened the 7th inning. The results were mixed but at least he held the Jays scoreless. The first two batters singled. A sacrifice moved the runners to second and third, and Adam Lind was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Fortunately, Bruney retired Rolen and Overbay to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 7th, Derek Jeter singled and scored when Johnny Damon homered to tie the game. That was definitely a huge hit at a very critical time. I think I forgot to thank Julia for failing to re-sign Johnny…
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Phil Hughes pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, and further cemented his status as the set up guy in place of Bruney. I would have liked to have seen Hughes pitch the 9th with the game still tied, but Girardi went with Mariano Rivera. The bullpen continued its stellar performance of late with two scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th by Phil ‘Coke, and then Brett Tomko put the team in position to win by retiring the three batters he faced in the 12th. Clearly, the Yankees won because of their bullpen. Back in April, games were routinely lost because of the pen. The reversal has been very dramatic and clearly the two Phils share the credit, along with the continued domination of ageless closer Mariano Rivera. It doesn’t mean that I now trust Brett Tomko, but at least there is no longer any reason to dread the arrival of a Yankees reliever into a game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
A quick note on Robinson Cano…I am not quite sure what is wrong, but he was 0-for-6 and failed in several key spots. For some reason, he has developed an aversion to hitting with men on base. In the 12th inning, he missed a sign and bunted on a 3-0 pitch. He caught everyone off guard, including Mark Teixeira who was standing on second. He was thrown out at third by 20 feet. “Let’s just say somebody missed something,” Girardi said. “A better way to explain is he misunderstood something.” Cano left 10 men on base, 5 of whom were in scoring position. In his first 5 at-bat’s, he ended the innings, including the 9th with runners at first and second. I am starting to think that Julia swiped Robby and dropped Julio Lugo into his uniform! ;)
The initial word is that Chien-Ming Wang is headed for the DL, and will be gone for about a month. At this point, I do not think there’s any way that Phil Hughes would be re-inserted into the starting rotation. Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog speculated that Sergio Mitre of AAA-Scranton/Wilkes Barre might be the choice, and I agree. Mitre served a 50-game suspension earlier this season after testing positive for Androstendione (it was allegedly the result of an over the counter supplement purchased at GNC which contained an unlisted amount of the steroid). Since his return, Mitre has pitched 30.1 innings and has compiled a 2-1 record in 5 starts with 3.26 ERA. I’d definitely rather see him than Kei Igawa.
Backup catcher Jose Molina feels that he will be ready to rejoin the team on Tuesday in Minnesota.
Sunday’s match up features Joba Chamberlain (4-2) versus Brett Cecil (2-1). Cecil is a replacement for Scott Richmond, who was bumped because of a sore shoulder. To me, it’s time for Joba Chamberlain to make a statement with a solid performance.
Today, in stadiums across the country, the words of Lou Gehrig filled the air in a day of remembrance. 70 years ago today, it was Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium and the Iron Horse gave his immortal farewell speech:
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.
“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.
“So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”
This video is very fitting on a day when we remember Henry Louis Gehrig…
Posted on YouTube by kylethompson4
As the celebrity deaths continue, I was saddened to hear about the death of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair. I remember when Air McNair was being drafted from college, and I had been so hopeful that the Vikings would draft him. I can still remember the disappointment when he was drafted by the Titans. I vividly remember that it was a cloudy day as I listened to the draft. Hopefully, Steve’s killer will be found and brought to justice.
Damian Strohmeyer, SI/AP
In more uplifting news, congratulations to Serena Williams for her victory at Wimbledon over her sister, Venus. I was pulling for Serena so it was enjoyable to see her win in two sets.
Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Now, if Roger Federer can beat Andy Roddick, it will be a GREAT tennis weekend at Wimbledon!
I am in the process of relocating back to my home in Northern California so my posts in the coming days may be more sporadic than usual. But rest assured that I will be back and at full strength by August when the Yankees face the Boston Red Sox. Julia has been lulled into a false sense of security. The Red Sox dominance over the Yankees will end, and we are now just one game behind her beloved boys from Beantown. All things considered, life is good…
Happy 4th of July!
The Yankees were victorious on Friday, thanks in large part to the generosity of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees won the game, 4-2.
Without a ball leaving the infield, the Yankees broke a 1-1 tie with the Jays in the 5th inning. The first two batters (Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter) walked, and Johnny Damon hit a bunt single to load the bases. Mark Teixeira was the beneficiary of the third walk of the inning, which scored Gardner. After Alex Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice that took out Jeter at home, a passed ball by Jays catcher Raul Chavez allowed Damon to race home with their 2nd run of the inning.
The Jays’ Vernon Wells homered in the 6th to close the gap to 3-2, but that’s as close as they would get. A.J. Burnett fared much better in his second start against his former team, going seven innings and allowing only six hits and two runs. He walked only two batters, while striking out seven. He also hit David Dellucci with a pitch, but the walks and hit batter did not come back to haunt him. He was able to work out of difficult situations in the early innings without any damage.
Simmons/NY Daily News
By the late innings, it was over. The Phil’s took over in the 8th. Phil Coke induced the only batter he faced, Adam Lind, to fly out to left. Phil Hughes came in and, after allowing a single to Scott Rolen, got the next two batters, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells, to ground out. Manager Joe Girardi still insists that Brian Bruney is his 8th inning guy, but for the last couple of games, he’s gone with the hotter hands.
I am very impressed with the job that Phil Hughes has done since his conversion to the bullpen. I am still hopeful that he’ll take a starting role in 2010, but for now, it’s nice to have a reliever that can be depended upon in late innings. I personally think he should become the bridge to Mariano Rivera unless his performance dictates otherwise. Hughes’ emergence definitely relieves pressure for the Yanks to seek outside help for the pen, although I agree that it would still be an upgrade to add Houston Street or Chad Qualls (depending upon the cost).
Simmons/NY Daily News
A home run by Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the 8th allowed him to tie Don Mattingly for ninth place on the Yankees All-Time HR List with 222. He also now stands on the Major League All-Time HR List with 567 HR’s (two behind Rafael Palmeiro).
Mariano Rivera quietly finished the Jays in the 9th. He faced only three batters, and struck out two including Raul Chavez to end the game.
Artist – John Michael Santora
The Yankees closed the gap behind the Boston Red Sox to two games. The Sox fell to the Seattle Mariners, 7-6, in eleven innings.
John Tlumacki/Boston Globe
It was an enjoyable day in baseball, but today, win or lose, promises to a very magical and special day for all baseball fans. Enjoy the day!