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Wild Card Watch: September 3, 2013

Good morning Yankees fans! I am back with another Wild Card Watch! Yesterday the Yankees were 3.5 games back and needed to gain some ground. Did they? Here’s the results from last night along with the final scores of our Wild Card contending teams:

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Wild Card Final Scores (WC Teams are in BOLD):

White Sox 1, Yankees 9: David Huff pitched 5.1 IP of one run ball, Derek Jeter drove in two runs and the Yankees scored a season high 8 runs in the 4th inning as they demolished the White Sox 9-1 to take game one of the three game set. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA)

Rays 2, Angels 11: Erick Aybar had a big night for the Angels, hitting a two-run homer and a two-run triple, Grant Green had his first MLB home run and Garret Richards navigated after a shaky start as the Angels hand the Rays their fifth straight loss with a 11-2 victory. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Matt Moore (14-3, 3.41 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.54 ERA).

Orioles 7, Indians 2: Nate McLouth and Matt Weiters both hit two-run HR’s and Bud Norris pitched seven innings of one run ball as the Orioles beat the Indians 7-2. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 3.95 ERA).

Rangers 2, Athletics 4: Coco Crisp hit the game deciding home run and Yoenis Cespedes HR’d as the A’s win 4-2. The Rangers and Angels are now tied for first in the AL West (which is why the Rangers are in the Wild Card standings. Tonight’s match-up: Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94 ERA).

Royals 3, Mariners 1: Royals reliever Will Smith tossed 4.1 IP after starter Danny Duffy left the game in the fourth inning and the Royals got to King Felix, scoring three runs including a Mike Moustakas single as the Royals beat the Mariners 3-1. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 5.18 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (6-2, 2.79 ERA).

Come back tomorrow for another Wild Card Update!

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Wild Card Watch: September 2, 2013

Last night on Twitter I asked my followers if they would prefer that I placed the Wild Card standings on my Twitter account and I got a huge response. All of the answers were yes. So I decided why not do a Wild Card Watch on Yankees Fans Unite as well? That way we can keep tabs on where the Yankees are for the rest of the month, dissecting what the Yankees have to do in order to get the second Wild Card spot. Here was the Wild Card standings from last night, since all the teams that are in the Wild Card race played afternoon games.

BTHeQjaIcAAc33tThe good news is, the Yankees didn’t lose any ground for the second Wild Card spot. The Tampa Bay Rays lost so the Yankees are still 3.5 in the race. The bad news (for now) is that Baltimore and Cleveland leapfrogged over the Yankees for the other two spots. Now, the reason I say it was bad news for now is because a brand new series means brand new teams play against one another. Yankees will host the Chicago White Sox for three games and the Cleveland Indians will host–the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have a chance to once again leapfrog over Baltimore and Cleveland since one of those teams in the Wild Card race would have to lose the games and the series. Now, the White Sox are no pushovers for the Yankees since they have Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago going in that series, but the Yankees have a slightly different team and the offense clicked as of late. What will happen on Labor Day? Hopefully the Yankees labor their way to a victory, then hold their breath to hope either Baltimore or Cleveland lose the game, then hold their breath and hope the Rays lose their game. Yankees can’t fall backwards. It’s only going forwards from here. Come back to the blog tomorrow for another Wild Card Watch.

Yankees creeping closer to second Wild Card Spot

Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and the Yankees have a big task this September--get into the second Wild Card spot.

Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and the Yankees have a big task this September–get into the second Wild Card spot.

All right, let’s play a quick game. Raise your hand if on May 1st you thought this team was going to be in a position to take the second Wild Card spot in September with a lineup that didn’t have Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson or Mark Teixeira. Be honest, because from Twitter from May-July there were some pessimistic tweets about them.

It is September 1st. The Yankees are 3.5 games back for the second Wild Card spot entering play today and they have 27 games remaining. The Tampa Bay Rays have been fading recently, going 3-7 in their last ten games, playing the first Wild Card spot team the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees in their last 10 games are 7-3.  The team the Yankees need to keep below them in the Wild Card, the Baltimore Orioles are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Yes, the Yankees have been playing with the cards that have been dealt to them but it’s easier now, considering the Yankees have some power in the lineup.

Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have returned. The Yankees have traded for Alfonso Soriano. They claimed Mark Reynolds off waivers. The world (and the season) no longer falls on Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki‘s shoulders. They are now a small (but important) part of a large puzzle. The rotation has been getting quality work from Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte. Hiroki Kuroda is expected to turn it around after a dismal August, which could be because of fatigue. The bullpen has been flawless this year (well, majority of the bullpen). The Yankees pieces are all clicking together at the right time and if they keep playing the way they are playing, they have a legitimate chance to knock Tampa Bay out of the second spot and claim it for themselves.

Two weeks ago, the Yankees chances seemed slim. They had to hop over three teams to even get behind the Rays. Going into September…the Yankees hope to pass the Rays and get into postseason contention and prove all the naysayers wrong. This team could be good enough to get into the playoffs, but how far could they possibly go?

Mark Reynolds vs. Lyle Overbay: Take Your Pick

Coming into the stretch, would you put Mark Reynolds (pictured above) in the lineup, or Lyle Overbay?

Coming into the stretch, would you put Mark Reynolds (pictured above) in the lineup, or Lyle Overbay?

There’s no denying two things:

1) Mark Reynolds is carrying a hot bat into this Baltimore Orioles series, having three hits last night and simply demolished the Toronto Blue Jays;  going 5-for-8 in his two games.

2) Lyle Overbay is seriously struggling coming into this series He hasn’t had a hit since August 18 vs. the Boston Red Sox.

The way that it was designed since the New York Yankees had picked up Mark Reynolds was simple; Reynolds will hit vs. LHP and Lyle Overbay will hit vs. RHP. However, the stakes are high and the times have changed. The Yankees are fighting for the final WC spot (along with the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics). They need the hottest bats in the lineup. They need Mark Reynolds. Reynolds is slowly forming back into his April form, hitting .319 in August. after having a sluggish May-July which ultimately caused him to lose his job with the Indians. Lyle Overbay however is hitting .231 in August and is 0-for his last-15.

If I’m the manager of the Yankees, Reynolds would be in the lineup today over Overbay. I like Lyle Overbay, I do–but this is a time where people’s feelings can’t get hurt. If you’re not producing whether on the mound or at the plate, you’re either getting pulled early or you’re not getting the start. It’s as simple as that. Right now, Overbay wouldn’t get the start; Reynolds would. It sounds mean and sounds cruel but looking at numbers, that’s how it would have to be done if the Yankees want to keep their playoff hopes alive. So take your pick, would you take Mark Reynolds…or Lyle Overbay going forward in this stretch?

Game 130 Lineup: Yankees @ Rays

Yankees need this game. If not, they’ll get swept by the Rays and the Yankees playoff chances will diminsh. Here’s your lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano DH
Curtis Granderson LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Mark Reynolds 3B
Chris Stewart C

Ivan Nova RHP

Some Notes and Transactions:

Derek Jeter has the day-off today. If all goes well, he’ll meet the Yankees in Toronto tomorrow for the series vs. the Blue Jays.

– Lyle Overbay feels well enough to play today. He sat out the last two games with a stomach virus. Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells were joking about him.

Cano to Overbay: “You’re getting your color back,”

Wells to Cano: “Whatever color he had,”

– Yesterday I was having a conversation with someone on Twitter about Mark Reynolds possibly being a fit at 3B next year if A-Rod is suspended. Well, it looks like today the Yankees are going to try it out and see for themselves.

– Interesting fact: Mariano Rivera has 36 saves at the Trop in his career. The next player to have the most saves? Jonathan Papelbon (was with the Red Sox at the time) with 10.

Game 129 Lineup: Yankees @ Rays

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Vernon Wells DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Austin Romine C

LHP CC Sabathia

Some Notes and Transactions:

Brett Gardner‘s X-Ray results came back earlier today and they were clean. Gardner is just having the day off vs. the left hander Price.

Lyle Overbay was still dizzy and nauseous when he entered the clubhouse today. Joe Girardi isn’t sure that he’s going to get in the game tonight.

Derek Jeter will have one more rehab start tonight and then will join the Yankees in Toronto. I’ll be covering Derek Jeter’s rehab start so follow me on Twitter @dfiregirl4 for Jeter updates.

Let’s Play Two!: Yanks hope to carry momentum into twin-bill

The Yankees have been gaining momentum over the past week or so.

The Yankees have been gaining momentum over the past week or so.

There was no doubt that this last week has been a magical time for the Yankees. For the last week the Yankees looked to be the Yankees of old, bringing power into their lineup, scoring more than six runs multiple times, when they’ve barely scored more than six runs most of the year. They had the home run power of Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Reynolds. Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano no longer had to feel like they were carrying the team on their backs. There was more than just those two. Yes, the Yankees are missing their captain, but they are also in a position where they can finally gain ground in the AL East. They play against their AL East opponents for the remainder of the season (minus the 3 game sets between the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros) and if the Yankees play their deck of cards right, they can be in a position to take the second wildcard spot. They have their own future in their hands with a little more than a month to go, and a team that looked like sleeping dogs suddenly came barking back, and the offense isn’t much of an issue as it was before.

Sunday night was a prime example of the Yankees magic returning. Being down 2-0 in the second, Ryan Dempster intentionally hit Alex

Brett Gardner and the Yankees will try to extend their momentum into today's twin-bill vs. the Blue Jays

Brett Gardner and the Yankees will try to extend their momentum into today’s twin-bill vs. the Blue Jays

Rodriguez. Something snapped in that Yankees dugout. Brett Gardner and Joe Girardi showing their evident anger, the latter getting tossed from the game although it should have been Dempster. A-Rod was assured by Gardner and his other teammates that they could still get the Red Sox back by using HR power, and that was exactly what A-Rod did. He got the Red Sox back by hitting a HR off Ryan Dempster later in the game.

There was something that changed in that night in the Yankees. The pack of sleeping dogs suddenly awoke and came back with a vengeance vs. the Red Sox.

The Yankees have been playing well for the past week, taking 2-out of -3 from the Tigers, taking 3-out of-4 from the Angels and taking 2-out of-3 from the Red Sox. This is the way the Yankees have to play if they want to further their chances at a wild card spot. They are in the drivers seat of their destiny. They are the ones that can change the game and hope the game plan for the other teams fall apart. The Yankees cannot afford to lose anymore games, so hopefully the momentum from the past week builds on vs. the Toronto Blue Jays as they attempt to become one step closer to their dreams of contending in the play-offs. So let’s play two today and hope in the end, it all works out.

MLB Suspends Rodriguez, Cervelli for Biogenesis link

Alex Rodriguez has been suspended by MLB for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014.

Alex Rodriguez has been suspended by MLB for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014.

Well, the moment that we all were waiting for since early last week has finally arrived: Major League Baseball has suspended Alex Rodriguez for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014. However there is a catch: Rodriguez has appealed the suspension and can play until otherwise.

MLB suspended 13 players today just after noon but the announcement wasn’t made official until 3 p.m. Here is the press release, clarifying Rodriguez’s charges:

Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 Championship Season and Postseason and the entire 2014 Championship Season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement.

Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years.

Rodriguez’s discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation. The suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.

Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez’s suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline.

However, Rodriguez wasn’t the only New York Yankee that was suspended this afternoon. Catcher Francisco Cervelli was suspended for 50-games due to his link of the Biogenesis clinic. Unlike Rodriguez, Cervelli has accepted the suspension and will not play for the rest of the 2013 season.

With Rodriguez’s suspension taking effect until Thursday, he’s able to play the Chicago series from Monday through Wednesday at Cellular Field against the White Sox. Joe GIrardi made a note that he had ‘penciled in’ Rodriguez for the lineup yesterday before a 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Well, it looks as if it’s a brand new season of “As The World Turns On A-Rod.” So grab your popcorn, sit in front of the T.V. tonight…and let the A-Rod circus continue. Oh joy.

MLB, Yankees no longer negotiating deal with A-Rod after comments

250px-Alex_Rodriguez_2008-04-19It looks as if this time, Alex Rodriguez‘s mouth has gotten him into some serious trouble with the people that he’s supposed to negotiate a deal with: Major League Baseball.

After Alex Rodriguez’s comments following last night’s Trenton Thunder game, Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees are no longer willing to negotiate a deal with him regarding his suspension. Now it looks as if A-Rod could be facing either a 214 game ban (which is the rest of this year and next year) or a lifetime ban should MLB choose that route.

Let’s backtrack a moment into the latest chapter of the Alex Rodriguez saga. Following last night’s game, Rodriguez met with reporters and media members, and a couple of his comments had people wondering whether he was crazy, or if he was pretending to care about the other players involved by using himself as an example.

“I think it is pretty self-explanatory. I think that is the pink elephant in the room,” he said. “I think we all want to get rid of PEDs. That’s a must. All the players, we feel that way. But when all this stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that is concerning to me. It’s concerning to present players and I think it should be concerning to future players, as well.”

Look at that. A-Rod really does care about the other players. There’s just one thing–there are no other players in Major League Baseball that have to worry about their contracts getting ripped to shreds. It seems that Rodriguez thinks that there is a conspiracy theory at works, and his comments made rounds to manager Joe Girardi following last night’s 7-2 loss to the Padres in San Diego.

When asked about Rodriguez’s comments, here is what Girardi had to say:

“I was not there, and if I had a chance to sit down and talk with him, I might talk about that, but I’m not there.”

Following Rodriguez’s comments, Major League Baseball made it public that they are no longer negotiating with Rodriguez on his suspension and it looks as if this case could ultimately make it to the Federal Courts, should A-Rod and his camp decide to. The New York Yankees also aren’t talking negotiations with Rodriguez because they have no part in the negotiation or suspension process. If/When Rodriguez is suspended, he also can’t go to Japan to play baseball since Japan honors Major League Baseball’s suspensions. So it looks like another ugly season of “As The World Turns on A-Rod” is awaiting us. Well…it’s better than what’s on cable now.

Alex Rodriguez Rehab Update

Alex Rodriguez went five innings with a home run in his rehab start in Trenton on Friday night

Alex Rodriguez went five innings with a home run in his rehab start in Trenton on Friday night

With the Biogenesis Report suspensions looming, you would think Alex Rodriguez would be worried. Well if he was, it didn’t show. A-Rod played a rehab game today in Trenton earlier this evening with his future still uncertain on where he’ll be on Monday: with the Yankees or at home due to a suspension?

Back to the rehab game, Alex Rodriguez looked like a player that wasn’t bothered by his recent injuries, going 1-for-2 with a 2-run home run that left Arm & Hammer Stadium in Trenton. Alex Rodriguez also fielded two baseballs during the evening.

The first ball hit to him ricocheted off his glove, but he was able to recover it and throw to first for the out. The second ball hit to him was a ball in the hot corner that Rodriguez snagged and threw to first, looking as if the hip or his calf weren’t nagging him.

Rodriguez walked in the first inning on five pitches, he homered in the third on a fastball that was down the middle of the plate and struck out in the fifth inning on a 2-2 change-up. After A-Rod’s final AB, he went to the sidelines (while the game was still in the fifth inning) and started signing autographs, taking pictures and he even gave his bat to a fan. A-Rod made his way to the clubhouse which officially ended his night.

Rodriguez is supposed to play another game tomorrow night and then his fate will be in the hands of Major League Baseball on Sunday night, with MLB making the decisions on Monday morning. Will A-Rod be in Yankees pinstripes Monday or will he be suspended (or banned) from baseball?

A-Rod releases statement amid PED scandal

Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal tweeted that Alex Rodriguez made a statement amid the PED scandal that could have him and 20 other players suspended from Major League Baseball. Rodriguez said the following:

Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded. I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our basic agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As I’ve said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship.

– Alex Rodriguez

Some of the Yankees players sounded off about A-Rod’s possible suspension from the MLB with the most logical words coming from Brett Gardner.

We haven’t had him the last two months. It won’t change anything.

– Brett Gardner

However, after that statement Gardner said that A-Rod is like a brother to the team. CC Sabathia said that he team will welcome A-Rod back with open arms while Mariano Rivera said that while he won’t press Alex Rodriguez to talk about the scandal, he will listen with open ears if A-Rod has any thoughts, comments or concerns.

Some fun facts about the Subway Series

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It’s that time of the year again Yankees and Mets fans. The time of year where you could take the MTA to your opposing teams stadium and watch some great New York baseball: The Subway Series. I love to make a big deal about the Subway Series because it’s the only time of the year where both New York teams play one another (and I love to make a big deal when the Yankees win the series). Now, in spirit of the Subway Series, I found some fun facts that I think you would be interested in. (I know it did this last year, but this year has some fun facts that I didn’t add). So here they are, and enjoy.

1.) Casey Stengel is the only former Yankee and Met to have his number retired by both teams. Stengel’s number 37 was retired by the Mets in 1965 while the Yankees retired his number in 1970.

2.) 111 players played for both the Yankees and the Mets. Pedro Feliciano would have been the 112th player, but he never pitched in a Major League game for the Yankees during his two-year contract.

3.) Prior to the Subway Series Match-Ups, the Yankees and Mets would play annually during the Mayor Trophy’s Game. The final Mayor Trophy’s game was in 1983. In all the match-ups the Yankees came out victorious with a 10-8-1 record.

4.) The largest blowout during the Subway Series was a 15-0 Yankees victory on June 14, 2009 at Yankee Stadium.

5.) David Cone was the only pitcher to win 20 games while playing for both the Yankees and the Mets. Cone was 20-3 in 1988 with the Mets and 20-7 in 1998 with the Yankees.

6.) Mariano Rivera earned his only RBI at Citi-Field on June 28, 2009 when he walked with the bases loaded against closer Francisco Rodriguez. He also earned his 500th career save.

7.) In 2003 the Yankees won all six games of the Subway Series, having the only Subway Series sweep in history.

8.) Four men have managed both the Yankees and the Mets: Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Dallas Green and Casey Stengel.

9.) Alex Rodriguez hit his 564th career HR on June 26, 2009 at Citi Field to pass Reggie Jackson on the all-time HR list.

10.) The New York Yankees have won five straight series against the Mets coming into tonight’s series.

Off-Day Notes: Chamberlain, Robertson, Rodriguez, Jeter, Teixeira, Pineda, Nelson, Granderson

Beauty comes with a price, doesn’t it? On a day where it’s 73 degrees in New York City…there had to be some news about the Yankees somewhere. Let’s get to them.

Joba Chamberlain

– Joba Chamberlain was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a tight oblique. He said he felt something when he was warming up to pitch on Tuesday and complained of soreness when he arrived at the stadium yesterday. Brian Cashman said that the strain is “mild” and Joba should be back to pitch in two weeks. There wasn’t a move on the roster to replace Chamberlain but Cashman did say that he had three names in mind when it came to taking that roster spot: Mark Montgomery, Preston Claiborne and Sam Demel.

David Robertson

– David Robertson spent his off-day at the doctors office after feeling discomfort near his knee/hamstring. The doctors did an MRI and the diagnosis is a “cranky hamstring”. Robertson won’t have to go on the DL; instead he is day-to-day.

Alex Rodriguez

– Alex Rodriguez posted on Facebook that he had been cleared to do baseball activities and that he will head to Tampa on Monday in order to join Curtis Granderson rehabbing their way back to the team. Rodriguez is still expected to be back after the All-Star break, along with Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter

– Derek Jeter is still in the walking boot, but he’s able to remove it to do exercises. He’s expected to be back after the All-Star Break.

Mark Teixeira

– After doing tee and toss, Teixeira will stay with the Yankees until the end of the homestand, then head off to Florida to rehab with A-Rod and Granderson. Teixeira is expected to be back in June.

Michael Pineda

– Michael Pineda is throwing to hitters down in Florida. He’s reached 93-95 MPH on his fastball.

Chris Nelson

– After being acquired by the Yankees late last night, he’s officially been put on the 25-man roster and is activated for tomorrow. Corban Joseph was optioned to Triple-AAA to complete the roster move.

Curtis Granderson

– Curtis Granderson is on the road back to the Yankees today. He took more at-bats in an extended Spring Training game. If all goes well, Granderson is slated to come back in about two weeks.

Yanks have injuries but not slowing down veterans

ny_a_hafner_400The Yankees have lost a lot of familiar names: Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova and possibly Kevin Youkilis. With a lineup that won’t feature most of these names for a while, you would think the Yankees would lie down and take the beating, not fight at all and prove every non-believer right. The Yankees have done the opposite. Going into today’s game, the Yankees are 13-9, 12-5 since April 7. In a team that’s bruised and beat up, there’s a shining light, where veterans stepped up and are producing for the Yanks.

No one expected Travis Hafner to be such a big catalyst in the Yankees lineup vs. right handed pitching. And no one would have thought that Vernon Wells would come out of the gate swinging. Well, that’s the case for the Yankees. The veterans are taking over the lineup for the Yanks, and they intend on milking out every opportunity possible to prove their worth to the ball-club. Here are some Yankees that surprised us so far in the season, making their cause known to the team.

Brett GardnerIf you told me on April 1st that Brett Gardner was going to have 3 HR’s and have the second most RBI’s (12) on the team behind Robinson Cano, I’d say you were a dreamer. I’d call you crazy as well, but mostly a dreamer. Well, Brett Gardner has been opening some eyes, proving that he deserves to be in the lineup vs. left handed pitching as well as right handed pitching. Out of Gardner’s 3 HR’s this season, two are of significant importance: Gardner hit them vs. left handed pitching. Before his first HR, the last time Gardner hit a HR vs. left handed pitching was on July 3, 2010 vs. Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays. Gardner has been showing strength, and although he’s paid to run and steal bases, we’ll excuse him for not stealing bases as of yet since he’s doing a great job in bringing runners in scoring position to the plate.

Robinson Cano: Robinson Cano had an odd start to his 2013 campaign. He was struggling just like Brett Gardner and just like Ichiro Suzuki. However like Gardner, Cano quickly turned it around and started providing offense for the team. With no Curtis Granderson, no  Mark Teixeira and no Derek Jeter, there is a loss in home runs for the Yankees meaning that Cano has to carry the team on his back every single game. After a putrid first week, Cano has done just that. He’s carried the team on his back. Does 7 HR’s and 17 RBI’s prove my point? It should.

Travis Hafner: Pronk has become a pleasant surprise to the Yankees, showing his power and is dubbed the “2013 version of Raul Ibanez“. Pronk is easily one of my favorite acquisitions, since he comes up in the clutch in the playing time he’s had. He has 5 HR’s, (one of them was so dramatic, it won the game). He also made Cleveland Indians fans remember why they loved him so much…although he hit home runs AGAINST his former team, leaving the fans unhappy. Anyway, Pronk is a player that I wish could hit vs. left handed pitching…but I’ll take him as he is. He’s been a great player so far and we hope he stays healthy.

Vernon Wells: Who would have thought that out of all people, Vernon Wells would be the player he was before he signed the gigantic contract that caused him to get traded to two different teams? Vernon Wells is second for team batting average, home runs and is third in RBI’s. It might have helped that the Yankees faced the Blue Jays twice, once on their recent road-trip and on their current home-stand. Vernon Wells has no trouble showing the Blue Jays fans what they were missing, and the Yankees love it.

On This Day in History | 1926

Ruth at Comiskey Park in 1926 (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Ruth at Comiskey Park in 1926 (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

On this day 87 years ago, the Yankees pounded The Big Train, Walter Johnson, in an 18-5 drubbing at Griffith Stadium. Babe Ruth led the charge against the future Hall of Famer, going 5-for-6 with a double, homer, and 6 RBIs. The offense tallied 22 hits and 18 runs, tagging the Train for 7 runs on 8 hits. It was the most runs he would give up all season.

Urban Shocker shone for the Bombers, yielding just 3 earned runs over 8 innings before giving way to Hank Johnson to finish the job. The Senators threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Yanks, using a 20 different players throughout the game, but they could not stem the tide of the eventual American League Champions.

The magic and determination of “42″

Today, we honor number 42 for changing baseball forever

Today, we honor number 42 for changing baseball forever

Outside of baseball, 42 is a random number. It could be an age or how much of something one person possesses.

But in baseball, 42 takes on a whole new meaning.

42 was the number that belonged to none other than Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier on April 15, 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers (now known as the Los Angeles Dodgers). And because of Jackie Robinson, baseball is what it is today.

Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919, the youngest of five children. When he was a high school student, he took up multiple sports ranging from track-and-field, football, tennis, basketball and most importantly of all, baseball. He was the shortstop and catcher on his school baseball team, quarterback on the football team and guard on the basketball team. It was no secret that Jackie Robinson was an athletic individual but he would face challenges that gave him a whole new perspective on the game.

When Robinson enrolled in Pasadena Junior College, he made the baseball team. He was the lead-off man and the shortstop but most importantly, most of his teammates were white. Robinson developed his combativeness towards racial antagonism when he was arrested in 1938 after he vocally disputed the detention of a black friend to police. Robinson was hit with a two-year suspension and after his brother Frank Robinson was killed in an automobile accident, he transferred to UCLA to be closer to Frank’s family.

Like other ball-players in the early 1940′s, Robinson was in the Army although he was never sent overseas. He served as an army athletics coach until he was honorably discharged in 1944. It was then when a former player of the Kansas City Monarchs suggested that Robinson write a letter to the Monarchs co-owner Thomas Baird to ask for a tryout. And that’s exactly what Robinson did. He received an offer in 1945 from the Monarchs to play for their ball-club. The contract was $400 ($5,101 in 2013 dollars) per month, and Robinson couldn’t say no.

While Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs, few major league teams were interested in adding a black player to their ball-club. The Red Sox were one of the first teams to show interest, although it was later revealed to be a farce, and were the last team to integrate their roster fourteen years later. The team that showed the most interest in Jackie Robinson–the Brooklyn Dodgers, run by Branch Rickey. Rickey interviewed Robinson, and in a famous three-hour conversation, questioned whether or not Robinson could control his tempter against racial antagonism.

 “Are you looking for a Negro who’s afraid to fight back?” Robinson was aghast.

 “No.” Rickey replied. “I need a Negro player with guts enough not to fight back.”

Robinson agreed to turn the other cheek and on November 1, 1945, Robinson was signed to a minor league contract, beginning the 1946 season with the Montreal Royals.

In 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers purchased Robinson’s contract, making him their opening day first baseman. He didn’t have a base-hit his first game, but walked and scored in the Dodgers 5-3 victory. Robinson was received generally positive, although mixed with newspapers and white major-league players. However, there was racial tension in the Dodgers clubhouse. Players would sign petitions and order they wouldn’t play unless Robinson didn’t, but Dodgers managing wouldn’t have it. Robinson was here to stay.

He also faced racial discrimination among other teams, some teams targeting Robinson physically during games. With the antagonism and despair, most players would have given up. But not Jackie Robinson. Robinson had support from players such as his own teammate Pee Wee Reese, who put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder in response to the racial slurs Robinson was receiving during a game in Cincinnati. Pee Wee Reese once famously said these words:

 “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”

At the end of his rookie season, Robinson’s line was .297/.383/.427, earning him the award for Rookie of The Year.

After nine years with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson retired from baseball, but his impact on the game will forever be imprinted on the number Robinson wore the last nine years: number 42.

On April 15, 1997, Major League Baseball universally retired the number 42, although players that already had the number would be grandfathered in, allowing them to keep the number until the day they retire. Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera is the last player to wear the number 42. Rivera considers it an honor, and is thankful for what Jackie Robinson had done for baseball.

 “Jackie Robinson was a great man.” Rivera told ESPN over the weekend during the Baltimore Orioles series at Yankee Stadium. “I have always said that wearing this number is a privilege and a great responsibility. To represent what Jackie Robinson represented for us, as a minority, and for all of baseball in general, it’s tremendous.”

To the Yankees, Jackie Robinson represents a lot. If  Jackie Robinson didn’t have the courage or strength to do what he did, we wouldn’t see players such as Curtis Granderson, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia or Robinson Cano on the roster–or in the Major Leagues.

 “As a baseball player, number 42, without it, I’m not here talking to you.” Curtis Granderson said during an interview with MLB.com. “42 has done amazing things for not only Africans-Americans…but for the globalization of the game.”

 “The way he handled himself was unbelievable.” Cano, who pays homage to Jackie Robinson by wearing 24 (the reverse of number 42) said. “I don’t know if I would of had the same courage he had back in the day. That’s somebody that we truly learn from. Not only fighting for ourselves but look how he opened the doors for everybody. Look how different is baseball today. It’s not about one country, it’s about one world. “

 “Doesn’t matter where you came from, doesn’t matter what your background is. Your effective impact moving forward is the way that your life should be, and that’s what Jackie did.” Granderson said. “He came from where he was, he broke through the barriers, continued to move in and we still continue to talk about his name now and we will continue to talk about his name forever.”

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