Category Archives: Rants
Ever since 1989, John Sterling has been in the broadcast booth calling Yankees games through thick and thin. He’s entertaining, he’s interesting and one of the few radio announcers I can turn to when it’s time to mute a FOX game. One of the reasons that I enjoy listening to Sterling is for his inventive and interesting home-run calls. His home-run calls are one of those staples that are needed to be memorized by every Yankees fan. Over the years, he has created home-run calls that cannot be forgotten. Remember Bernie William’s famous home-run call “Bern Baby Bern” or Tino Martinez‘s “Bam-Tino?” Yep, that was John Sterling’s entertaining mind. When a new Yankee hits a home-run, fans turn and ask “What’s John Sterling’s home-run call for this player?” Well, being the John Sterling radio fanatic that I am, I compiled a list of some of our favorite New York Yankees home-run calls for the players on the current team. (that includes our new Yankees brethren as well).
Brett Gardner: Brett Gardner has two home-run calls, depending of the mood that John Sterling is. Personally, I love hearing them both since Gardner rarely hits HR’s. The first one is fun to say because he went yard, yet the second one is a pun on his last name ‘Gardner’ which is an actual word.
1) “Gardy goes Yardy!”
2) “Gardner plants one in the (left or right) field seats!”
Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro’s home-run call. I felt like John Sterling could have been more inventive with Ichiro’s home-run call, but it is what it is.
“Ichiro, the Yankees rising son, says sayonara.”
Curtis Granderson: The second home-run call is one of my favorites. The first one is a pun on his last name, but the second one you get to sing! Every time Granderson goes to bat, I find myself singing it. I can’t wait to start singing it when Granderson comes back from the DL.
1) “Isn’t he something sort of Grand-ish?”
2) “Oh, the Grandyman Can! Oh, the Grandyman can!”
Derek Jeter: Derek Jeter is the captain of the Yankees, so his home-run call is rather fitting.
Mark Teixeira: Mark Teixeria is another one of those Yankees that has two home run calls. I actually enjoy the first one more since it’s a pun on getting a text message. (And I like to look at my smartphone and ask why haven’t I got a ‘Tex’ Message yet when he goes to the plate).
1) “Mark sends a Tex Message to the (left or right) field seats!
2) “You’re on the Mark, Teixeira”
Alex Rodriguez: Everyone knows A-Rod’s HR call. It’s not a secret.
“An A-Bomb for A-Rod.”
Robinson Cano: If I were John Sterling, I would trademark this home-run call. It’s became a very popular saying among Yankees fans.
“Robbie Cano, Don’t Ya Know!”
Francisco Cervelli: I personally am a sucker for this home-run call. It simply reminds me of food.
“Cisco the Kid Cerv’s one up!”
Travis Hafner: All right, I love John Sterling and all but…this call was L-A-M-E! It lacks the magic. Did Sterling figure that he wasn’t going to be a Yankee past this season and gave him a home-run call that was sad yet lame?
1) “The Pronx Bomber.”
2) “A Hafner Homer.”
Vernon Wells: So Vernon Wells has two HR calls that are slightly better than Travis Hafner’s. Wells’s walk-up song may be awesome…but his HR call is something that’s almost cringe-worthy.
1) “The Bronx is Vernon.”
2) “Wells rings the bells.”
Kevin Youkilis: So all of my favorite things in life has to have carbon copies of something? My favorite T.V show has carbon copies of the original characters and Kevin Youkilis’s HR call is a carbon copy of Alex Rodriguez’s.
“A Nuke for Youk.”
Yeah, that was really inventive.
Yep, we may love them and we may hate them but the John Sterling HR calls are iconic to the Yankees. When a new Yankee hits a home-run, you never know what call John Sterling could come up with.
Not even one full day into his first day at spring training, the few sentences said by Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis sent fans and the media into a frenzy. Likely a few hours after he was sized for his pinstripes, Youk was telling reporters he’d always be a Boston Red Sox.
He’s learned now, but that’s a big no-no and certainly not something that will go unnoticed in the big New York spotlight. Of course, his allegiance to Boston spread all over the back pages of newspapers was not the only quote he gave, but it was the only one people cared about.
Already on Yankees fan’s bad side, Kevin Youkilis said he will always remember the first nine seasons of his baseball career, which just so happened to take place with the Bombers’ biggest rival. Two World Series rings, three All Star appearances, a Gold Glove and Hank Aaron Award, and he is being ridiculed for saying he enjoyed what he accomplished there? Are fans truly clinging to any little thing he says that sounds the slightest anti-Yankee? That is truly pathetic.
Now, there’s not a fiber in my body that tells me a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis wearing our beloved Yankee pinstripes is right. This is not a plea of defense nor show of love to the guy who batted .235 last season and yet received $12 million, from an apparently penny-pinching Yankees front office. But it’s just me accepting it.
Many people have brought up the argument that players like Sparky Lyle, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Johnny Damon all started out as hated rivals in Beantown, and ended up becoming fan favorites [and more importantly, World Series champions] in the Bronx. Did any fan really expect those four “idiots” to put on the pinstripes, play with Yankee pride and partake in some of the greatest moments the team has ever had? I don’t think so.
I’ll give you a moment to reminisce about Sparky’s 1977 Cy Young season. Or Boggs riding the horse after ’96. Don’t forget Clemens’ postseason dominance either. Or Damon’s double-steal.
That is not my number one point, but it largely contributes to the idea that fans need to just wait and see what happens this season. The fact is, no one knows what Kevin Youkilis will do for the Yankees this year. I don’t expect anything outstanding, but I don’t expect anything horrible either.
Yankees fans have been considered vulgar, ignorant, downright stupid and clueless in the past. They have also been known as classy, every now and then, for cheering for whoever is wearing the pinstripes. I’m not a fan of A-Rod and a number of guys on the team. But I still support them and cheer for them. Why? Because they’re Yankees. And Kevin Youkilis is now one too.
So forget what he was, as he is now a player for our favorite team. Forgive and forget. Give him a chance. All those statements and more apply. The fact is, you don’t know anything until you know everything. Who knows what these upcoming 162 games have in store for Youk. Only time will tell. Not me or you.
UPDATE: per Daily News, ARod, Melky, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz and others linked to Anthony Bosch, who is target of HGH/drug investigation by DEA & MLB. The below is straight from the Daily News:
As the Daily News first reported Saturday, federal investigators from the DEA and Florida, as well as MLB’s Department of Investigations, have been probing the link between Bosch and the Yankees’ third baseman, and as many as 20 other active players, for several months. According to sources, federal agents have already interviewed Bosch.
“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” said one law enforcement source.
Rodriguez’s name appears many times in Bosch’s reports and in a notebook, according to the Miami New Times, under his own name as well as the aliases “Alex Rod” or “Cacique” — his nickname at the now-shuttered clinic — as having received testosterone cream and insulin-like growth factor and other types of growth hormone. Rodriguez’s account with Bosch was “paid through April 30th” of 2012, according to the records cited by the newspaper. The account dates back to 2009, according to the report. Rodriguez still has five years, $114 million remaining on his Yankee contract.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: I was skimming through the New York Daily News website on Saturday to read the sports section wanting to know what some of the columnists had to say about the idle Yankees, and there was one article that caught my eye. Under the Yankees section of the Daily News, Bill Madden wrote about the on-going Alex Rodriguez saga. We all knew that Alex Rodriguez was going to have hip surgery. We all knew that he could have been out at least until mid-July. But the title of the article had me wanting to read more. “Yankees would not be at all unhappy if Alex Rodriguez misses next season or never comes back.“
Brian Cashman made a call to WFAN to talk about Alex Rodriguez possibly missing the season and while he showed some uncertainty over the future of A-Rod, he didn’t seem all that sad about it. It could be because he’s a business man and is supposed to be professional about his players but from the way Cashman spoke on the phone, his tone implicated that he wasn’t at all concerned.
The Yankees went out to get a new third baseman in the former Red Sox turned Yankee, Kevin Youkilis, probably meaning that if Youkilis performed up to par then the Yankees wouldn’t miss A-Rod as much. Alex Rodriguez is easily one of the most controversial Yankees of this decade, practically being paid gigantic money for mediocre numbers, also adding to the fact that A-Rod had taken PED’s in his past.
I understand that the PED’s was a mistake (as most ballplayers that are caught using steroids say), but A-Rod’s on-going antics on the field is what get’s fans riled up, and not in a good way. Last season, A-Rod was constantly injured, had an abysmal postseason which we could easily say was the hip injury and flirted with female fans, while the Yankees were losing! The New York Post front cover after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs still hurts to this day.
The good news is that the Yankees would easily be able to eat up A-Rod’s contract, keeping the $28 Million promised to A-Rod due to having an “insurance policy” on the player. The insurance works if a player has missed more than four months of the season and it’s minimal unless the player misses the entire season. (To answer questions before they are asked, neither Mariano Rivera nor Brett Gardner had insurance policies in their contracts even though they missed almost the entire season last year).
From a business stand point, the Yankees would probably want A-Rod to never come back since it would eat up his remaining contract and save them more money in the long run. I personally will always be grateful for the 2009 A-Rod run to the World Series, but honestly, I think this time he might want to consider hanging up his cleats for good. His body is breaking down, and fans don’t want to pay money to watch A-Rod decline if he ever comes back.
To read the Daily News article, Click Here
When the 2012 offseason began, many Yankees fans were hoping that the Yankees would snag the big names off the free agent boards. Scenarios like possibly putting Josh Hamilton in pinstripes or maybe even re-signing Russell Martin were flying all across Twitter and Facebook. Of course, since the season ended in mid-October, all the Yankees have done were twiddle their fingers as the big names came off the board. Russell Martin? Signed a two-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates (and joined former Yankee A.J Burnett). Josh Hamilton? Signed a mega deal with the LA Angels and left the Texas Rangers hanging. Nick Swisher? Took his talents to Cleveland for the next four years. Raul Ibanez? He’s going back to Seattle to play for the Mariners. Eric Chavez? Taking his talents to Arizona to help the Diamondbacks get back into another postseason race. Even names like Mike Napoli and A.J Pierzynski came off the board although it made no sense as to why the Yankees didn’t offer either of them a contract with basically no catcher slotted for the 2013 season.
The only new signing the Yankees made so far was Kevin Youkillis who will play third base on Opening Day due to Alex Rodriguez needing hip surgery. The Yankees have made re-signings with some of their players such as Hiroki Kuroda, Brett Gardner, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Ichiro Suzuki, all whose contracts were rather small and for the most part one-year deals (minus Ichiro).
Many would believe that the reason the Steinbrenner’s aren’t spending as much money is due to keeping the payroll at $189 Million in 2014 in order to avoid a luxury tax, but this is something that Yankees fans aren’t used to. Yankees fans are used to spending money on players; giving lucrative contracts for players who can bring their talents to the Bronx and help the Yankees bring home another World Series Championship. However, with an aging Ichiro playing right field, no catcher, no DH and a very light bench, it seems that the Yankees could be heading towards the dreaded “R” word that we all know and hate: rebuilding.
According to an article in the New York Times last March, Hal Steinbrenner was quoted by saying, “Budgets matter, and balance sheets matter. I just feel that if you do well on the player-development side and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220 million payroll. You don’t. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent.”
Yes, certain teams in baseball have had success with using young talent from the farm system in order to save on payroll. The Oakland Athletics, the Tampa Bay Rays are to name a few. However with the Yankees, this method won’t work. The Yankees farm system is bleak and some of their top prospects aren’t going to be ready to play for the big leagues in the near future. Their best prospect Jesus Montero was traded last offseason to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda who hasn’t pitched an official inning for the Yankees. (Although, he has made headlines throughout the year). Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances were both plagued with injuries last season, setting back their chances of making it to the Major League ball club in the near future as well.
In all honesty, pitching wise the best breakout Yankee prospect that we’ve seen in the last couple of years was David Phelps who has proven that he could play at a Major League level (and was a big help to the Yankees 2012 season after the injuries to Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia). Austin Romine could be a possibility for the catchers’ role, but he has been plagued with back injuries and concussions in his playing career.
The Yankees could stay competitive in 2013 with the likes of Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson in their lineup but what’s to happen in 2014 when Cano and Granderson become free agents? Will the Yankees offer a contract to Cano and let Granderson go? Will the Yankees sign the both of them to return? Will the Yankees let both of them go in order to try to rebuild a farm system that doesn’t look promising for the next couple of years? We’ve heard the dreaded “R” word surround other teams, but as for the Yankees (gulp) rebuilding, it seems like the end of the spending era and the beginning of an era where the Yankees just sit and wait until they win a Championship.
In the days immediately following the Yankees’ elimination, when the anger and demand for answers was high, I finally conceded that Nick Swisher’s time with the Yankees needed to end. His goofy, smart Alec attitude had run its course here in New York, as for the fourth straight year he was an automatic out in the postseason.
It was just unacceptable, and I thought that all good things had to end at some point. Since Swish is an impending free agent, it would be easy to just let him walk and go help out another team in the regular season and then choke for them in the playoffs. The Yanks would re-up with Ichiro and all will be well, heck maybe even better in Yankeeland.
Of course weeks later I’m now in the more mellow, accepting stage of the end of the Yankees season. I’ve accepted that they just weren’t good enough this year. I’ve accepted that the blame does not fall on any one player. And I’ve accepted that sometimes I think too much with my heart rather than with my brain.
This is something I hope all Yankee fans have been able to do. Because hopefully, it’ll make them realize, like I have, that Nick Swisher is essential to the 2013 Yankees.
You heard me.
Look, I’ve always been a Nick Swisher fan. But as I mentioned, come playoff time, no one is off limits to trash, even if it’s one of my favorite Yankees.
Yes, Swisher had another horrid playoff performance, but that was simply a nine-game stretch.
Now, if you don’t hit in October, you don’t fit the bill on the Yankees, I get that. But with that thinking in mind, that means the Yanks should also get rid of Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and hey he went 0 for 8, Brett Gardner as well.
Without those players, you don’t get to the postseason. The Yankees are an 80 win team at best without those hitters. Would you rather miss the playoffs without those players, or have them carry you to the postseason to only have them hit a rough patch in October, against solid pitching? Most people don’t think of it that way.
The fact is Nick Swisher is an outstanding hitter in the regular season. It’s debatable he’s the best hitting right fielder in the game from April to September. Each year with the Yankees, he’s hit at least .260, at least 20 home runs, and at least 80 RBI, this year knocking in 92 in fact.
Yes, he has his hot and [very, very] cold streaks, but whenever he was out of the lineup, it always seemed like the Yankees were missing something. He’s so versatile as a hitter. He can hit near the top, in the middle, and in fact in 2009 he hit eighth a large number of times. Name another hitter on the Yankees who could hit anywhere in the lineup and still produce the same.
Some people do want Swisher back but say it’s impossible for the Yankees to do so, given his contract demands to go along with the Yankees suddenly tight budget. I argue that Swisher isn’t going to get the money his agent wants for him. Do you really expect a team to shell out $100 million to a 32 year old outfielder not named Josh Hamilton? Not me. And after witnessing how much Swisher loved playing in New York the past four years, it would be hard to convince me he won’t give the Yankees a bit of a hometown discount.
I personally see him getting a deal similar to the one Johnny Damon received [from the Yankees] in 2006 – four years, $50 million. While that’s still maybe a bit too much for the Yankees to handle, if they are smart and deal Curtis Granderson’s contact, (as well as letting most of their other impending free agents walk) they’d certainly have room.
Another argument is that he’s too old to be counted on to produce as much as he has, as well as hold down right field for the next couple of years. A good point, but Swisher has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball over the past four years, and Yankee Stadium’s right field has been manned by the likes of Bobby Abreu, Paul O’Neill, and Gary Sheffield before. So I’m sure defense shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Also consider the fact that Swisher each season has trimmed body fat and added muscle, and has become a much better overall athlete.
The main question I have in defense of Swisher returning, is who plays right field next year if he leaves? Sure, the Yankees may simply not want him back, but then who will replace him?
As I write, I noticed a report that maybe Curtis Granderson will move to left field and Brett Gardner will move to center. That’s all good, but then who plays right? The Yankees by letting Swisher walk would create a big problem for themselves, with not many good players available to fill Swish’s spot in the field and in the lineup.
Some say sign Torii Hunter or Cody Ross, and others say trade for Andre Ethier or Josh Willingham. All three are solid outfielders, but are they New York outfielders? Swisher has proven he can play for the Yankees and most importantly play well. The potential replacements listed are of similar age to Swisher, and have never played on a big stage before, considering they all played for non-contenders in 2012 and have little (memorable) experience in the playoffs. Ross had one big postseason for San Francisco in 2010. Any guarantee he replicates that in pinstripes next year? No.
In replacing Swisher, Yankee fans are looking for someone who can come up big in October, something Nick has of course failed to do. But you can never sign or refuse to sign a player based on what he may do in the postseason. The playoffs are an entirely different animal, and nothing is guaranteed. Look at the World Series MVPs of the past six years – Mike Lowell, Cole Hamels, Hideki Matsui, Edgar Renteria, David Freese , Pablo Sandoval. I could go on even longer. Out of that group, were there any big-name free agent signings? Not that I can see. I see a group of gritty players, young and old, either coming out of the farm system or being traded for.
The fact is , you can’t run a player out of town because of the postseason. Nick Swisher is one of the best hitters on the Yankees during the regular season, and letting him go would be an idiotic move that I think they’d regret for years. Similar to the likes of trading Bobby Murcer, letting Reggie Jackson walk, and allowing Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte to go win a pennant for the Astros.
The Yankees have made many mistakes in the past fifty years, and this is one they can avoid by simply extending Nick Swisher a clearly deserved new contract. They already probably need a new bench, a catcher, and a closer. Why add ‘right fielder’ to that list when you can retain one of the best the Yankees have had in a long time? It just flat out makes no sense.
I hope for Swisher’s sake, he sticks it to the Yankees by being a thorn in their side whenever he plays them. If I go to a game next year and Swisher returns by hitting a home run, you bet I’ll be standing and cheering.
They’re known as the Evil Empire. The New York Yankee$. Or in Nickelodeon’s “Fairly Odd Parents”, the Bankees.
Year after year, the Yankees and their fans are constantly discredited and disrespected because of how they take advantage of their surplus of cash, spend it on the best players in the game, and build a perennial All-Star team each year in the Bronx.
2009 is the most recent year anti-Yankee fans point to. After an 89-win 2008 season in which the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993, general manager Brian Cashman went on a mission to own the proceeding winter’s free-agent market to put a championship-caliber team in the Yanks’ brand new billion dollar ballpark.
Well, some 400 million dollars later, Cash got his wish. He brought in not only stud lefty CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay’s sidekick A.J. Burnett, but slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira as well. Three players who were all still in the beginning of their primes despite having accomplished plenty in the seasons leading up to their pinstriped days.
As many predicted, the Yankees won the World Series that year by defeating the Phillies in six games. It was a glorious moment (one I witnessed in person), and of course there’s nothing better than your favorite team winning it all.
Besides one thing though: winning it all multiple times.
That’s something this seemingly stacked Yankees team has failed to do, after now three straight playoff failures despite having trophy-worthy regular seasons.
But of course as we all know, that last point is irrelevant to us. No trophy besides the trophy matters. George Steinbrenner set a precedent that is followed by everyone in Yankeeland – that anything short of a World Series is an unsuccessful season. Throw away all the memories and historic moments of the past three years. The Yankees didn’t win it all, and that signals it’s time for change.
Most fans are convinced this offseason will be a replaying of the spending-spree of ’09. Brian Cashman will go out and sign the top free agents [Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke in this case] and the Yankees will become a superhuman team and power their way towards another world championship.
The worst part of it all is that they want this to happen. The same fans that are complaining about A-Rod’s contract are the ones begging ownership to give a drug abusing, clunky, and 32 year old Josh Hamilton hundreds of millions. Not to mention head-case Zack Greinke, who’s an A.J. Burnett waiting to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, those moves would definitely help the Yankees. The question is for how long? I don’t want to win another pennant/World Series, and then suddenly fall apart and fail to win again without a true core in place. This team is too old and has too many holes for it to be fixed with the ‘dough. Hopefully Brian Cashman realizes this and fans can stop their pre-orders of Josh Hamilton jerseys before they arrive at their doorsteps with Red Sox colors.
Just look at the San Francisco Giants. Here they are in a blink of an eye winning their second World Series in three seasons. Biting their lips in the 2000s and watching their West Coast foes enjoy championships and playoff baseball sure paid off, didn’t it? They let their farm system progress, made trades to help the club in a couple years, and locked up young players who clearly had potential others couldn’t see. Now they have two world championships with a roster filled with MVP contenders and Cy Young winners, and most of the players haven’t even reached their prime years yet.
To quote John Sterling, “isn’t that amazing?”
It really is, and quite embarrassing for the Yankees to be witnessing.
Austin Jackson. Phil Coke. Melky Cabrera. George Kontos. Arodys Vizcaíno. Jesus Montero. Ian, Patrick, Kennedy. Do you want me to continue?
Those players (plus many more) made up the future of the Yankees just a couple years ago. It seemed like the Core Four could pass the torch off to this bunch and they could continue the winning and success that Jeet, Mo, Andy and Jorgie enjoyed for the majority of their careers.
Now, after the Cash-man decided to deal away all of those young prospects, the Yankees are left with a team full of senior citizens (baseball-wise). Each season seems like a “last-hurrah” for this whittling core of the Bombers, and had the club simply instilled trust and held on to it’s promising young guns, a new dynasty could have just been getting underway.
Instead, we’re left with a home-run or bust center fielder, two injured pitchers, and suddenly many problems to be addressed this coming winter.
There’s no doubt in my mind this team is certainly still salvageable, and can get younger and stronger for the upcoming season. That’s of course as long as Cashman looks for trades that bring in youth, rather than dealing it away for pretty much nothing.
Then again, that’s just like telling a college student to change his study habits, or lack thereof the night before the big exam. It just won’t happen. Cashman isn’t that type of GM, and it’s certainly hard to be being in the “win-now” atmosphere of New York.
But I’m just flat-out tired of teams taking advantage of the Yanks’ farm system and winning pennants and making superstars due to our front office’s lack of faith in any youngsters. It seems like we hear about these top Yankee prospects for years and BOOM – they’re flipped to the Atlanta Braves for Javier Vazquez. Come on.
I want Curtis Granderson gone. Each time his name is brought up I think of IPK, A-Jax, and Coke. That’s it. He’s done nothing but make me regret that trade year after year. He still has value in being able to hit 40 home runs, and the Yankees could get a great deal including top prospects if you throw in a Phil Hughes or a Joba Chamberlain.
How about Alex Rodriguez? I don’t think he will be traded, and that’s because my personal lack of trust and faith in Brian Cashman. But if dealt, the Yankees could get a big head-case off the team and also either some prospects or a young established Major Leaguer in return.
Look, I am thinking of moves for 2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond. It seems like the Yankees’ offseason policy is just how to win in the next calendar year. And it really annoys me because clearly, that policy has only worked once in the past twelve years. When something ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. But something is clearly wrong in the Yankees organization, be it their outlook on fielding a team or the ones who do the very job.
As I stated, I want to win. But not for one season. I want a dynasty that can last with young exciting players you want to root for.
Hey, what can you say. I’m a Yankee fan. It’s in my blood for me to want that.
This has been a rant on the New York Yankees, sponsored by AARP.
This month it will officially be five years – that’s half a decade – since Joe Torre was manager of the New York Yankees.
In his twilight years, George Steinbrenner was still The Boss, and he professed it more than ever that postseason. Following a heart-breaking Game 2 loss to the Indians in the 2007 ALDS, George said that if the Yankees couldn’t rebound and win the series, then Joe Torre would be gone.
That was an unimaginable thought – the Yankees without Joe Torre. 12 years since he was hired and tagged with the nickname “Clueless Joe”, Yankee fans everywhere had come to respect and love their skipper. After all, making the playoffs every season was not always as easy as the Yankees had made it seem all those years.
But clearly, times were different in 2007. These weren’t the same Bombers who had gone out a number of seasons prior and ran off a streak of four World Series championships in five years. Where Tino Martinez make slick-fielding plays at first base, there was Doug Mientkiewicz. Where Paul O’Neill gave it all in right field, there was Bobby Abreu. Yes, Andy Pettitte was back, and Jeter, Mo, and Jorge Posada had never left. But the dynasty ended a long time ago, and with it went the clutch factor of postseason Yankees teams.
But not lost in that thought, was just how amazing the ’07 Yankees were [in the regular season]. After pulling through a treacherous 22-29 start, being 13 1/2 games behind the eventual Fall Classic champion Red Sox, the Yankees fought back with Joe Torre leading the way. A 72-39 finish from the end of May resulted in a 94-win campaign, and a Wild Card berth. Oh, and they ended just 2 games back of Boston for the division.
To say the 67-year old native New Yorker had lost touch with his team, was simply false. Joe was leading the Yankees the best he ever had. “Energy”, was the word he kept re-iterating to his team. Bring your A-game night in and night out, and you’ll win.
As much as it held true from the end of May to late September, in early October, the message had run its course. The Yankees dropped the first two games of the series, and were in a must-win situation heading back to the Bronx and the House That Ruth Built. It just so happened Game 3 and Game 4 would be the final postseason games held at the old Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees lifted the hearts of their fans and even Joe Torre off the bench with a thrilling 8-4 Game 3 victory. The momentum was back. The swagger was back. And for that one night, Torre’s Yankees proved they wouldn’t quit on their manager and that maybe, with all the comebacks they had made under his helm, one more was in the works.
The next night, chants of “Joe Torre” could be heard by all 56,315 in attendance at Yankee Stadium. But they were not for the right reasons. He made a bunch of pitching changes in the Yankees’ 6-4 loss, and each time he came out, the chants got larger and larger. People weren’t oblivious; they knew what was going to happen. As Cleveland celebrated on the field and later in the clubhouse, the Yankees’ players, and even the media, could not control their emotions. Torre’s post-game press conference was short and to the point – like it had been for all those years. He was bluntly honest, and gave credit to where it was due.
The days after the elimination, everyone was a bit surprised why Torre hadn’t gotten the boot yet. His contract was up, but the Yankees hadn’t officially dismissed him or announced they were parting ways. People had an idea – they were the classy Yankees. They’d give Joe time to move on, and then when he was ready, they would have a big glorious press conference, as well as announcing they’d retire #6 the following year in a ceremony at the old house.
At least, that was my opinion. And was I ever wrong.
The Yankees flew Joe Torre out to Tampa to discuss a potential new contract. With George Steinbrenner and sons present, along with general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine, they got down to business. Some say the Yankees never intended to bring him back, that it was more of a “courtesy” meet up – that they knew Torre would leave without a new deal.
In my opinion, The Boss bit his lip and knew Joe was far more valuable to the Yankees than he had ever realized. He was the only manager suited to lead this team in the coming years, and George wanted him back. But, being himself, he didn’t want to admit he was wrong about letting him go and sell out to Torre by giving him the praise and dollars he truly deserved. So he offered him what a lot of people like to call, an embarrassment.
Opinions aside, he offered Torre a one-year, $5 million contract, with incentives of $1 million added on for each postseason round the Yankees made. Also included was a guaranteed option for 2009 – if the Yankees reached the World Series.
One thing Torre stressed in his autobiography, The Yankee Years, was that he wanted job security. He hated managing on one-year contracts, and for a skipper of his caliber, understandably so. But with the roster the Yankees put together for 2008, there was no way they’d make the World Series, essentially being just another one year deal for Joe. But with him at the helm, maybe they’d get at least another playoff berth, which would have been a very important one for Yankee Stadium’s final season.
Torre was smart enough to realize that and decided that enough was enough. He didn’t want to continue playing games with The Boss, and did not want to stay longer than he was welcomed. George wanted him back I believe, but Hank, Hal, Cash, and Levine didn’t. Even though he’s The Boss, he wasn’t The Boss at those meetings. It truly seemed majority ruled in this decision.
So with that, Joe was gone. Discreetly, ironically, and in a sick, twisted way, the Yankees turned it on Torre, saying he rejected their offer. No, he rejected an opportunity for embarrassment and further scrutiny he didn’t deserve nor want at this stage of his life. Torre walked out with a heavy heart, but with pride, and the Yankees were left looking like fools.
They did find as good a successor as was possible in Joe Girardi, and he’s done a great job, leading the Yankees to the playoffs in every season but his first. Each year, Girardi battled injuries, controversies, and flat out inconsistent play to still lead the team to three division titles and a wild card berth, including a 2009 World Series win.
But even still, each time I look over to the dugout while at a game, or see a shot of him leaning over the dugout’s padded fence on TV, something looks off. Girardi definitely looks like the skipper, but to me, there was only one Yankees manager, at least for my generation. And that was #6, Joe Torre.
I will be a Yankee fan until I die and then afterwards, but I’ll never forget their idiocy in letting go one of baseball’s most iconic and successful managers [even at age 67] far too quickly. And now as we saw Joe Girardi incredibly over-manage and under-manage in the Yankees’ all but failed attempt for #28, we can only ask what would Mr. T, as Derek Jeter called him, would do.
Good evening everyone. There’s no baseball at all tonight so we’re going to post some tidbits and notes that have been stirring around from Yankee Land. Here are some evening notes.
– The Yankees have yet to make the postseason roster but there are 3 definite players aside from the other starters for the roster: David Phelps, Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner (Brian Cashman confirmed Gardner today).
– The Yankees might either face the Orioles or Rangers on Sunday so the question is–who would you rather face?
– Andruw Jones might get a roster spot for the postseason. I don’t think he should be on the roster considering he had a pretty bad 2012 regular season and there are hitters that could be of assistance on the bench. Players such as Chris Dickerson perhaps?
– A lot of writers believe that Andy Pettitte should start Game 2 of the play-offs instead of Hiroki Kuroda. Here I would have to agree. Kuroda has a better home record than an away record and since the Yankees are on the road to begin the play-offs, it would make the most sense to have CC Sabathia and Pettitte for Games 1 & 2 and Kuroda and Hughes for Game 3 & 4. Sabathia would pitch Game 5 if it came down to that.
– In other news that has nothing to do with the Yankees but the Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine after 1 year with the Red Sox. Honestly, the Red Sox never should have fired Terry Francona to bring in Bobby Valentine. Francona won 2 championships and had one bad year. Bobby Valentine came in and made everything worse.
Brett Gardner had been on an up and down roller-coaster in 2012. When we first hear of Gardner, it was during 2012 Spring Training when he told reporters that he wanted to have a good season after coming off a so-so 2011. 9 games into 2012, it was the last the Yankees had seen Gardner for a while. Gardner suffered 3 set-backs on the road back to the Yankees which prompted him to get surgery on his elbow in July. Since then, Gardner had been rehabbing to get back into playing shape and surprisingly, Gardner is willing to come back but in the role that he had during the 2009 postseason; pinch runner and defense.
Now, I’m not going to deny it. I’m a gigantic fan of Brett Gardner since he single-handedly shifts the dynamics of the team, but I’m not entirely sure that Gardner returning to the Yankees this season is the best idea. Yes, Gardner’s speed can help the Yankees in the postseason (should they make it) and for the duration of the rest of the season, but we have to look at the big picture here. Gardner can’t hit the baseball right now, even if he wanted to. Gardner had just began a hitting program so, him hitting by the end of the season or the postseason is out of the question right now.
If I’m the Yankees, I wouldn’t allow Gardner to play until next season when he’s able to hit 100%. There’s no reason to rush Gardner back in the outfield if the Yankees would have to replace him when his spot in the lineup came up. Also, it would be unfortunate for Gardner to suffer another injury in the outfield when he’s already nursing his elbow. If Gardner suffered another injury, then he could be out longer than the Yankees want.
I say, let Gardner take the rest of the year off, get him a hitting program in the off-season, get him to 100% health and then let him come back next year. Gardner would be of better use to the Yankees if he could hit, field without worrying about the elbow and steal bases.
If you were the Yankees, would you play Brett Gardner for the remainder of the season despite him not being able to hit, or would you wait next season? Sound off in the comments below.
It’s September 1st. The day where call-ups happen and where minor leaguers get a taste of what it is like to be in Yankees pinstripes. It is where it is the home stretch towards the play-offs for most teams. However, for the Yankees, they need a good September or they could kiss their play-off hopes and dreams good-bye. The Yankees have struggled mightily since losing Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira as their power players in the lineup. Players like Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson started slumping all at the same time while Nick Swisher has had a hot and cold year. When he is cold, he does not hit a lick. When he is hot, he is on fire. Derek Jeter is the only one that is carrying this Yankees team and right now, it does not seem like it is enough. Players like Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez are not everyday players anymore and players like Andruw Jones—just plain stink.
The Yankees have been playing like the walking wounded the whole season, losing players such as Brett Gardner, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Michael Pineda, and Ivan Nova and for a time David Robertson, Nick Swisher, CC Sabathia and Eric Chavez. With the rosters expanding and with players that are familiar to the Yankees (Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson, and Francisco Cervelli etc.) here are some of the lineup moves the Yankees could do to freshen it up in September.
Eduardo Nunez: SS, 3B, DH
Eduardo Nunez was sent down in the beginning of the season since he had issues with fielding, but the Yankees could use Nunez to give Jeter and Chavez a half-day off here and there. Nunez has Gardner type speed, meaning that he could give the Yankees what they were missing with speed. Nunez is not the best fielder, but he is a one up plus from Gardner for the time being. In addition, Nunez is young which is something the Yankees could use.
Francisco Cervelli: C
Russell Martin and Chris Stewart have played nonstop this year (and Russell Martin had struggled all year) so it would be great for the Yankees to have another catcher. Cervelli performed well during Spring Training so it was a shock that on the final day of Spring Training he was sent to Triple-A instead of heading north with the team. Cervelli is a great backup catcher and he is a good singles hitter. A lot of power, no. However, he is known for hitting in the clutch.
Chris Dickerson: OF
When Chris Dickerson was sent down during the year, it was a bit of a shock since he is a great outfielder and hitter. Dickerson is one of the players you would want in the outfield since the Yankees are in the middle of the pennant race. Think about it, could the Yankees win a pennant race with 40-year-old Raul Ibanez patrolling LF (no offense Raul)? They need someone more versatile and even though Brett Gardner is out for the year, Dickerson is the closes thing we have.
It’s September 1st. The season ends October 3rd. Yankees have a month and 2 days to get it together…and we may not see it now, but these 3 could help us in the long run.