By Jon Lane
Well, not yet. It’s raining and the media auxiliary press area is soaked at the moment. I’m told that not only will there be a Game 1, but the rain is expected to let up by around 5:30.
I love it how all of us make a simple attempt at meteorology.
Showers did not prevent a bevy of Yankees fans from attending a pep rally this afternoon at Times Square, where New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Yankees legend Reggie Jackson and the YES Network’s Michael Kay addressed Yankees Nation.
Joe Girardi is speaking at 3:45, followed by Game 2 starter A.J. Burnett. Later it’ll be Charlie Manuel and your favorite, Pedro Martinez, addressing the media.
Once the rain (hopefully) let’s up, I’ll be watching Game 1 from a unique vantage point. Right field is where I camped out during postseason (and the All-Star) games across the street, though in the loge section. Yet there’s something about being amongst the fans, as my colleague and friend Jerome Preisler can attest.
Oh, if you’re reading this and have tickets for the game, shut the computer off and leave now. Gates open at 5 p.m. and on top of New York/New Jersey’s prolific rush-hour traffic, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, wil be here and Major League Baseball is implementing additional security measures in select seating locations. The additional security screening will occur every time guests enter their location before the start of the game. If guests leave their seats, they will be screened again upon returning.
Additional security measures are in effect from the time gates open until the start of the game, so please allow yourself extra time to enjoy batting practice and the pregame ceremonies scheduled to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Here’s the latest hour-by-hour forecast, which calls for a 55 percent chance of “light rain” by first pitch.
Back with more later.
4 p.m. I cannot tell a lie … the sun is out!
4:35 p.m. Joe Girardi said the expected when asked about the
roster adjustments. Eric Hinske provides another pinch-hitter and Brian
Bruney an extra arm that will be important in Philadelphia. The
exclusion of a third catcher (Francisco Cervelli) also increases the
likelihood of Jorge Posada catching A.J. Burnett if he gets the call
for Game 5.
He’s also not in any rush to name a starter for Game
4; the current great debate is whether he’ll throw his top three arms
on short rest. “The focus is Game 1 tonight, and that’s what we’ll
worry about,” he said.
You can watch the full presser here.
5:01 p.m. There was his first postseason start in the Division Series. Now A.J. Burnett is set to make his World Series debut in Game 2 tomorrow night. Burnett played for the 2003 champion Marlins but missed out while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
I”m looking forward to it, I’m excited,” Burnett said. “I’m going to prepare, yeah, maybe, as another game, but deep down I know what it’s about. I know how real it is and I don’t want to change it. I want to go out there knowing it’s my first World Series start.”
Burnett, of course, said he’s all for making a potential Game 5 start on short rest. First there’s Game 2, when his opponent will be Pedro Martinez.
“He’s come back and what he’s accomplished this year is great,” Burnett said. “As a fellow starting pitcher you can respect that. I’m looking forward to going up against him. I’ve seen him pitch and he’s going to bring a lot of excitement here tomorrow night, and I think everybody in the world knows what he can do in the postseason this year or in the past, or whenever he takes the ball.”
Burnett was also asked about facing Ryan Howard and his 45 home runs and 141 runs batted in. He kept the Phillies slugger hitless in three at-bats with a strikeout in a 7-3 loss at Yankee Stadium on May 22. In 12 career at-bats, Howard is 2-for-12 (.167) with six strikeouts lifetime against the Yankees’ right-hander. Both hits have been homers.
“You try to get ahead and strike him out, I guess,” Burnett said. “I think you’ve seen him do more this postseason than hit home runs. He’s hit the ball pretty much everywhere. I’m going to probably pitch him the same as I pitch all lefties, pretty much the same. Just try to get ahead and put them away as quick as I can, and not leave anything over the plate or in his hot spot when the game is on the line.”
Here’s the Burnett conference in its entirety.
7 p.m. What’s a Yankees game, especially a World Series game, without Freddy Sez (aka) Freddy Schuman, who since 1988 has encouraged fan interaction by walking around hitting a pot with a teaspoon while allowing fans to do the same? In the Great Hall, fans lined up to get their picture taking with Freddy.
“We’re here to celebrate the Yankees winning,” he said before two clanks of his famous pot.
The Hard Rock Cafe was already packed well before 6 p.m. The wait for a table was 2 1/2 hours and climbing.
All fans received a 2010 MLB calendar along with a protective cover to hold their World Series ticket.
Two hours before first pitch, Yankee Stadium was playing highlights of the 1950 World Series. The Yankees swept the Phillies in four games in what before tonight is the only time the teams met in the Fall Classic.
Charlie Manuel spoke in depth about Pedro. It’s amazing the amount of attention he’s receiving but given his history with the Yankees and his legacy of, from where I sit, being the greatest pitcher of this generation, that attention is justified.
“I looked at him in Dodger Stadium, I think he’s a guy who’s in good shape physically, and I think with the knowledge and knowing how to pitch, I think that definitely he’s ready, and I think that he can handle the big setting,” Manuel said. “He’s been there before, and he likes being there, and he likes everything about it.
“I saw a guy who was cocky, which is fine. Sometimes to be good you’ve got to be cocky and you’ve got to be — someone has to let you be who you are sometimes. Sometimes you don’t want to take who somebody is and their identity and stuff or what they stand for and try to change it because who they are sometimes makes them — that’s why they’re good. He had an arrogance about him, and you would think — at times I thought he was kind of arrogant, but at the same time everything about him, I felt like — I always thought he was a professional and that he loved to pitch.
And since I got to know him, not only does he love to pitch and the competitive part I already knew about, but the guy, he really studies the game and he loves baseball and he’s a baseball guy. If you sit and listen to him talk and everything, he’ll impress you with what he knows and how he kind of sees things. That’s the part about it I’ve gotten to know him, and I’m very proud that he was able to sign and come on our team and pitch for us because that way I got to know who he is.”
7:21 p.m. Pedro Martinez says he’s “older and wiser,” but he remains very entertaining. Check out these money quotes from his meeting with the media. Warning, he pulled no punches taking shots at the scribes.
“Because of you guys in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that. I mean, I have been a big fan of baseball for a long time, since I was a kid. My first ball I ever got from a Big League player I actually got to purchase in Dodger Stadium in a silent auction, was Reggie Jackson. I was actually a big fan of the Yankees, too.
For some reason with all the hype and different players that have passed by, maybe because I played for the Red Sox, is probably why you guys made it such a big deal every time I came in, but you know, I have a good bond with the people. After playing in New York, I went to realize something: New York fans are very passionate and very aggressive. But after it all, after you take your uniform off and you deal with the people, they’re real human beings. It’s all just being fans.
I have all the respect in the world for the way they enjoy being fans. Sometimes they might be giving you the middle finger, just like they will be cursing you and telling you what color underwear you’re wearing. All those things you can hear when you’re a fan. But at the end of the day, they’re just great fans that want to see the team win. I don’t have any problem with that.”
On his rumored meeting with George Steinbrenner :
“I remember quotes in the paper, ‘Here comes the man that New York loves to hate.’ Man? None of you have probably ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what the man is about. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things, have written so many things. There was one time I remember when I was a free agent, there was talk that I might meet with Steinbrenner. One of your colleagues had me in the papers with horns and a tail, red horns and a tail. That’s a sign of the devil. I’m a Christian man.
“I don’t like those things. I take those things very serious.”
On hearing “Who’s your daddy?”
“It really reminds me that God is my daddy. It gives me strength. It keeps me strong and healthy, and I believe I can do anything. And when you have — I said it before, when you have 60,000 people chanting your name, waiting for you to throw the ball, you have to consider yourself someone special, someone that really has a
purpose out there.
“Maybe when I said that quote out of frustration, I had the purpose of maybe hearing it now, hearing it the following few years that I played, because every time I hear it, it reminds me not to make the same mistake. And at the same time it reminds me that God is my real daddy, and he’s the one that keeps me strong to compete, just like he does to Mariano [Rivera]. I’ve seen Mariano when I know his shoulder is barking, and he still succeeds. Men of faith. It’s only God who can probably do that for him.”
On his tangle with Don Zimmer during Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS:
“We are both, I consider, mature people, Zim more than I am, wiser than I am, and he acknowledged that it wasn’t my fault; that it was his fault.
“I never wanted to apologize to you guys because why should I apologize to you guys or come to a press conference and say, I apologize for something I didn’t intend to do? It’s a normal human reaction to defend yourself when you feel threatened, and that’s what happened to me at that point. I had to defend myself, and I know how. Don’t let this small body fool you; I know how. I just don’t put it into play.
“I mean, that Zim situation is over with. I didn’t feel like I had to apologize at that time, give an apology because I didn’t feel like I did anything to apologize. But it’s something I’m not happy about. It’s something I don’t condone, and it’s something that I don’t want to see in baseball.”
For the first time this Spring, YESNetwork.com is heading into “enemy” territory as we go to Clearwater, Fla., to cover today’s Yankees game against the Phillies. Keep checking back here for a diary of today’s events.
The Phillies’ Spring Training complex is truly amazing. This place is top notch, as are the Phillies staff. Very accommodating.
Phillies batting practice originally appeared just like every other MLB BP. Then Ryan Howard stepped to the dish. With the batting donut still on his stick, he managed to whack the ball to all fields. Very impressive.
The Yankees make their way out of the clubhouse for the first time. Fans nearly trample themselves in an attempt to secure autographs. Looks like we might get some rain.
Chris Shearn just interviewed Nick Swisher. It was a fun piece that talked about loosening up the clubhouse. Brian Bruney messed with Swisher during the Q&A session. Look for the video later today.
YesNetwork.com’s Jim Kaat
makes his way onto the field to watch Phillies BP. Having Kaat here
clearly surprised Joe Girardi, who made a beeline to see his old buddy.
The two men are currently having a conversation with Philadelphia
manager Charlie Manuel.
The oft-comical Nick Swisher joked with hitting coach Kevin Long: “Hey, Long is here. [Derek] Jeter must be coming back.” Both men shared a healthy chuckle over the funny comment.
Melky Cabrera CF
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Xavier Nady RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Cody Ransom 3B
Jose Molina C
Ramiro Pena SS
Pitching rotation: Brett Tomko, Dave Robertson, Jon Albaladejo, Dan Giese and Brian Bruney.
Jim Kaat just agreed to do a live chat on YESNetwork.com during the first game at the new Yankee Stadium. He will be fielding your questions while the Cubs and Yankees christen the new home in the Bronx on April 3.
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Yankees continue to take BP as the rain starts to come down pretty hard.
The Yankees bolt off the field as the grounds crew put the tarp on the field. Looks like we might not get any baseball today.
The sun looks like it wants to come out, but the clouds appear to be winning this war. We’ll keep you updated.
The crowd erupts as the grounds crew takes the tarp off the field. Projected game time: 1:45 p.m.
For those who care, it looks like the Phillies use Hooters girls as their ball girls down the lines … gives the gentlemen something to look at in between innings. We’ll try to get a photo of them in action once the game starts.
First pitch. Game time temp: a chilly 66 degrees. Chris Shearn will have inning-by-inning analysis of the game. Check it out here. But also stay here on YES Blog for additional analysis from Bright House Field.
Turns out Hooters is a major sponsor of this stadium. In addition to having their famed owl logo all over the place, there is a special Hooters dining area, hosted by the girls in orange, Adrienne, Ashley and Liz. (game analysis)
A mild “hip, hip, Jorge” chant gets going from the Yankees faithful that made their way to the Phillies complex. It’s amazing how many Yankees fans made the trip. Although, the Yankees Spring Training complex is only about 25 minutes away. (game analysis)
As was the case with his first at bat, Chien-Ming Wang is as far away from the plate as possible, with zero intention of swinging the bat. Very amusing. (game analysis)
Similar to minor league games, the Phillies have some entertainment in between innings. One lucky fan just chose “box No. 3” during a Let’s Make a Deal game. She won a Chase Utley autographed baseball and a Phillies hat. Pretty cool.
Wang goes down looking again. Watching him not swing in the box is simply hilarious … he’s obviously being told not to swing. The Yanks don’t want him on the basepaths in a Spring Training game. (game analysis)
Wang leaves the game to a nice ovation. Brian Bruney in. We interviewed Bruney earlier today, he said he’s excited to have his own personal clown in the clubhouse (Nick Swisher). (game analysis)
More rain. Fans are starting to make their way to drier ground.
The rain is clearly impacting the batters. Raul Ibanez had his bat slip out of his hands twice in an at bat. The first time it happened, Mark Teixeira ran like he never ran before in an attempt to get out of the way. Luckily, he did. The bat ended up in shallow right field.
Typical Florida – the rain has ceased (almost). But most of the fans have already made their way to the exit. The once-packed Bright House Field is emptying quickly here in the bottom of the 7th. Phillies lead 8-2. (game analysis)
The Phillies announce that today’s game is a sellout of 9,394 fans.
Brett Gardner flies to left to end the game. Phillies win 8-3. Thanks for reading. And a special thank you goes out to the Phillies for their amazing hospitality. Finally, sorry no Hooters photos. They weren’t in their usual Hooters garb anyway, due to the poor weather.