Tagged: George Steinbrenner

Boss: The quest for No. 28 begins

“The Steinbrenner Family and the Yankees Organization are extremely proud of the members of the 2009 New York Yankees for bringing a 27th World Championship to New York City and our fans, the greatest fans in the world. Every World Series victory is special, but this one is especially sweet coming in the first year in our new home.  

“The 2009 New York Yankees proved that we are the best in baseball. We beat truly worthy opponents in the American League Division Series, the American League Championship Series and the World Series. As we did all season long, we fought hard, never lost focus and gave a true team victory.  Our players have a lot to be proud of. This group will become legendary – similar to the 26 World Championship teams that preceded them.

“Joe Girardi and his team deserve great credit for racking up wins over a long, tough season.    

“We are so grateful to our fans. They have never wavered in their faith or enthusiasm through the good and bad years.  This World Series belongs to them and to all Yankees, past, present and future.

“We’ll enjoy this win. And the quest for No. 28 begins.”  

Statement from George M. Steinbrenner

By Jon Lane
Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner today released a statement through his spokesman, Howard J. Rubenstein.

“This has been a tremendous year for our team as we have settled into our new home. The New York Yankees are proud of our rich history of outstanding players and this year’s team has worked hard to  prove that they are worthy of the great distinction of calling themselves Yankees.

“We look forward to finishing what we started this season and never losing sight of our goal – to bring another championship to the best fans in the world  and the great city of New York.”

2night was the night

jeter_run_400_091109.jpgBy Jon Lane
For starters it’d be nice if Mother Nature would
cut us a break. The tarp is on the field and a strong breeze is making
a light drizzle do a dance. It’s so bad that many of the writers who
normally inhabit the first row of the press box moved up to the second
row to avoid being splashed.

We’re not starting on time. First pitch TBD.

While we wait, here’s a couple more Derek Jeter nuggets:

Jeter is looking to join three active players who hold their current
franchise’s all-time hits record: Todd Helton (Rockies: 2,113), Carl
Crawford (Rays: 1,274) and Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers: 1,738).

Jeter is 14 hits from 200 on the season, one shy of Gehrig’s club
record, and four from his 10th season with at least 190, which would
tie him with Stan Musial for third-most all time behind Pete Rose (13)
and Ty Cobb (12).

Furthermore, Ed Lucas, a longtime sports
reporter and a good man who conducts exclusive interviews for
YESNetwork.com’s “Ed Lucas Show,” is here. Ed was recently hospitalized
for diverticulitis, digestive disease found in the colon, and is due
back for test results and to lower his blood sugar. When you get a
chance, check out his Strikeouts for Scholarships
program, which provides hundreds of Seton Hall students who have a
disability with financial assistance while earning their college

Back soon with much more.

7:10 p.m. To
kill time I took a walk up and down the Great Hall. As you’d expect,
that and Tommy Bahama’s was mobbed, but it was nothing compared to the
Hard Rock. There was a line just to get into the place. One guy walked
out in frustration and shouted, “Six-hour wait.” At least I spared a
woman from waiting on line or leaving the building to enter the HRC
from the front; she would have not be let back in. She had a good
response to my wait-time message: “The place won’t be open that long.”

7:12 p.m. Ominous sign: The women’s U.S. Open semifinals was postponed. At least they can try again tomorrow. Here, it’s not that easy.

7:29 p.m. PA man Paul Olden made an announcement to hushed silence: There will be a weather update in 15 minutes. Okey Dokey.

7:48 p.m. The grounds crew is removing the tarp. Fans are already chanting, “DE-REK JE-TER!” Approximate first pitch is 8:20.

8:21 p.m.The ceremony honoring the sailors of the USS New York,
tonight’s true heroes,  concluded with Navy Musician Third Class Laura
Carey’s rendition of our national anthem. Earlier today, Chris Shearn and Jerome Preisler eloquently shared their 9/11 thoughts

8:32 p.m.
Off and running, following a delay of one hour and 27 minutes, after
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano threw out the first
pitch. The Yankees are wearing red caps with the interlocking NY in
stars and stripes, and playing in a postseason atmosphere. It’s raining
again, but conditions remain playable.

8:38 p.m. Three up
and three down for Andy Pettitte as Jeter catches Nick Markakis’ pop up
for the final out, drawing the loudest ovation for a first-inning third
out I’ve ever heard. The rain, however, has intensified.

8:44 p.m. Jeter whiffs on his first attempt. Fans are scurrying for shelter.

8:50 p.m. On a night Jeter is trying to pass Gehrig, A-Rod hit a
Ruthian shot to left-field, a three-run bomb that gave the Yankees an
early 3-0 lead.

jeter_375.jpg9:23 p.m. 2night was the night. An opposite-field single on Tillman’s 2-0 pitch puts Jeter alone in first place. Now Mother Nature has to play nice for and inning and a half. Every Yankee emerged from the home dugout to congratulate Jeter at first base backed by an ovation at ear-splitting levels. As I write this, the count is 1-1 on Nick Swisher and fans are still chanting, “DE-REK JE-TER!”

9:34 p.m. Statement from George Steinbrenner:

jeter_250_091109.jpg“For those who say today’s game can’t produce legendary players, I have two words: Derek Jeter. Game in and game out he just produces. As historic and significant as becoming the Yankees’ all time hit leader is, the accomplishment is all the more impressive because Derek is one of the finest young men playing the game today.

“That combination of character and athletic ability is something he shares with the previous record holder Lou Gehrig. It adds to the pride that the Yankees and our fans feel today. Every Yankees’ era has its giants. It’s thrilling to watch Derek as he becomes one of the greats of his generation, if not of all time.”

9:37 p.m. Another statement, this from Dorine Gordon, president and CEO of the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter:

“The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter congratulates Derek Jeter for surpassing Lou Gehrig’s 70-year-old record. Derek epitomizes so much of what we admired in Gehrig. Each skillfully filled their roles as team captains with strength, determination and humility. In this, our 15th anniversary year, we’re prouder than ever to carry on the fight against a disease that bears Gehrig’s name and commend Derek on this accomplishment.”

10:03 p.m. Jeter will appreciate hit No. 2,723 a lot more. His single to right plated the Yankees’ fourth run before Brett Gardner overran third base and was tagged out. However, Gardner hustled down the first-line for a two-out infield single that extended the inning.

10:27 p.m. The game – and Jeter’s record – are both official after a laborious top of the fifth. Pettitte needed 36 pitches and a nifty play by Robinson Cano to escape a bases-loaded jam. It was likely the final inning for the left-hander (103 pitches/59 strikes).

11:24 p.m. Tonight’s historic moment had a different feel, writes Bob Lorenz.

11:36 p.m. Edwar Ramirez + pouring rain + rain delay = buzzkill.

Another stumble out of the gate

pena_250_050609.jpgBy Jon Lane
Back blogging after a few days out of pocket and it figures I return to a mess. It’s not my job to clean up, but I can weed through what’s going on with the Yankees and do my part to calm the waters.

Right now, fans have a right to be angry. Granted, there’s an absurd injury epidemic, but the Yankees are 0-5 against the Red Sox and stand at 13-13 coming off two hideous defeats.

Aside from the Red Sox’ ownership of the Yankees, how is this different from any of the past few seasons? For the fourth time in five years, the Yankees are at or below .500 in May – and chasing their competition. On May 6, 2005, the Yankees were 11-19 and two games out first, and won the AL East. Two years later, with team executives breathing down Joe Torre’s neck, the Yankees were eight games below sea level and 14 back on May 29, but made it above .500 on July 14 and snuck into the postseason as a Wild Card.

Think Joe Girardi is having it rough? The 2005 season was when George Steinbrenner made his infamous “enough is enough” statement when the campaign was just 12 games old. In 1985, the last time the Yankees lost five straight to Boston, Yogi Berra was fired after 16 games. And be sure to catch the re-runs of “The Bronx is Burning” or buy the series on DVD to see how vintage Steinbrenner handled any time the Yankees were on a losing streak. Yet we’re at the point where fans chanted “We Want Torre!” in the ninth inning Tuesday night. Chris Shearn speaks out about how New York is suddenly in love with Torre again. What’s the next solution, purchasing Casey Fossum’s contract?

The big problem here is that while the Yankees were given an expensive face lift, they have failed to avoid the slow start that is threatening to force them to piece together another miraculous run, which will leave this veteran team out of gas for the playoffs. The Yankees are winless against the Red Sox and 3-8 against the AL East. Spending $400 million on people will have you judged against ridiculous standards. Floundering against your chief competition and getting outscored 38-23 by your hated rivals leave you open to criticism – which like it or not is fair.

“It’s not any fun. It’s frustrating,” said Girardi, thus far spared by Hal Steinbrenner and working with a roster with six key players on the disabled list and a bullpen underbelly nothing short of a complete disaster.

Think Joba Chamberlain still belongs in the bullpen? Yes, he was the losing pitcher. No, the total effort wasn’t outstanding due to a miserable first inning when he allowed four runs. But instead of folding, Chamberlain gave his team a chance to rally and looked damn good doing it, whiffing 12 batters in 4 2/3 innings after the rough beginning. His last eight outs came via the strikeout until Girardi removed him after 108 pitches.

The crowd protested, but Girardi did the right thing. Chamberlain is a 23-year-old prodigy more important for tomorrow than today. David Cone brought up Dwight Gooden during Tuesday’s telecast. At age 19, Dr. K threw 218 innings. The next two seasons, 276 2/3 and 250, and he was never the same again. The point is that organizations are being more and more protective of their young arms, especially when you have one in Chamberlain’s that destined to be special.

“Physically, you can’t do that to him,” Girardi said. “It’s a tough spot if we let him keep going and he gets hurt. That’s the real tough spot.”

Besides the lousy bullpen and Jason Bay taking Chamberlain deep for a three-run shot in the first, here’s why the Yankees lost Tuesday night: Trailing 4-3 they put runners on second and third with one out against Josh Beckett in the sixth, getting a bad break when Melky Cabrera’s double bounced into the stands and forced Nick Swisher to stay at third. Still, elite teams find a way to overcome bad luck. Ramiro Pena and Jose Molina, both playing thanks to injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, failed to bring anyone home.

Beckett scattered 10 hits but limited the Yankees to three runs. The Yankees were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position – 1-for-12 in the two games at Yankee Stadium – and are 8-for-54 (.148) against Boston in those situations. On the season, New York is batting .254 with RISP, .244 with two outs. You can have Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax and Walter Johnson leading your rotation, but even the all-time greats have gotten outpitched and if you don’t score runs in the clutch, you’re not winning. Period.

Don’t think I’m letting the rotation off the hook. Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett are tied for the team lead in wins – two. Burnett’s ERA is 5.40 and CC Sabathia 4.85. You certainly hope the sleeping giant awakes from his annual spring hibernation, because the returning A-Rod will do nothing to help the pitching. 

Yankees lose two family members

By Jon Lane
Peter Abraham was first to report the passings of two respected members of the Yankees family: Johnny Blanchard and Arthur Richman.

Blanchard was a key component of that famed Yankees team of 1961 (also my father’s all-time favorite team). After Yogi Berra moved from behind the plate to left field the year before, Elston Howard took over the starting catcher’s job, which left Blanchard relegated to a bench player. But in just 243 at-bats, Blanchard hit .305 with 21 home runs and 54 RBIs. In the Yankees’ World Series win over the Cincinnati Reds, he batted .400 with homers in Games 3 and 5, and played in five Fall Classics while setting a Major League record with 10 pinch-hit at-bats.

Blanchard was one of my dad’s favorites (Mickey Mantle topped his list). Each time Blanchard stepped to the plate my dad would look to right field, because that’s where he knew it was going.

Richman was the team’s senior advisor of media relations who spent more than 50 years in baseball and suggested to George Steinbrenner that he hire Joe Torre as manager. Beginning in 1997, my first year covering the Yankees for New York Sportscene and later Yankees Magazine, Richman was a tremendous influence in my career. He always greeted me with a smile and was quick to share advice. He was beloved by everyone he encountered in and out of Yankee Stadium and I personally will never forget him.

2:06 p.m. The Yankees released the following statement on Arthur Richman:


It is with deep sadness that the New York Yankees announce the passing of longtime baseball writer and executive Arthur Richman. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in New York City early this morning with his wife, Martha Richman, and friends by his side. He was 83 years old.

Mr. Richman’s baseball career spanned seven decades, including stops as an executive with the New York Mets and most recently the New York Yankees. He began his career in 1942 as a copy boy at the New York Daily Mirror and worked there for 21 years, authoring one of New York’s most popular columns, “The Armchair Manager.”

The Mirror folded in 1963, and Mr. Richman quickly took a position in the front office of the New York Mets, where he worked for 25 years. In 1989, Mr. Richman went to work for the Yankees, holding the positions of Senior Vice President and Senior Advisor in the club’s media relations department for nearly two decades.

“Arthur Richman made baseball and the New York Yankees an enormous part of his life, and I am grateful for his contributions both personally and professionally,” Yankees Principal Owner/Chairperson George M. Steinbrenner said. “He was a trusted friend and advisor to me, and someone the world of baseball will find impossible to replace. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Martha and to the countless others who were fortunate enough to call him a friend.”

Services will be held on Thursday, March 26 at 11:45 a.m. at Riverside Memorial Chapel on 180 W. 76th Street in New York City. He is survived by his wife, Martha. Mr. Richman was predeceased by his brother Milton, an award winning sportswriter and editor for United Press International.

The family asks that any memorial gifts be sent in Arthur’s name to the “Catch 25 Foundation,” established by New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Donations will be dedicated specifically towards the area of the foundation that focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease research and support.

For more information on the foundation, visit JoeGirardi.com. Donations can be sent to Catch 25 Foundation, 220 West Huron, Suite 2001, Chicago, IL, 60654.

4 p.m.
Mike Francesa pays tribute to Blanchard and Richman. Watch it here:

5:11 p.m.
Former Yankees teammates and managers reflect on the passing of Johnny Blanchard

“This is a sad day. Johnny was a good friend and a great teammate. He was proud of being a Yankee and always fun to be around. We’ll miss him.”
Yogi Berra (teammate 1955, ’59-63, Manager 1964)

“He was a great guy. He loved people and did a lot for charity. I’ll never forget the year Yogi, Elston and Blanch all hit over 20 homers. He was a key member of that 1961 team and had two clutch homers for us against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. I remember we were both signed by the same scout, Joe McDermott. I felt a lot of pride knowing that.  He will be missed.”
Moose Skowron (teammate, 1955, ’59-62)

“He was a great teammate, friend and a true gentleman. He loved the game. Tony Kubek and I were just in New York and spent some time with Johnny. He was a great friend and I’ll miss him tremendously.”
Bobby Richardson (teammate, 1955, ’59-65)

“Johnny was a funny guy and a great storyteller. He was always happy. Everyone loved him and loved being around him. He was one heck of a hitter, too.”
Bob Turley (teammate 1955, ’59-62)

“Johnny was a true Yankee, there’s no doubt about that. Everyone liked him. He would do anything it took to help win a ballgame. He would catch, pinch-hit or go play the outfield if it meant the team had a better chance to win.”
Ralph Houk (Manager 1961-63)

Surprising reaction to the Lightning Rod

arodblog022609.jpgBy Joe Auriemma
With all of the news about Alex Rodriguez and steroids this offseason, you knew that he was bound to get booed at other stadiums around the league. In fact, during the first exhibition game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL, A-Rod did get booed.

What was a little surprising to me was that he got a mixed reaction when stepping up to the plate at George M. Steinbrenner Field in his first “home” plate appearance. Now the Yankees were playing the Rays, who might have had their own fan base at the game supporting the team, but it still was a little shocking.

A-Rod has been accused of having a fragile psyche in the past and does seem to try to hard in key situations, so this was probably not what he needed to hear at the start of the season. The bottom line is that he is under contract to be the Yankees’ third baseman for the next nine seasons. If you are not a fan of A-Rod and what he did, but a fan of the Yankees, it’s really a Catch-22. In order for the Yankees to compete for a World Series, they need A-Rod to produce. There is no way around it.

I’m not saying that fans need to give him a standing ovation, but I hope that the Bronx and the beautiful new Yankee Stadium can be a safe haven for a player that is going to have to deal with a lot of abuse on the road.

The New Stadium
On Wednesday morning I got to see the new Stadium and took a tour of the new Monument Park; the Yankees held an event to put the Babe Ruth monument into its new home. My first reaction was that it’s quite amazing. Yankee Stadium, and from what I’ve seen of CitiField in Queens, are as grand as the city they call home.

As I stood in the new Monument Park, I realized that hitting a home run to dead center will now make the monuments, plaques and retired numbers vulnerable to being hit. Even the restaurant above the Monument Park is bound for an assault from a monster home run shot. It’s going to make the game much more interesting to watch. It looks as if the Stadium is going to be much more fan friendly then the previous facility. The upper deck isn’t as steep, making each seat closer to the field.

I’m certainly going to miss the feeling I got when walking into the old Yankee Stadium, but I think that over time, and when baseball is being played in this new park, that old feeling is bound to come back.

And we're off and running ….

By Jon Lane
Game 2 is on the air. Michael Kay and Ken Singleton are in the YES Booth and I’m at MLBAM headquarters to provide some commentary.

Some quick hits from Peter Abraham’s blog:

  • Mariano Rivera has been playing catch and will get on the mound for the first time next week.

  • Brian Cashman has no information as to whether Alex Rodriguez will meet with MLB investigators today and was asked about Yuri Sucart driving his players to and from games.

“It has been handled,” he said. “That’s all I want to say, it has been handled.”

  • George Steinbrenner is at his game. The temperature in Tampa, Fla., is sunny and 73 degrees. Not to shabby, eh?

1:15 p.m. Michael Kay mentioned the team feels relaxed and confident, this in spite off all the A-Rod melodrama. That is a good sign. Bernie Williams threw out the first pitch and looks and feels great. Phil Hughes hits Adam Kennedy to being the game. Not a good start.

1:27 p.m. Hughes survived two hit batsman to get Gabe Kapler to pop out to short, but threw threw 18 pitches (13 strikes), continuing a disturbing trend. Hughes averaged 78.8 pitches in his eight starts last season while pitching into the sixth inning only three times, the last when he went eight strong September 24 against the Blue Jays.

1:32 p.m. Mark Teixeira’s first at-bat as a Yankee ends with him chasing high heat on Wade Davis’ 2-2 pitch as the Yankees go quietly in the first.

1:45 p.m. Alex Rodriguez is met with a smattering of boos, but mostly cheers while stepping into the batter’s box. Like many, Ken Singleton expressed disappointment in A-Rod using PEDs and couldn’t understand why he chose to do it in the first place.
A-Rod goes down swinging. The catcalls grow a little louder. It’s plainly obvious he’ll be Lightning Rod all season. What cannot go unnoticed is how Joe Girardi handles the pressure of being asked about this day in and day out.

1:54 p.m. Phil Coke pitches a scoreless third. I like this guy a lot. He works fast, changes speeds and is fearless, and got the third out by breaking Willy Aybar’s bat (with help by a nice play from Robinson Cano). He and Damaso Marte have the potential to be an effective lefty combination out of the bullpen.

1:55 p.m. Jorge Posada crushes one over the right-field fence to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. That surgically repaired shoulder had better hold up. I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy Posada to this team.

1:57 p.m. Melky Cabrera flies out to center. He’s already trailing Brett Gardner in the center field derby. This is only the second Spring Training game, and Cabrera’s first, but Glenn Giangrande has already deemed Gardner the winner.

2:17 p.m. A-Rod’s second at-bat is met with louder boos that drowned out some cheers (one man yelling “Go A-Rod!” made it through). Rodriguez wastes Teixeira’s one-out single by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play. No boos, but a collective groan, one all too familiar during A-Rod’s Yankees years.

2:25 p.m. A svelte Brian Bruney works a clean inning, hitting as high as 95 MPH on the radar gun. With Joba Chamberlain the Yankees’ undisputed fifth starter, Bruney has to be the eighth-inning bridge to Rivera. During the top of fifth, Girardi told Kay and Singleton that Posada will start his first game behind the plate on March 15.

2:30 p.m. Posada doubles home the Yankees’ second run. He’s 2-for-2 with both RBIs.

2:59 p.m. The Yankees lowered the price of about 600 obstructed-view bleacher seats at the new Yankee Stadium from $12 to $5. It’s a good deal when you think about it. Fans who purchase these tickets get access throughout the new palace. That includes the sports bar adjacent to the bleachers that I believe will be an open air facility. That to me is a great way to spend a summer’s day or evening, watching a ballgame on site while in the atmosphere of a sports bar. 

3:12 p.m. Remember Shelley “Slam” Duncan? He crushed a three-run home run to left field to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Duncan’s power and energy burst upon the scene in 2007 by hitting three home runs in his first two games and eventually drew comparisons to Kevin Maas, which wasn’t exactly a good thing. Like Maas, Duncan faded and was designated for assignment in the offseason. Having received a non-roster invite to Spring Training, Duncan is trying to bash his way back on the roster. He’ll just have to learn to hit a breaking ball.

3:22 p.m. Three up and three down for Mark Melancon in the eighth. This kid has got the goods to either be a dominant late-inning set-up man and possibly Rivera’s eventual successor.

3:35 p.m. Yankees win 5-1 to move to 2-0 on the Grapefruit season. Tomorrow brings a two-hour-plus bus ride to Fort Myers for the chosen players.

Today around the Yankees

By Jon Lane
Jerome Preisler offered a positive yet compelling take on Alex Rodriguez in his new Deep in the Red, while also looking back on a September 2005 game we worked together.

Meanwhile, some notes and nuggets from another day in Yankees camp:

• George Steinbrenner paid a visit. Asked by a New York Post reporter how he was doing, The Boss said, “I feel good.”

• Bernie Williams returned to his old digs and will remain with the Yankees until March 2 when he meets the World Baseball Classic’s Puerto Rican team. Tyler Kepner has the details with quotes from Williams and Joe Girardi.

From Peter Abraham’s LoHud Yankees blog:

• Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras (Dominican Republic) won’t be going to the WBC. You can probably count Damaso Marte (hamstring) out too. The righty reliever won’t be running for at least the rest of the week.

• CC Sabathia’s first Grapefruit start will be March 6 against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. That lines him up for Opening Day on April 6 in Baltimore.