By Jon Lane
Mickey Mantle once said, “New York is the only place to play baseball.”
And to echo a line from Gordon Gekko from one of my favorite movies,
“You do good, there’s perks. Lots and lots of perks.”
You know you’ve made it when you receive an invite from David Letterman. It took less than one season in New York for Mark Teixiera to garner national and mainstream attention. That’s what happens when you immediately live up to a $180-million contract by producing an MVP-caliber season in New York City.
This release from CBS:
New York Yankees All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira will make his first visit to the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Monday, August 24 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. In addition to his interview with Letterman, Teixeira will also participate in an outdoor batting demonstration during the LATE SHOW broadcast.
In his first year with the Yankees, Teixeira is proving to be an all-around force for the American League East-leading team, not only at first base, but also in the batter’s box. A key ingredient to the Bronx Bombers’ success this season, he currently has a .283 batting average, recently hit his 31st home run of the season and has an impressive total of 89 runs batted in for the season so far.
Also featured on the Monday, Aug. 24 LATE SHOW will be an interview with famed Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who will also be making her first visit to the broadcast.
Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your take on the below issues?
By Joe Auriemma
Johnny Damon made a statement after the Yankees’ completion of their four-game sweep over the Red Sox Sunday night that made me think a bit.
Damon said that Teixeira should be considered as an MVP candidate this
season. Now, I know there are 51 games left and there is
a lot of baseball to be played, but I still think it’s not to early to
talk about Yankees who are possible candidates for awards in
recognition of their 2009 regular season performance.
Damon had it right when he proclaimed that Teixeira is an MVP candidate. The Yankees have the best record in the Majors and Teixiera’s play has a lot to do with that. His .286
average, league-leading 29 home runs and team high 83 RBIs are
astounding. He is proving that his offseason signing might be what the
Yankees everyday lineup has been missing for quite some time.
In some of the key clutch stats, he also comes up big. With two outs
and runners in scoring position, he is hitting .357 with two homers
and 20 RBIs. Seven of his homers have broken a tie, 12 of his 29
have come when the game is within one run and 19 have
come when the game is within two runs. In the close-and-late category,
which is after the seventh inning when the game is tied, within one run
or the the tying run is at least on deck, Teixeira is hitting .302 with
four home runs and 19 RBIs. He’s also having a tremendous second half.
Since the All-Star break he is hitting .326, with eight home runs and
20 RBIs in 23 games.
If that didn’t already make him a legitimate MVP candidate, then his
sparkling defense should put him at the top of the list. The two-time
Gold Glove-winning first baseman has proven why he has been
bestowed that honor in the past. He has range, leaping ability and can
really pick it over at first. He is certainly their best defensive
first baseman since Don Mattingly (no offense to Tino Martinez) and has
saved many potential errors this season. His presence alone has upgraded
an infield that has been in need of this type of player since the
People may think I’m crazy for bringing up A-Rod’s name in MVP
talk, especially that he missed more than a month this season and
his numbers don’t really look MVP worthy. To me, A-Rod can stake as
much claim to being a candidate for the award as almost anyone in the
league. He may be batting .259 this season, he does have 21 home runs
and 63 RBIs in just 80 games.
The MVP award is exactly what it stands for, the Most Valuable Player in the American League to his team. Well Alex can make a claim
that he is. The Yankees are 56-27 since his return on May 8 and 53-27
when he’s in the lineup. That means they’re a mediocre
16-15 without him in any game and were 13-15 before his return.
The lineup has really been terrific with him. A-Rod changes the
complexion of the game. He disrupts a pitcher’s game plan and makes managers change their whole way of
thinking when you see his name penciled into the cleanup spot. Just
look at Teixeira’s numbers before A-Rod returned. To
start the season, Teixeira was hitting .198
with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Since the return of A-Rod,
Teixeira is batting.312, with 24 home runs and 68 RBIs in 82 games.
He’s seeing better pitches to hit because A-Rod is hitting behind him
in the order.
Let’s not forget to mention how clutch Rodriguez has been. In close-and-late situations, he is hitting .310 with eight home runs and
16 RBIs. He has also hit nine of this 21 home runs in tie ball games and
14 of his 21 round trippers are when the game is within one run. He
also has two walk-off wins this season, including one that ended a 15-inning marathon in a scoreless game against the Red Sox, which is as
pressure packed as it gets.
Johnny Damon – Honorable Mention
Johnny, don’t sell yourself short in the MVP talk. To this point , Damon has been brilliant in the No. 2 spot. When
opposing managers have to take a look at the top four in the Yankees’
order, it should make them cringe. Damon already has 21 home runs, only three off his career high from his first season with the
Yankees in 2006. He’s hitting .281 with 65 RBIs and is on pace for
another 100-run season (79). He’s already set the
single-season Yankees record with Teixeira with six back-to-back
With that being said, I don’t think that he will be a candidate when it’s all said and done, but my question is why not?
Don’t you think it’s time that Major League baseball rewarded the
greatest relief pitcher of all time with some hardware? Why can’t Mariano Rivera
win the Cy Young Award this season? I know that many critics are going
to bring up Mark Buehrle and his perfect game, Josh Beckett and his
13-4 record with a 3.12 ERA and Roy Halladay (12-5, 2.73
ERA) but Rivera is right there with them.
Rivera has not allowed an earned run since June 12 against the
Mets. Over that span, he has pitched in 21 games, 21.1 innings, allowed 10 hits, earned 18 saves, with 21 strikeouts and just four
walks. He has also lowered his ERA from 3.38 to 1.88.
Even more astonishing is that Rivera has converted 32 of 33 save
opportunities this season and has not blown a save since April 24
against Boston. With all of the talk of the five home runs
he allowed earlier in the season, he has not given up a dinger since
Rivera’s total numbers on the season stand at 1-2, with a 1.88 ERA,
those 32 saves, 53 strikeouts and only seven walks in 48
innings pitched and 47 games. He’s only allowed 37 hits,
nine of which were for extra bases and opponents are hitting just
.206 against him. If that doesn’t wow award voters, I don’t know
Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were on NBC’s TODAY Show this morning promoting HOPE Week. Check out the video here:
By Glenn Giangrande
I don’t care what the numbers say. I firmly believe Alex Rodriguez should have underwent his major hip surgery the first time around.
People, who would argue in favor of A-Rod’s decision to have a first, “less invasive” procedure ahead of another operation after the season, would probably start with a couple of factors — the Yankees’ performance when he first returned to the lineup and the positive effects he had on Mark Teixeira, whom he was batting behind. Well, the Yankees have reverted to the scuffling form they showed in April, going 4-8 over their last 12 games heading into Tuesday’s game in Atlanta. They would be 3-9 if not for Luis Castillo’s game-ending error in the first game of the Subway Series on June 12, and save for a couple of big games versus the Mets in that stretch, their offensive numbers are down sharply. As for Teixeira, he has said that A-Rod’s presence has been a big help, but let’s be honest. Big Tex was eventually going to start hitting regardless of who’s batting behind him, even if the caliber of pitches he’d see would be down. He’s a known slumper in April, so who’s to say he wouldn’t have turned it around even without Rodriguez? It’s unfair to assume that A-Rod was the sole answer to Teixeira’s early-season woes.
Now the Yankees are being forced to give A-Rod steady rest, and he’s started to become a distraction again, albeit a mild one. Players with tired bodies should not be out on the town until 2:30 a.m., regardless of how famous they and their company might be. There were rumors about the possibility of Rodriguez’ two-game sitdown in Florida being some sort of punishment, and the conference call in which he was told that he’s “hurting the team.” There’s plenty of time for the superstar to get himself right, and as Michael Kay has pointed out on the YES broadcasts, A-Rod’s timeline is comparable to that of a Major Leaguer just coming out of Spring Training. But, with the prospect of another surgery looming, Rodriguez could wind up doing worse damage to his hip by playing, hurting himself and the Yankees in the process.
By Jon Lane
First pitch: 7:09 p.m.
Off and running here at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will take a win, but if Joba can dominate it’ll be the ultimate shot in the arm coming off another disastrous Boston series. And yes, the sun is out and the sky is a crystal-clear blue.
A great start for Joba to retire the Mets in order on 14pitches. His first-inning troubles have been well-documented. Coming in he allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in the first (an 8.44 ERA).
A mixed reception, though mostly boos, for Gary Sheffield. Sheff spoke at length before the game. No matter what you’ve read about him, my experiences covering him while he played with the Yankees was always positive. If you talked about baseball or boxing (one of his passions), or anything except steroid accusations, he was friendly, affable and quick with a smile. The veteran is enduring a miserable June (.107 coming in), but he’s been looked to for leadership and had high praise for Jerry Manuel even before Ken Rosenthal’s column was brought up.
Sheff’s struggles continue as Chamberlain caught him looking for Strike 3.
Robinson Cano goes yard (what else?) to right field (where else?) to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead, home run 106 hit in this new building. According to various reports, speculation has centered on whether there is a wind tunnel in right field caused by either the open concourses or the slope of the stands, which is less steep that the original Yankee Stadium.
The next batter, Jorge Posada, missed a home run to dead center by about three or so feet.
I spent the third inning watching from Section 202, the bleachers, visiting a friend, which turned out to be a long visit. Chamberlain threw 43 pitches while walking and hitting a batter with the bases loaded to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. By the time I was leaving, Mark Teixeira homered to right center (really?) to put the Yankees back on top.
Some funny stories from the always-entertaining and fully loaded bleachers, so much so even the wine-and-cheese crowd can’t resist. A guard told me that many times suite ticket holders would venture down hoping to sit there.
“Let me see your ticket,” the guard would say.
“I’ve got better seats,” the person would reply.
“So why aren’t you sitting in them?” the guard would retort.
Later, while Chamberlain was walking the earth, a Yankees fans demanded that the guard give Mets fans the old heave-ho. The guard turned to me, rolled his eyes, and said, “I’m used to this. It’s a lot worse when Boston or Philly is here.”
In my friend’s row sat a line of Yankees fans with one poor Mets fan in the middle. She told me the Yankee boosters were taking bets on when this guy would get his rear-end kicked.
Not everything is perfect out there – far from it. That obstructed view everyone complains about? Whoa boy. From my vantage point in right center, the Mohegan Sun sports bar blocked off virtually all of left field from center field on. Still, it’s the place to be. Even if you don’t have bleacher tickets – again, the guards are strict about this, just ask the pampered ones – hanging out in the standing section above the sports bar, the food court, is a sense of community.
Chamberlain allowed one hit in four innings, but walked five, hit two batters and threw 100 pitches. Another reason why the Yankees are fortunate to have CC Sabathia. The bullpen is somewhat rested, but Andy Pettitte is going tomorrow and the left-hander has thrown 104 pitches his last two starts, five and six innings, respectively. This creates a potentially precarious situation through the weekend.
Brett Tomko’s in. His job is to eat innings and keep the Mets off the scoreboard.
A double, stolen base, walk and two-run double. 4-3 Mets. And at a blink of an eye, Gary Sheffield crushed a two-run bomb to left, strolling out of the batter’s box to admire career homer No. 505, 6-3 Mets. So much for Tomko doing his job. A reporter next to me quipped he’s a single and triple away from the cycle. Alas, Girardi spared fans the pain when he removed Tomko after his 37th pitch, a walk to Luis Castillo.
Interestingly, Joe Girardi changed his tune about Brian Bruney. The plan at first was for him to make a rehab start tomorrow at Double-A Trenton. Now it’s something the manager said had to be talked about and that he’d have an answer after the game. Reading between the lines, and evaluating everyone in the bullpen not named Mariano Rivera, Bruney could be activated tomorrow. Could Tomko be the one cut loose? It’s either that or DFA Angel Berroa and carry 13 pitchers.
Shortly after I snapped this, the Captain went yard to – guess? – right field. The fourth homer of the game cuts the Mets lead to 6-4. Thanks to bullpen follies from both teams, expect us to be here awhile longer.
Yet another home run, this a blast King Kong would be proud of. Hideki Matsui smoked one into the second deck in right field to put the Yankees back on top 7-6. Incidentally, today is Matsui’s 35th birthday, the second straight year he’s homered on his date of birth. I ran into his interpreter, Roger Kahlon, outside the Mets’ clubhouse before the game. He told me while this season’s been a struggle for Matsui, not playing every day reduces stress on his surgically-repaired knees. He came in batting .260 (.240 in June), but has gutted it out and delivered when the team needed it.
Alas, Sheffield led off the seventh with a double. Phil Coke is in for his team-leading 28th appearance and second in two nights.
Coke gets Fernando Tatis, pinch-hitting for Brian Schneider, to hit into a double play, but Sheffield scored to tie the game at seven. This bullpen situation remains ridiculous and has to be addressed by July. No, Joba Chamberlain is not going there. In fact, Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today Huston Street, among others, is on the Yankees’ radar.
Two on and one out in the seventh and the Yankees come away with nothing; Alex Rodriguez flailed at Strike 3 for the second out. They’re 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, a common theme during this current three-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, something rarely seen in Boston: Defense. Derek Jeter made like Billy Martin to catch a pop up between the mound and first base.
Not fooling around, Girardi brings in Mariano Rivera with two out in the eighth. The best laid plans of mice and men … Rivera walks Carlos Beltran and David Wright doubles to right center to give the Mets an 8-7 lead. Let the speculation on whether Rivera is on the decline resume. This season, appearing in tie games, Rivera has allowed 6 ER in 6 2/3 IP.
Here’s what the Yankees are facing in Francisco Rodriguez: 16-for-16 in save opportunities; league leader in saves with 210 since 2005; 2.35
ERA, 14 saves in 26 appearances against them.
A-Rod vs. K-Rod. Yet another big spot for A-Rod, this time with the tying run on second and the winning run on first.
Unbelievable. A-Rod pops up to second base … Luis Castillo dropped the ball. Jeter and Teixeira came home to score and some clown tossed a beer bottle into the press box. Yankees win 9-7.
Turns out Bruney will pitch in Trenton on Saturday, while Damaso Marte will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll have a full wrap on tonight’s wild events and this installment of the Subway Series on Monday.
By Jon Lane
Lots of housekeeping before first pitch in a little more than an hour. I spent most of my time in the Mets’ clubhouse where the discussion was about the intensity of the Subway Series, the team’s unbelievable injury situation and a mini-controversy about a column written by FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal in which he suggested that Manuel, in baseball parlance, “throws guys under the bus.”
More on that shortly, but on the Yankees’ side a Twitter post by Red Sox owner John Henry ruffled the normally placid Mark Teixeira. Shortly after Texieira lined out to first last night to complete the Yankees’ eighth straight loss to the Red Sox, Henry wrote “The MT curse,” a reference to Teixeira spurning the Red Sox offer and going to the Yankees as a free agent. It wasn’t the first time the organization had their chance at landing the slugger, but was denied. As their ninth-round pick out of high school in 1998, the Red Sox couldn’t sign him then either.
“I play the game the right way. If anyone has a problem with the way I play then they can take their shots at me,” Teixeira said.
“How old is Mr. Henry? There’s no reason to get into with a 70-something year-old man about baseball. If I’ve offended anyone from the time I was 18 years old to now, I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say. I think it’s a little silly. It’s actually very silly. There’s nothing else to say.”
Teixeira put the topic to bed by putting aside the 0-8 stigma and focusing on the Mets. And there’s action in that locker room as well. If you thought the Yankees’ injury situation last year was bad, what Mets are enduring is worse. Already without Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, J.J. Putz, Oliver Perez, Angel Pagan and Ramon Martinez, John Maine was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday night with weakness in his surgically-repaired right shoulder.
Fernando Nieve, a waiver claim from the Astros late in Spring Training, was told after the Mets’ loss to the Phillies on Thursday that he will take Maine’s place tomorrow here at the Stadium and will be evaluated start-by-start. Nieve debuted with two scoreless relief innings last Saturday at Washington after he was promoted from Class AAA Buffalo when Putz was put on the DL.
“I’m going to try and treat it like a regular game,” Nieve said. “I’ m excited about it, but I’m thinking like it’ll be a normal game. I’m a baseball player and I have to be focused on what I’ve been doing. If you start thinking about that stuff I don’t think you’re going to do out there.”
As for Manuel, Gary Sheffield and David Wright were quick to come to his defense. Before the topic was broached, Sheffield credited Manual as being the ideal leader to help an injury-plagued team weather the storm until its stars are finally back and healthy.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Sheffield said. “But at the same time you have to have a strong-willed team to go through something like this. And it starts with our manager holding us together the way he has. To be able to do that speaks volumes about him and this team. We just have to continue to keep our focus. “
Wright added he’s heard no complaints from players believing Manuel has thrown anyone under the bus and that all the players enjoy competing under him. Ironically, it was just under a year (June 17, 2008) when Manuel replaced Willie Randolph partly due to allegations that Randolph had lost the clubhouse.
“I love playing for Jerry — that’s false,” Wright said. “I think Jerry brings a nice dynamic to this team. He keeps us loose and jokes around. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, he’ll get on you if you need to be get on. I have zero problems with Jerry. He’s done a phenomenal job with the injuries and always getting the most out of his players.”
I don’t see this going any further. Rosenthal wrote a thesis citing facts before forming his opinion. It wasn’t an attack and he didn’t cite anyone speaking in confidence. Manuel wasn’t even asked about it during his pre-game press conference.
Back with a lot more as the night progresses. The sun’s been out for almost an hour and the skies are clear. About time, too.
By Jon Lane
Not since 1974 have the Red Sox won six straight
games against the Yankees in one season, when they ran off seven
consecutive victories over their rivals. At that time the rivalry was
simmering before exploding later that decade. Dating back to 2003, this
has been at another level, and another chapter will be written starting
tonight. You can catch the game on My9, and tune into YES for complete
pre and postgame coverage starting with Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m.
Here’s where the teams stand:
Yankees are in the AL East penthouse, one game ahead of the Red Sox,
and are a much different team than the one that dropped five straight
to them in the early going. Alex Rodriguez has since returned to the
lineup and New York has been on a 21-8 run. A-Rod may be batting .248,
but has eight home runs in 29 at-bats. More important is that his mere
presence alone has had a major impact Mark Teixeira, who is is batting
.364 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs hitting ahead of A-Rod in the lineup.
Teixeira, incidentally, now leads AL first baseman in All-Star voting.
starters are 12-2 in their last 24 games while limiting opponents to
three earned runs or fewer in 18 of 25 starts. Leading the way is CC
Sabathia, who has pitched at least eight innings in six of his last
eight starts (4-1, two no-decisions). The burly lefty starts Thursday
night against Brad Penny.
- Big start tonight for A.J. Burnett,
4-2 with a 4.69 ERA and seeking his third straight win after going
winless since April 14. Burnett leads the Yankees with 65 strikeouts
and is seeking redemption both team-oriented and personal. His last
time pitching at Fenway Park, Burnett blew a 6-0 lead on April 25,
allowing eight runs on eight hits in five innings of a 16-11 loss.
“We owe them a couple,” Burnett said.
start for Chien-Ming Wang Wednesday night. Everyone is well aware of
Wang’s early-season troubles and terrible track record at Fenway (3-3,
5.11 ERA in seven starts). Wang returned to the rotation last week and
while he was far from great, it was something to build on
considering what he’s had to endure. However, you’d think his leash
will be short. Many are speculating (including me) that Phil Hughes
will be summoned almost immediately if Wang digs himself a hole.
you also know, David Ortiz is in the throes of an awful season. Big
Papi, who’s made his living killing the Yankees and rivaling Tom Brady
and Adam Vinatieri as Boston’s greatest clutch performer, is batting
.197 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games. He visited an eye doctor
on Monday and his vision checked out well, which has left the Back Bay
mystified as to what has happened to him. Leave to Red Sox Nation to
panic. A few callers phoned into WEEI-AM saying he “stinks” and needs
to be relegated to part-time duty. Good line from Dale & Holley
though in response to Joe Girardi’s complaint about the Yankees playing
nine straight games in National League cities: The Red Sox played 50
games without a DH, the Yankees can play nine.” Ouch.