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Yankees (0-1) vs. Astros  (1-0)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Jarred Cosart (0-0, 0.00)

Yankees Lineup

Ellsbury CF
Jeter SS
Beltran RF
McCann C
Teixeira 1B
Soriano DH
Gardner LF
Roberts 2B
Johnson 3B

Game Information:

The game will take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The game is scheduled to start at 8:10PM ET. The game will be televised on the YES Network. The game can be heard on the radio on WFAN 660/101.9FM.

 

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Yankees (0-0) vs. Astros  (0-0)

Pitching Matchup:

LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)

Yankees Lineup

Ellsbury CF
Jeter SS
Beltran RF
McCann C
Teixeira 1B
Soriano DH
Gardner LF
Roberts 2B
Johnson 3B

Game Information:

The game will take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The game is scheduled to start at 7:10PM ET. The game will be televised on the YES & MLB Network. The game can be heard on the radio on WFAN 660/101.9FM.

Derek Jeter – Photo Courtesy of the NY Daily News

The Yankees open up a three-game series against the Houston Astros tonight. Here are the pitching probables for the series:

Tue: LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)

Wed: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Jarred Cosart (0-0, 0.00)

Thurs: RHP Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00) vs LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-0, 0.00)

Masahiro Tanaka dons the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2014 Baseball Preview. The cover story: “In Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees buy a ready-made ace.” Tom Verducci gives you a closer look at the Yankees new superstar, and goes into detail over what Tanaka’s transition to America has been like. SI issued three additional regional covers with Mike Trout, Robinson Cano and Yadier Molina.

Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

On February 25th, the New York Yankees played a spring training exhibition game against Florida State University at Steinbrenner Field. FSU takes us in a behind the scenes look of the Seminole experience. 

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees (4-4) vs Philadelphia Phillies (1-6)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 13.50)

Lineup

Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Teixeira 1B
Beltran RF
McCann C
Soriano DH
Johnson 3B
Roberts 2B
Williams CF

————

The game will take place at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  It’s slated to start at 2:30PM ET (delayed due to rain). The game will be televised on the MLB Network.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury

New York Yankees (4-2) vs Baltimore Orioles (2-2)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP David Phelps (0-0, 4.50) vs LHP Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 0.00)

Lineup

Ellsbury CF
Jeter DH
Beltran RF
Roberts 2B
Nunez 3B
Cervelli C
Ryan SS
Canzler 1B
Solarte LF

————

The game will take place at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  It’s slated to start at 7:05PM ET. The game will be televised on  the YES Network.

New York Yankees (0-1) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP David Phelps (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00)

Lineup

Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Suzuki RF
Roberts 2B
Cervelli C
Johnson 3B
Romine DH
Canzler 1B
Williams CF

————

The game will take place at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  It’s slated to start at 1:05PM ET. The game will be televised on  the YES Network (and MLB.TV – Free Game)

Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

Marty Appel, former PR Director of the New York Yankees, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about our beloved team and his role with the ball club.

Photo Courtesy of Marty Appel

Bill Dickey – Marty Appel – Mel Allen

Q&A with Marty Appel

1) Q: You started out answering Mickey Mantle’s fan mail. You later went on to become the head of public relations of the New York Yankees. You really started from the bottom and climbed your way through the organization. Did you always envision yourself working for the Yankees?
  • A: I was always a huge fan, but the idea of writing to the Yankees for a summer job came to me after a year as sports editor of my college newspaper.  It was just a bolt out of the blue; no grand scheme. And I never even thought I’d get an answer. Also, answering the fan mail wasn’t the bottom of the food chain. I’ll reserve that for the post-game cleanup crew, who used to augment their low wages by drinking the leftover beer left under the seats. I was a few rungs above that.
2) Q: When your mentor, Bob Fishel left the Yankees after the 1973 season, you were promoted to PR director of the ball club. You were just 24 years-old. What was that like?
  • A: George Steinbrenner called me in and asked if I felt ready for this assignment. No one my age had ever been a team PR Director, let alone in New York. But because I had been trained by Bob Fishel for six years, I absolutely felt ready. It was like learning democracy from Jefferson or Madison. I learned from the best and I was ready.
3) Q: Upon meeting George Steinbrenner for the very first time, what was your impression of him?
  • A: Very dynamic guy, and he said all the right things about winning. We were hungry for that sort of direction after all the disappointing finishes in the CBS years. One thing you don’t appreciate at first is the huge celebrity he would become. He was unknown on that January day in 1973 and we didn’t see what was to come. He went out and redefined what owners did, and he made the Yankees a bigger brand than they had ever been.
4) Q: Take us through a day as a PR director of the New York Yankees in the 1970’s.
  • A: Well it changed a lot after 1974 with the Catfish Hunter signing, and a year later with free agency. It really made the job a 365-day task. Prior to that, the winters were slower and people used to ask “what do you do in the off-season.” Of course it was spent preparing yearbooks, media guides, scorecards; doing a winter media caravan, preparing for spring training, attending dinners, announcing the schedule and promotion dates, making news when you can. Today the newspapers are told they must have a Yankee (and Mets) story every day. Then it was more of a struggle.
  • A: In season, I made all the road trips, prepared the daily press notes, fielded questions from the media, contacted the next team to exchange ‘probable pitchers,’ and established good friendships with press and the players, many of who were my age. And oh yes, in the days before ‘modern communication,’ I would often be on a pay phone in the press box, giving Mr. Steinbrenner the pitch-by-pitch account of a game if he was in Florida and couldn’t listen. And I’d fill in between pitches with plugs for the new Yankee Yearbook, which he didn’t always find amusing if we were losing.
5) Q: My father was in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium with his brother when Chris Chambliss won the pennant for the Yankees in 1976. That was “his moment.” Thirty-three years later, I would be in the grandstands with my father watching the Yankees win the pennant in 2009. That was “my moment.” In all the years you’ve watched the Yankees play, what was your favorite memory you saw in-person and why?
  • A: I would say Mickey Mantle Day in 1969 just edges the Chambliss home run. I had a lot to do with the planning of Mantle Day, which worked flawlessly and hit just the right emotional notes.  It was one of the better “Days” I’ve ever seen.  We had a great front office team in the planning then – Bill Guilfoile, Howard Berk, Bob Fishel and myself, fortunate enough to be there.
Photo Courtesy of Marty Appel
6) Q: In the ESPN TV miniseries, “The Bronx is Burning”, there was an intriguing Kangaroo Court scene. The perpetrator was Mickey Rivers. He was charged with a so-called “lunch meat violation”, where he was reaching for a cupcake and his private parts touched a ham. I’m aware you were a consultant on the show. Is this a true story? Were you ever present for these locker room gatherings? Were they always this silly?
  • A: The clubhouses were fun and crazy things could happen there – like Fritz Peterson’s hockey games, during which Rich McKinney got injured and it helped end his Yankee days. Mickey Rivers was always funny. Dock Ellis too – he was a special character in the clubhouse.  And Sparky Lyle. Oh, I could go on. Great collection of personalities.
7) Q: Can you please share an odd story from your time with the Yankees? Something the average fan might not know.
  • A: Mickey Mantle would always give me his gift certificates from doing pre-game radio interviews. I couldn’t imagine he would use “$10 off” at Thom McAn shoe store in Yonkers, so he’d give it to me. And eventually he’d save them up from road trips and bring them back to me. I couldn’t use “free dessert” in Minnesota, but it was a fun ritual. I should have had him sign the certificates and saved them instead of using them. Nice memory. He was great to me.
8) Q: How would you compare the Yankees of today to the ball club’s you worked under in the 70’s? How has the role of the PR Director changed over the years in baseball?
  • A: The role dramatically changed in the mid-’70s when, led by Murray Chass and Moss Klein, the media decided that they would decide what was news and go after it themselves, rather than using our daily press notes. So the PR department became reactive and not proactive. And it has been the same ever since, although the media gets far less access to the players today. Everything is much more controlled. Writers don’t even travel with the team anymore.
9) Q: Whether you like to believe it or not, you are a part of Yankees history. When I think of the Bronx Bombers, I think of Ruth, Steinbrenner, Jeter, Cashman, Sheehy, Torre, Michael, Appel, etc. As you grow older, you start to realize that there’s a lot more to a ball club than the players on the field. How does it feel to be part of such an iconic franchises’ history?
  • A: The Yankees are such a strong brand, that even after you’ve left the club, your time with the team sort of defines you. And I’m happy about that – it’s a great association. I’m honored to still be connected, doing video for Yankees on Demand, or writing for their publications. I love when someone in the front office calls to clarify some piece of history. I’m actually the last man standing (and still active in the field) who worked in the original stadium, worked when Mantle played, worked when CBS owned the team. Very proud of that. And proud to have been able to write Pinstripe Empire and get a lot of those memories on record.
10) Q: If someone wanted to be the Director of Media Relations of the New York Yankees today, what advice would you give them?
  • A: Well, it’s hard to always give time to social media, but ultimately, they are read and they are helping to form opinions among fans. I’d lobby to add someone in the department assigned to be the contact person for that category of “media” (bloggers, online columnists, large groups on Facebook, etc., so that the team is reaching its fan base through them. I’d also suggest having a strong sense of the business of baseball so that you better understand decisions made by other departments.  It’s not just knowing how many MVP awards Yogi Berra won.  It’s understanding the dynamics between the players, management, media, fans, the city, and even the nation.  The Yankees matter to a huge number of constituencies, and you have to be aware of all of them.
I can’t thank Marty enough for taking the time to be part of this Q&A interview. If you haven’t already, go out and pick up Marty’s book, “Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss.”

From the NY Post’s Page Six:

One source told us: “Derek likes to keep his relationships quiet. In the past, when his girlfriends become famous and start doing sexy shoots, that’s when they break up. Exactly the same thing happened with Minka and Vanessa Minnillo.”

Another source said, “Derek and Hannah broke up a few months ago. She wasn’t at his Celebrity Golf Classic last month. He is in Tampa and is completely focused on being fit and ready for the upcoming baseball season.”

So, Derek Jeter doesn’t like his girlfriends to get “too famous.” That’s understandable. But why date some of the biggest and brightest of them all? Yeah, we get it…Hannah Davis is gorgeous. But if he wants to take his relationship to the next level..maybe he should stop going after the biggest Hollywood stars. Let’s take a trip down memory lane: Minka Kelly, Lara Dutta, Rachel Uchitel, Mariah Carey, Vida Guerra, Vanessa Minnillo, Jordana Brewster, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Adriana Lima, Joy Enriquez, Scarlett Johansson, Tyra Banks and  Gabrielle Union.

Hannah might very well be announced as the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model in the issue coming weeks…not that Jeter cares. I’m sure he won’t have trouble finding another lady friend. Good luck, Derek.

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is the seventh Japanese player to be part of the New York Yankees.

Before signing him, the Yankees were in the ninth place in the odds lists for winning the 2014 World Series. The favorites to win this season are Los Angeles Dodgers. You can check your favorite team’s place in SportsBettingDime.com.

Tanaka signed a seven-year $ 155 million contract, becoming the fifth Asian pitcher to join New York. The Yankees will have two Japanese in the rotation for next season, with Tanaka and veteran Hiroki Kuroda. The 25-year-old ended last season with a 24-0 record playing for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, with a 1.27 ERA. In 175 games, the Japanese threw 53 complete games with 18 shutouts and 1,238 strikeouts.

The team led by Joe Girardi has had a good experience with Japanese players (Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui), but none has excelled on the mound. The first Japanese pitcher to reach the Yankees was Hideki Irabu in 1997, who won two World Series with the team but did not take part in any game. Irabu finished with 27 wins and 24 losses in two years in New York, with a 3.31 ERA. He allowed 396 hits and 165 runs while striking out 317 rivals.

Kei Igawa was signed in 2007 and stayed only two seasons with the team. The former Hanshin Tigers player started 13 games and finished with a 2-4 record with a 6.66 ERA. He allowed 89 hits, 54 runs and 15 home runs. Due to his low-level of play, the team sent him to AAA team and tried to trade him to another squad in Japan.

Ryota Igarashi, who arrived from the Toronto Blue Jays, was the third Japanese pitcher to try his luck with the Yankees. He joined the team in 2012, but had only two appearances, pitching three innings with four hits and four runs.

After four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kuroda signed a one-year contract with New York in January 2012 and achieved a 16-11 mark. Thanks to his good numbers he stayed for another season, but only got 11 wins and closed with seven losses in his last 10 appearances.

Next season, Tanaka will be the ninth Japanese active player in the MLB, but the Yankees expect him to become the biggest star of the Rising Sun country to return to the playoffs and aspire to another World Series title.

Via Ken Rosenthal:

“BREAKING: Tanaka to #Yankees, seven years, $155M, opt-out after fourth year.”

“Tanaka contract with #Yankees is fifth-highest for a pitcher. Kershaw, Verlander, Felix, CC, Tanaka.”

More to come…

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