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Archive for the ‘Yankees Opinion’ Category

If you were listening to the Yankees telecast, you must have heard Michael Kay and David Cone break the news that Masahiro Tanaka has just landed on the 15-day disabled list with what they’re calling a “tender wrist.” That sounds like it’s not connected to the UCL tear and we may not have to sound the alarms just yet. Coney said that this report begs a lot of questions and wonders if Tanaka is compensating because of his elbow.

At the same time, no injury to Masahiro’s arm should be taken lightly. According to reports, Brian Cashman has stated that there is “no change” in Tanaka’s elbow. He was also asked if this could be a Tommy John surgery “precursor”…to which he said, “could be.”

Tanaka will be shut down for 7-10 days. We may not see him for another month or so. Nobody knows for sure. Now, we play a waiting game and see how this unfolds.

Masahiro Tanaka

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

 

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Photo Courtesy of ESPN The Magazine

 

Alex Rodriguez is already dominating the sports headlines as he makes his return to the New York Yankees. After having surgery and missing all of 2014, Rodriguez is hoping for a triumphant return in 2015. As expected, fans have mixed feelings on his return. Many still view him as a cheater, and some fans of the New York Yankees feel like that could become a distraction.

The attention is already starting to build for the former MVP and fantasy baseball star. He was the talk of spring training early on, and he made national headlines just for getting a hit in his 1st at-bat. With Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera retired, Rodriguez has turned into the face of the franchise. Whether or not that is a good or bad thing is up for fans to decide.

Rodriguez is a big reason why New York has not been all that successful in recent memory. Since they are paying him so much money, it cripples even the richest team in the game. That is also the reason why they have not just decided to cut him loose. They want to see if they can get some value out of him, even if it is that designated hitter or 1st base.

So far this spring, Rodriguez does appear to be a little bit healthier and ready to attack the season head-on. He knows that he is about to be 40 years of age, so he can no longer play anywhere near MVP level. With that being said, he can still provide value for the New York Yankees in a positive way if he goes about it the right way. The media and fans are going to be hounding him for most of the year, but if Rodriguez just focuses on the game, he could shut them up by the middle of the year. Helping New York win and stay in the playoff race is also the best way to turn this negative into a positive. All in all, it seems like Rodriguez understands the situation and is trying to get all of these distractions out of the way before the season starts.

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jetermantle

Growing up in Brooklyn in the 50’s and 60’s, my father grew up a Yankees fan. Every young Yankee fan grew up idolizing him. Bill Crystal once said, “Mickey Mantle just was everything.” After Joe DiMaggio left, Mantle became the main attraction in the Bronx. He was the guy that drew crowds into the stadium. Mickey was the player young kids waited for by the press gate to just get a glimpse of, or maybe even an autograph.

Mantle broke into the big leagues in 1951. I wouldn’t be born for another 40 years. When I was around 5 years-old, I recall Charlie Hayes closing his mitt down the 3rd base line and the Yankees winning the 1996 World Series. It was the beginning of “the last dynasty” and the “Jeter Era.” Being a 90’s kid, every boy dreamed of growing up to play shortstop for the Yankees. It was all about Derek.

From 1995 to the present, Derek has stood as a model of consistency on and off the field. Say what you want about him, but the numbers speak for themselves. I’m not here to say that Jeter was on Mantle’s talent level, because that would just be unfair. Mickey was the superior talent. It was in the way they represented the Yankees pinstripes that mattered. And during their respective eras, they were arguably the face of baseball and dominant talents at their respective positions. Mantle and Jeter are the guys who could do no wrong by New Yorkers. Inside the baseball diamond’s chalked lines, they stay baseball legends in the minds of fans.

As big of a Mantle fan as my father is, he always told me, “they’re not heroes, look up to your father.” And I guess you could say he’s right about that. But I also don’t think he looked at Mickey that way when he was a young kid. This was the same guy who stapled posters of Mickey onto his bedroom walls and stuck his baseball cards into his bicycle spokes. A lot of people are looking up to professional athletes as role models and they probably shouldn’t be. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong in admiring a ballplayer, as long as it’s for the right reasons.

There’s a certain innocence in watching a young child sit on the edge of his seat as he roots on his favorite player. He doesn’t have a care in the world. Because in the end, it’s not about how much money they’re making, who the star is dating or the trouble they might be getting into off the field. It’s about being entertained. I don’t really care how old I get, I think we all have a bit of that kid inside of us who just loves the game for what it is. A game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Major League Baseball has now suspended A-Rod 162 games, which would knock him out of the entire 2014 baseball season. A-Rod is going to take it to federal court. 

Alex Rodriguez

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Just when we started to think Hal Steinbrenner was nothing like his father, he starts showing us signs that he may have a little “Boss” in him. Up to this point, the Yankees have acquired three big-time free agents in McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran. Following today’s press conference for Jacoby Ellsbury, Hal was questioned on the recent signing and what the organization had planned for the rest of the off-season. His response: “We’re not done yet.” That’s exactly what Yankees fans wanted to hear. George always put money back in the team because he felt like the New York fans “deserved it”. Lately, Hal has taken over that same sentiment, and I gotta say..it’s nice to hear. I’d bet there might be a few more presents nestled under your Christmas tree this year that you don’t know about.

Years ago, George spoke about letting the “young elephants” into the tent, and it was the beginning of a transitional phase. George knew his reign was coming to an end, and it made the fan base worry if the Steinbrenner family would even still be owners of the ball club after he was gone. Hal and Hank haven’t exactly been the most visible or outspoken owners of the last few years, making an occasional newspaper headline, being seen inside the Steinbrenner box or attending a stadium event. At the same time, I don’t think anyone could possibly fill the void that George left behind. Prior to the 2009 season (George was still alive), the Yankees made a big splash in the off-season with the new ballpark opening up. They brought in CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Even though George wasn’t in complete power at the time, one can look back and say that was “George’s last hurrah.” Looking at the way the Yankees are acting now, maybe Hal and Hank grabbed the ends of those reins that their father left behind.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Photo Courtesy of the New York Yankees

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New York Daily News

NY Daily News

Chris Russo made back page headlines in yesterday’s paper when he called out his former partner, Mike Francesa, for going easy on Alex Rodriguez. Chris Russo admits himself that he’s “buddy buddy” with MLB commissioner Bud Selig, and spoke about how everyone in the business has their own “favorites.” Alex joined Mike in studio along with his lawyer, Jim McCarroll, fielding questions from The Sports Pope.

Alex said he “lost his mind” and “banged a table and kicked a briefcase” out of frustration when he realized that Bud Selig wasn’t coming in from Milwaukee to face him in person. He explained that it shows a lack of courage on the Selig’s behalf for handing out a 211-game suspension for something he didn’t do. Rodriguez said, “I shouldn’t serve one inning.” When asked if he used performance enhancing drugs, A-Rod simply stated, “no.”

What do you guys think? Was Mike giving A-Rod a “soft landing”?

Francesa/Alex Rodriguez Interview: Part 1 & Part 2

(more…)

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Derek Jeter

Photo Courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Last week, Derek Jeter held a pregame press conference with the media prior to the team’s game against the Blue Jays. This was the first time he addressed the media after reinjuring his left ankle. When asked if he’d return to the ball club this season, his response was, “no doubt.” He seemed to answer a lot of questions with that same answer. He went onto say, “when you have doubt, that’s when you’re in trouble.” He didn’t want to make any promises on when he would exactly return, but the general consensus is that it will be after the all-star break.

Derek was upbeat throughout the entire interview. He was cracking smiles and making jokes, so it was nice to see him in good spirits. A media member brought up Derek’s “Advanced Age” and said that maybe that’s why this injury occurred, but Jeter insisted it was just a freak thing. If there’s a player out there that hates sitting on the bench, it’s Derek Jeter. We all know about his great work ethic, his dedication to the team and his will to win. There was another question asking whether he would be able to return to form prior to the injury. Derek responded that he fully expects to play at the same level as he did before. At this point, Jeter is still in a walking boot and remains months away from his return. There wasn’t any real groundbreaking news throughout the conference, but the most important thing you saw was that Derek was very positive about his return.

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Without Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, the Yankees have certainly held their own thus far. They’re playing above .500, rank towards the top of the league in home runs and they’ve got quality pitching from their rotation. Many of these so-called “experts” picked the Toronto Blue Jays as the favorite to win the AL East crown. Meanwhile, they’re laying in last place and sit 5.5 games back out of first place. These same analysts predicted that the Yankees and Red Sox would finish at the bottom of the division. I know it’s very early in the season, but it just goes to show that these wins occur on the ball field, not on paper. With all of these injured players the Yankees expect to come back at some point this season, there’s a positive outlook surrounding this ball club. So far, so good.

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You may call him Mo, The Sandman, The Panama Express, The Hammer of God or some other silly nickname. To us Yankees fans, he’s simply the gold standard. The guy you compare everybody else to, and beat them into the ground like they’re all nobodies. Have you ever been at a Yankees game and hoped or prayed that a pitcher on your own team would just give up a run (to make it a save situation) so you could catch a glimpse of Mariano Rivera? I can honestly say that I’m guilty of that. If it means getting the chance to see one of the greatest baseball players of all-time toe the rubber once more, it’s well worth it.

With Mariano Rivera coming out and announcing that he will be retiring at season’s end, I guess it’s finally soaked in that he’s not going to be around beyond this season. You just start think about the times he would jog out of the bullpen to Metallica, and the opposing team knew all too well that the game was over (and they still do to this day). He sawed off more bats than I can remember. His cutter was so great, players knew what was coming and still couldn’t hit it. We could look through all the books and see how many records and awards Mariano has received, but he’s beyond that now. He’s on a whole other level and has nothing to prove. He is the greatest closer in the history of baseball. And at this point, there is no debate about it.

Besides his stellar play, it was also the way he carried himself on and off the field that put him above all others. He was the consummate professional. He will be the very last player to ever wear the #42 on the back of a baseball uniform. And I don’t think the Robinson family could think of anyone better to carry out Jackie’s legacy. During the press conference they held down in Tampa to announce Mariano’s retirement, Rivera said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the pinstripes. It has been wonderful.” The truth is (and I think I can speak for all Yankees fans here), it’s been a real an honor and a privilege just to watch you play all these years. You’ve provided us with so many great memories.

When you attend a game this year, it might very well be your last opportunity to see him pitch. Just stand and applaud at your seat, and realize that you most likely will never see the likes of him again. This season is his swan song. So, please do as I say, and keep your asses in the seats. This year, we stay for all nine.

Enter Sandman

Mariano Rivera #42

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Photo Courtesy of Kevin Rozell

When Hiroki Kuroda signed a one-year contract with the Yankees this past January, my initial reaction wasn’t so great. I’ve never been a fan of pitchers transfering from the National League to the American League. It just didn”t sit well with me, and we’ve seen plenty of pitchers come over and you see a big spike in their numbers; especially when they enter the AL East. You just think, “Here we go again.”

As the season has gone on, I’ve watched this guy and have been more than impressed. His W/L record doesn’t do him justice, and sometimes that’s beyond his control. He’s also on the verge of having a sub-3.00ERA. Maybe he’s not our so-called “ace,” as that’s really supposed to be CC’s rank, but he’s sure pitching like one. Let’s hope the best is yet to come.

Kuroda’s 2012 Stats: 159.0IP  (W-L) 11-8  3.06ERA  54ER  38BB  121K

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Just a few weeks ago, the Baltimore Orioles sat 10 games back in the Al East. Now, they sit 4.5 games back. If the Yankees want to take home the division crown, they better get their act together quickly. Winning only 3 of their last 10 games, and currently riding a two game losing streak, Sabathia gets the nod tonight against the Tigers to set things straight. Here’s the matchup.

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