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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Torre’

Derek Jeter-HannahDavis

AP Photo/Kyodo News, Suo Takekuma

  • Not everyone in Japan knows who Derek Jeter is. Some think he’s a catcher. Others have no idea who he is. That must be refreshing for him.
  • John Sterling unfortunately lost everything in an apartment fire. He lost all of his World Series rings in the blaze, except for 2009 (which he was wearing). Alex Rodriguez even offered him a place to stay.
  • Hannaah Davis landed the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Swimsuit Issue. I met her at the “Swim City” event in Manhattan and I got a chance to meet her. She was absolutely beautiful. I even asked her to take a selfie with me and she gladly did. She’s got my approval (not that she needs it).
  • Joe Torre wants everyone to keep quiet about A-Rod and let him play. Mr. T stated, “Obviously, what Alex did was wrong. He admits that. There’s nothing left for him to do but play baseball.”
Hannah Davis - Derek Jeter's Girlfriend

Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Derek Jeter - Hideki Matsui

Source: Chris McGrath/Getty Images AsiaPac

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This new Derek Jeter commercial is set to air tonight during the MLB All-Star Game tonight. Much like last year’s Rivera tribute, tonight will be more like a “Derek Jeter Special” than an all-star game. All eyes on Derek.

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Mariano Rivera dons this weeks cover of Sports illustrated. This is Mo’s 4th time on the cover of SI. Tom Verducci has the cover story, “Exit Sandman: Baseball Fans Bid Adieu To the Great Mariano Rivera.” The issues hits newsstands today. Be sure to pick up your copy.

Mariano Rivera

Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated

“Probably not since Koufax have we seen anyone leave the game with so much respect.” – Joe Torre

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“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic, and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.” –Rudolph Giuliani

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Second in a series

Yesterday, I covered the current state of the Yankees front office and coaching staff. Today, let’s look at the players often referred to as the “Core Four”: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite and Jorge Posada. They’re called the Core Four for good reason. The Yankees have, over the past 15 years, won five World Series and seven AL pennants – and these players have been integral parts of all of them. Significant? Prior to the Core Four’s arrival in 1996 (Posada had a cup of coffee in ’96), the team hadn’t won anything since 1981. It’s likely that these players will go into Yankees lore alongside the great Yankee dynasties of the 20’s, 30’s 40’s and 50’s. All are aging now and three of them are free agents – but it’s almost impossible to imagine a Yankees team without them. That leaves the front office in a quandary: how to address the Core Four going forward.

Derek Jeter: The Captain is the face of the franchise. He holds the Yankee franchise record for career hits and 200 hit seasons and is on the cusp of doing something nobody has ever done in pinstripes: collect his 3,000th career hit. From the iconic dive into the stands aganst the Red Sox, to his backhanded flip to nail Jason Giambi in the 2001 Divisional Series to the improbable Jeffrey Maier home run, it seems Jeter has been a part of every Yankee memory since his arrival in 1996.

As hard as it is to fathom, Jeter is 36 and will be 37 in June. He enters free agency coming off what might be his worst all-around season in the big leagues, with career lows in batting average (.270), slugging (.370) and on-base percentage (.340). He also banged into 22 double-plays in 2010 and only stole 18 bases. In the field, Jeter logged his most innings at shortstop since 2007 – and the results weren’t pretty, with decreasing range as the months went along. While it is unfathomable that the Yankee brass would shove Jeter out the door, there are two very real issues with resigning him. The first is how much do you pay an 11 time all-star and future Hall of Famer, who has meant more to your team than any other player over the past twenty years – and how long do you pay him? Jeter is coming off a contract that paid him in excess of $120 million over the past 6 years; it seems likely he’ll see the same average annual salary, but my guess is it will only be for 3 years and with some of the money deferred. The other question is how the Yankees approach asking Jeter to give up his death grip on short – and where/when they move him. Left field seems out of the question, with Brett Gardner there now (and the very real possibility of Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth signing this offseason). Jeter has never wanted to move to second, and Robinson Cano is there, anyway. Third is manned by Alex Rodriguez. The most likely scenario has Jeter the regular shortstop through 2011 – let’s face it, there aren’t any real replacements in the system, anyway – and potentially moving to splitting time at short with a young SS and DH with Jesus Montero after that.

Mariano Rivera: Who is the greatest failed starting pitcher in major league history?

The longest tenured of the Core Four, most fans forget he came up in 1995 as a string bean skinny starting pitcher with a good fastball, but not much else. And he got hit hard, posting a 5.51 ERA that year. If for no other reason, Joe Torre
deserves to be in the Hall of Fame for moving him into the bullpen in 1996, as John Wetteland‘s set-up man. By ’97, Rivera was the closer – and the definition of the role changed forever after the move. Unlike Jeter or Posada, Mo shows few signs of slowing down or letting age affect him – other than the slightly more frequent muscle strains. He remains baseball’s ultimate weapon, since every team realizes if you let the Yankees get to the ninth with a lead, you’re done. The big questions with Rivera remain how long can he continue defy Father Time and how much longer will he want to? Rivera made $15 million last year. It seems unfathomable that any team would pay a 40 year old closer that kind of money in today’s market, but the Yankees very well might. And then cross their fingers that Mo has more Satchel Paige in him. In case you never heard of him, Paige is famous for the quote, “Never look back. They might be gaining on you” in reference to his longevity. (Although nobody knows for certain, it’s generally accepted that he pitched in the majors until he was 59).

Andy Pettite: Perhaps the greatest post-season pitcher in history, this is the one member of the Core Four with the most uncertainty about his status for 2011. Will he retire or will he come back for one more hurrah? Pettite is taking some time to mull over his decision and has often said that it ultimately rests on his family. Yankee fans everywhere are hoping his Yankee family can pull him back for one more season. How good has Pettite been? He is the all-time leader in post-season wins, starts, innings and has pitched some of the most memorable games in Yankee history, including the deciding games in all three series in 2009. He is a three-time all-star and borderline Hall of Fame candidate, with 240 career wins. More importantly for 2011, the Yankees need to know if Pettite is coming back before they can finalize next year’s starting rotation. There is some concern regarding his age and injuries, since he’s missed significant time each of the past three seasons with injuries. But there is little doubt that the Yankees would be a better team with him in 2011 than without.

Jorge Posada: At 39, Posada is the only member of the Core Four signed for next season. Another borderline Hall of Famer, Posada suffered through one of his worst seasons in 2010. He drove in only 57 runs in 2010, tying with 1999 for a career low when garnering at least 400 AB’s. His .248 average was 27 points below his career average. Age is a real concern with Posada, who plays a position known for taking a toll on players. Few catchers age gracefully, and when they decline, it tends to be a rapid descent. Defensively, Jorge was never known as a smooth fielder – but this past year was painful to watch, with Posada throwing out only 15% of attempted base stealers and charged with 8 passed balls. The injuries of the past few seasons have taken their toll, and Posada no longer moves with anything resembling grace behind the plate. So the question going forward is how to begin easing him out of the regular catcher role? The team tried to insert Francisco Cervelli into more starts this year, but all that did was prove that Cervelli is likely a career backup. 2011 promises the long-awaited arrival of Jesus Montero, but all of the reports regarding Montero’s defensive prowess hardly make him out to be the next Thurman Munson. Will Posada accept more DH time and less catching time for younger version of himself? Posada has long taken pride in his defensive game and is known for stubbornness. It’s served him well in the past – but the question is, how well it serve the Yankees going forward?

Yesterday: Front Office/Management

Tomorrow: Pitchers

Thursday: Fielders

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From the LoHud Yankees Blog:

“Just a reminder, the Yankees will hold a special ceremony to dedicate and unveil a monument in honor of George Steinbrenner in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park prior to tonight’s game against the Rays.

The Yankees are asking fans to arrive early and be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. Monument Park will be closed to fans prior to the game. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at approximately 7 p.m. with a special introduction behind home plate, followed by the unveiling of Mr. Steinbrenner’s monument in Monument Park.

Mr. Steinbrenner’s granddaughter Haley Swindal, who is currently performing in the musical Cabaret at the Surflight Theater in Beach Haven, N.J., will sing God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch in tribute to her grandfather. Frank Sinatra, Jr., will sing the national anthem prior to the game, while the colors will be presented by the West Point Color Guard.

Mr. Steinbrenner’s wife, Joan, and all four of the couple’s children – Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica – are scheduled to be in attendance.”

First pitch was even moved to 7:35PMET:

“The Yankees have announced the full schedule for tonight’s pregame ceremony.

Everything will begin at 7:05, pushing first pitch back to 7:35. There will be a video tribute, the family will got to monument park and the monument itself will be unveiled at 7:20.

I’m guessing the whole thing will be on the YES Network.”

Welcome Back, Joe Torre and Donnie Baseball

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The Dodgers have the day off on Monday, which will allow both of them to attend. I didn’t see this coming. This is great news.

From the NY Daily News:

So big is the Yankees’ commemoration of a monument to George Steinbrenner at Yankee Stadium Monday night that Joe Torre and Don Mattingly are going to end their estrangement with the team to attend the ceremonies.

The Daily News has learned that Yankee brass extended an invitation to both Torre, the former Yankee manager who won four World Championships with the team before leaving under acrimonious circumstances after the 2007 season, and Mattingly, who joined Torre as batting coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being passed over as Yankee manager for Joe Girardi that same year, agreed to attend.

Torre announced on Friday that he will be stepping down as skipper of the Dodgers at season’s end and Mattingly will be his replacement.

It will mark the first time since either Torre or Mattingly left the Yankees that they have been at Yankee Stadium, the old or the new.

Ceremonies in which Steinbrenner will join Yankee immortals Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins with a monument in Monument Park, will bring together many of the Yankee living greats, including Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, David Cone, David Wells, Greg Nettles, Goose Gossage, and Roy White.

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Hank Steinbrenner

Photo Credit: Uli Seit of the NY Times

A Hank Steinbrenner sighting. Hank attended a news conference for Hanks’ Yanks, which is the 18-and-under team that he sponsors.

In his first public appearance since the death of his father, George, on July 13, Steinbrenner, 53, said that the direction of the professional franchise would not change with his father gone: winning comes first, always, as it had when George was the principal owner. He also made a not-so-daring prediction that the Yankees would make the playoffs, but he declined to discuss the future of Manager Joe Girardi, whose contract expires after the season.

“It’s always going to be the same,” Steinbrenner said in a brief meeting with reporters. “We play to win. We do what we have to do to win. We don’t make a lot of money because of revenue sharing, and we don’t shy away from paying salaries.”

Reggie Jackson was considered to play the role of Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Tyra Banks dines at NYY Steak. “Tyra Banks having a model-appropriate dinner of “water, watermelon salad and shrimp cocktail” at NYY Steak at Yankee Stadium.”

Former Yankees manager, Joe Torre, was apparently approached about buying part of the LA Dodgers.  “I get people who make all kinds of suggestions all the time, and especially with the mood of everything going on around here right now it’s not surprising,” said Torre.

On the A-Rod/Diaz relationship:

And though skeptics claimed Diaz’s relationship with Alex Rodriguez was just a fling, it turns out they’re well-matched for each other.

An insider told press, “They met at the right time — they’re in tune with each other and ready for a serious commitment. Cameron love that Alex is hard-working, intelligent and sexy. For her, it’s the whole package.”

“She tells dirty jokes, drinks beer and can hold her own discussing just about any sport. Alex fell in love with her because she’s one of the guys, but can turn on the sex appeal and femininity too.”

Dan Cunnigham’s daily routine. Cunnigham is the head groundskeeper at Yankee Stadium.

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Here are two books that are set for release in the near future:

THE LAST BOY: MICKEY MANTLE: AND THE END OF AMERICA’S CHILDHOOD

Hardcover: 480 pages : Publisher: Harper (October 12, 2010)

“Award-winning sports writer Jane Leavy follows her New York Times runaway bestseller Sandy Koufax with the definitive biography of baseball icon Mickey Mantle. The legendary Hall-of-Fame outfielder was a national hero during his record-setting career with the New York Yankees, but public revelations of alcoholism, infidelity, and family strife badly tarnished the ballplayer’s reputation in his latter years. In The Last Boy, Leavy plumbs the depths of the complex athlete, using copious first-hand research as well as her own memories, to show why The Mick remains the most beloved and misunderstood Yankee slugger of all time.”

“Candid, compassionate…the best of the Mantle biographies.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Beauty of Love (Foreword by Joe Torre): A Memoir of Miracles, Hope, and Healing

Hardcover: 304 pages : Publisher: Atria (August 31, 2010)

“JORGE and LAURA POSADA were accustomed to being on top of the world. After a romantic courtship, the lives of these newlyweds were filled with unimaginable success and joy. But all of that changed when their first-born son was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a birth defect that causes an abnormally shaped skull. Their priorities swiftly changed, as Jorge and Laura navigated their way through the challenges of their son’s diagnosis and eventual treatment, which has included eight major surgeries. Laura stayed home with her son, while Jorge suffered in silence as he tried to stay strong under the pressure to perform as a Yankees baseball player.Amid their fear, confusion, and anxiety as young parents, they decided to keep their son’s sickness a secret to protect him from a media frenzy, but in time they realized it was this very celebrity status that would allow them to make a difference—not only for patients with craniosynostosis but for people suffering from any type of illness. They decided to open the Jorge Posada Foundation to help kids with the same condition, a decision that gave new meaning to their lives. Before being a celebrity athlete or a lawyer, Jorge and Laura are a father and a mother, a husband and a wife—and the fortitude and foundations of their family values have helped them face even the worst of days. The Beauty of Love is more than a memoir about dealing with childhood illness—it is a heartfelt and uplifting illustration of how a couple can endure stress and strife and come out stronger on the other side.”
 
“The sacrifices that Laura and Jorge endured for their son will resonate with parents everywhere. It’s impossible to not be moved by The Beauty of Love.” — KELLY RIPA, co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly

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Yankeemetrics abound this week: Katie Sharp has some really interesting stats on Yankees baseball over the last few days. Here’s just one: “Javier Vazquez has now allowed a home run in eight straight games. That is the longest single-season streak by a Yankee since Andy Pettitte allowed a HR in eight straight games in 1999 (19 straight, combining 1999-2000).”

Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos have both been promoted to Double-A Trenton.

You remember I told you about that man who was trying to deliver a photo to President Barack Obama? Well, he completed his mission. Barack Obama gets a gift from Yogi Berra.

From Politico.com:

“One man, standing at the edge of the yellow police tape, handed POTUS something (it looked like a maroon 8.5×11 folder but pool was too far away to tell.) POTUS looked at it, then handed it to Nicholson [Obama’s trip director],” read the report.

So who was the man, and what was in the envelope? Turns out it was Tom Murro (a.k.a. the “Celebrity Magnet” from New Jersey) who had a gift for Obama from baseball legend Yogi Berra: a photo of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson coming in safe after stealing home during a 1955 World Series game against Berra and the Yankees. Berra wrote “Dear Mr. President, He was out!” and signed his name in blue pen. Here is the video.

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Attention Yankees Fans. You now have the chance to own a baseball signed by C.C. Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Bucky Dent and Joe Torre!

They’ve all signed baseballs to be a part of our SUBWAY Baseball DeSIGNS tour, a collection of baseballs decorated by Little Leaguers and signed by professional athletes and celebrities. The 40-baseball display has been making tour stops across the country and is currently set up at the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, PA. The baseballs are also viewable at SubwayKids.com and the Official SUBWAY® Facebook page.

The balls are up for auction NOW on eBay through its Giving Works program.  All the proceeds generated will go to support the Little League Urban Initiative. Go ahead and Bid! The auction ends on SUNDAY Aug. 29. (more…)

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With Lou Piniella’s retirement from baseball this past Sunday, the Chicago Cubs have an opening at manager for the 2011 season. They’re rumored to favor hiring Joe Girardi as the new man for the north side of Chicago. While I think Girardi would be crazy to want that job over a return to the Yankees, I strongly suspect he will. After all, Joe grew up in Chicagoland, went to Northwestern and had two stints as a player with the Cubbies. He knows he’d be venerated for generations if he happened to guide them to their first World Championship in over 100 years.

So, let’s play the game and assume that Girardi is gone after this season. Who should be the next manager for the Yankees? There’s an intriguing list of possibilities. Here are five to ponder:

  1. Willie Randolph: Randolph certainly has a Yankee pedigree. The former captain also served as base coach and bench coach under Joe Torre. All told, Willie owns 6 World Series rings – more than anyone alive, except Yogi Berra. He certainly understands what it takes to win in New York and he understands the type of scrutiny a Yankees manager is under. But he did preside over one of the greatest collapses in major league history (ok, it was the Mets) and hasn’t landed a ML managing job since. Still, he is my number one choice to run the club next year.
  2. Don Mattingly: “Donnie Baseball” has much the same pedigree as Randolph, although not quite as many championship rings. Few players are more beloved in the Bronx, despite the fact that Mattingly’s teams in the 80’s never quite made it to the playoffs. But he’s never managed – at any level – and he might still be bitter after getting yanked around by the Yankee brass before they settled on Girardi.
  3. Joe Torre: I think I just heard a collective gasp go up in the crowd. If George were still running the show, this might be more of a possibility. (Heck, we might be talking about Joe III or Joe IV by this point). There can’t be much doubt that Torre knows how to do the job and I doubt the payday he’ll command this off-season would deter the Yanks. At the same time, bringing him back would be tantamount to the front office admitting they made a mistake in letting him go 3 years ago. And Torre still harbors A LOT of dislike for Brian Cashman.
  4. Dave Miley: Miley is the manager at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre (I know you were wondering). Although he seems like a long shot – Buck Showalter was the last MiLB manager the Yankees hired, 20 years ago – with the impending youth movement in the Bronx, he might be a good fit. Next year’s roster is likely to have a slew of “Baby Bombers”, perhaps as many as 7 or 8 players with less than 3 years of major league experience. And he has demonstrated the ability to win in the minors, despite constant roster uncertainty, with a career 1991 – 1092 record at AAA. Miley also has three seasons of ML experience, with a really atrocious Reds team in the early 2000’s.
  5. Bobby Valentine: Valentine brings two things the Yankees traditionally crave in a manager – name recognition and a proven ability to win. You also have to think Valentine’s ego would love a shot at managing the Yankees. The biggest obstacle I see to making this work is that ego: Valentine is a control freak. I don’t see Cashman or anyone else in the front office ceding any control over player decisions to him.

Well, there are five names to mull over. There are no shortage of managerial candidates this offseason and I’m sure we’ll hear plenty more before next April. Who do you think should be at the helm next season – Girardi, one of the 5 mentioned here, or someone else?

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