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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Pena’

Courtesy: AP/Seth Wenig

As the 2011 preseason is now officially underway for the Yankees, it’s time for Yankee fans to fire up the hot stove and begin contemplating what the team will look like next Spring. But before you can take the first step forward, it helps to know where you are. After all, every destination has a starting point. It just happens that 2011 and #28 begins from the rubble of what was a once promising season in 2010.

So, where are the Yankees right now?

Front Office: The Yanks front office appears more stable than at any time in more than a generation. Gone are the days when Mount Steinbrenner might erupt at any moment, causing the Yanks management team a severe case of angina and filling the back pages of NYC’s tabloids. Brian Cashman, love him or hate him, seems certain to retain the General Manager’s position for the foreseeable future. While the Steinbrenner sons seem to have placed their faith in Cashman, I wouldn’t advise him to repeat last year’s disastrous offseason. While they strike me as the polar opposite of their Dad in the way they approach running the team, I also can’t imagine that the Steinbrenner demand for winning is sublimated to profits under their watch. Cashman is excellent at the operations side of the baseball business – but more player moves on par with Nick Johnson and Javy Lopez will end his run.

Field Management: Cashman already announced that bringing back skipper Joe Girardi is “job 1” this offseason. That probably says more about the lack of available managerial talent than Girardi’s skill in guiding the team, in my opinion. The only other decent manager available right now is Bobby Valentine. Somehow, I can’t see Bobby V’s penchant for grabbing the spotlight and the current front office’s desire to avoid controversy co-existing. Joel Sherman
made an interesting point about the skipper needing to loosen up a bit and have fun in an earlier column today. It’s a point that hopefully Girardi will take to heart in 2011. Oh, and hopefully he loses that infernal binder along the way, too.

Earlier today, the coaching staff shake-up began in earnest, as Dave Eiland was jettisoned. No real reason was given, but I suspect Eiland wanted out as much, if not more; than the brass wanted him gone (he did disappear for nearly a month during the regular season, for reasons nobody has ever explained). Regardless, the Yankees now need a pitching coach. I imagine with AJ Burnett due back and the real possibility of having a rookie in the starting rotation, the Yankees will look for somebody with not only pitching expertise, but a psychiatry degree. With Cliff Lee an obvious target of Yankee affection, expect a pitching coach Lee respects to be targeted.

Otherwise, don’t expect major changes on the bench. Kevin Long is still regarded as one of the best hitting coaches in the business and 3B/IF coach Rob Thompson is widely regarded as helping Robinson Cano realize his potential in the field. Bench coach Tony Pena seems likely to stay – but I’m certain if a managerial job opens up for him, he’ll jump on it.

Coming tomorrow: Core Four

Coming Wednesday: Pitchers

Coming Thursday: FIelders

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This year’s All-Star Game is now being called “Challenge the Yankees”….just like the card game from the 1960’s! Think about it…the whole American League roster is filled with New York Yankees.

Joe Girardi, Dave Eiland, Mike Harkey, Mick Kelleher, Kevin Long, Tony Peña, Rob Thompson, Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez are all headed to the Midsummer Classic in Anaheim, California. With the possibility of Cliff Lee landing on the Yankees, the roster could consist of 15 people associated with the New York Yankees organization. And this list doesn’t even include Mariano Rivera..think about that!

National League vs The Bronx Bombers…are you ready?

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Yesterday, I skipped school to go to my very first home opener at Yankee Stadium. Here is a rundown of how it went:

I woke up early in the morning to head down to the stadium so I wouldn’t miss any of the festivities. I got there before the gates opened and had a chance to walk around. While walking past Gate 4, I noticed Chris Shearn recording one of his pre-game segments for the YES Network. After he was done, I introduced myself, took a photo with him and spoke for a couple of minutes. He’s a really nice guy. Than I waited on line for the gates to open.

The Pre-Game:

Got in a few minutes after the gates opened, and I went directly to Monument Park. I wanted to take pictures with some of the monuments that I didn’t get a chance to take the first time around. I walked around the ballpark after that and saw Harlan Chamberlain, but I didn’t get a chance to meet him. He was kind of busy talking to some people, so I moved on. I also noticed Mark Feinsand of the Daily News near the press elevator, but he too was busy talking to someone..so I didn’t bother. The halls of the stadium were jam-packed and the atmosphere was terrific. Stopped off at Nathan’s for some food and went up to my seats for the ceremony.

The Food & Merchandise:

Before the game: Nathan’s Hot Dog and Fries Middle of the 5th inning: Johnny Rocket’s Double Burger, Souvenir Yankees Cup (Pepsi). I also bought a 2010 NY Yankees Yearbook, Media Guide and home opener program.

Festivities:

I was very pleased with the way the ring ceremony was done. Watching Yogi and Whitey hand out the rings to the players was a pretty cool moment. The player introductions were great, and it was really nice to see Gene Monahan and Hideki Matsui return. All the players in the dugout gave Geno a standing ovation, and it was very emotional moment for him. The Yankees also put The Boss on the centerfield scoreboard during the ceremony, and the Yankees gave him a nice ovation as well. Matsui got the biggest ovation of them all, and he certainly deserved it.

The championship flags for each of the Yankees’ 27 WS titles, the giant unfurled American flag in the outfield, and the “Fighting Omars” fly over were really a sight to see. Kristen Chenoweth (National Anthem) and Mary May Messenger (“God Bless America”) did a fine job with their performances. Bernie Williams bounced the ceremonial first pitch, but I was still happy to see him there.

The Game:

I sat in Section: 329 Row: 2 Seat (Terrace ††). The view from my seat was pretty good.

  • The Bleacher Creatures did their first roll call of the season, and everyone was watching to see how Curtis Granderson would salute them.
  • I give major props to Andy Pettitte for stepping off the mound when Matsui came up to the plate, so the fans could give him his due.
  • Nick Johnson was stepping up to the plate to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” song, because his little daughter was in the building. A lot of the fans around me were making fun of him, and I thought that was interesting. He shut them all up when he went yard in the 1st inning.

Andy Pettitte pitched a hell of a game, throwing six shutout innings while striking out 6 batters.. There is no other guy on the team that I would’ve rather had starting that game than him.

Interestingly enough, many fans started to head for the exit when the Yankees took a 7-1 lead heading into the 9th. I stayed for the last out, as I always do. I kind of got that feeling that something was going to happen, and that the home opener wouldn’t be complete without The Sandman. I was right about that. David Robertson gave up a grand slam to Bobby Abreu, and the Angels trailed by only two runs. When Mo came in, you pretty much knew the game was over and there was nothing to worry about. Mariano did what he does best and nailed down the 2-out save for the victory. Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it – New York, New York…

The Press Gate:

After the game was over, my friend and I walked over to the press gate in the back of the stadium. I wasn’t actually prepared to get autographs this time around, so I was just looking to take some photos with anyone I met. Next time, I’ll be sure to bring a ball and a pen.

We waited for the players, front office staff, broadcasters and celebrities to walk out. Who did we miss? Mayor Bloomberg, Jay-Z, John Sterling, Michael Kay and Suzyn Waldman. I stayed there for about an hour, and we saw pretty much all of the Yankee players roll out in their cars. Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Phil Hughes, Tony Pena, Fransisco Cervelli, and many other strolled out of the gate in their cars. You couldn’t identify many of them because of the tinted windows on their cars. Hal Steinbrenner walked out of the Yankees offices, signed some autographs for the fans and was on his way. The rest of the Steinbrenner clan followed (including Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal).

Nick Johnson also showed up with his family. His little daughter stood right next to him, as he signed autographs and took some quick photos with the fans. I got a chance to meet and take a photo with Randy Levine, Bob Lorenz, and Kim Jones. They were all glad to take a photo with me. Bob took the time to chat with me, and I really appreciated that. We spoke about the game, twitter, and our respective blogs. Unfortunately, my photo with Mr. Levine came out terrible so I had to delete it. Haha

Torii Hunter came out of the gate and signed autographs and posed for a photograph with anyone who wanted one. I don’t think he said no to one fan. He was doing this all for Yankee fans, so I thought that was pretty cool. You don’t see that out of many all-star caliber ball players these days. Ervin Santana, Eric Aybar, Bobby Abreu and Richard Gere (donning a Yankees cap) all walked out as well. I tried to get Gere’s attention by yelling out his name, but he didn’t want to be bothered and that’s fine with me. No hard feelings.

All in all, it was a great day.

(more…)

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The other day, the Yankees front office invited the beat writers, coaching and staff to go paint balling with them at a place called ’Jungle Games’ in Lutz, Florida. These pictures below are before and after the battle. These photos are priceless.

The notable people involved: Mark Feinsand, Joe Girardi, Mick Kelleher, Brian Cashman, Jason Zillo, Tony Pena, Bryan Hoch, Erik Boland, Kevin Long, Rob Thompson, Sweeny Murti, Marc Carig and Mike Harkey.

Paintball 1.jpg

Paintball 2.jpg

(Photos Courtesy of Bryan Hoch)

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Senior Vice President Felix M. Lopez, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez, Robinson Cano, Tony Pena, Francisco Cervelli and Juan Miranda took a trip down to Santo Domingo yesterday. They greeted the Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez and presented him with a few gifts.

The Dominican players from the Yankees roster took a visit to the national palace in the Caribbean country to show off their Baseball World Series trophy to Fernandez.

They gave him a chance to hold the WS trophy, and along with that they presented him with a New York Yankees jersey with his name on it and ball signed by the Yankee players. (more…)

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The Yankees have brought back the whole 2009 New York Yankees staff. It makes perfect sense, considering they just won a World Series championship.

Press release from the Yankees:

Eiland, 43, enters his third season as the Yankees’ pitching coach and eighth year coaching in the organization, as his pitchers ranked fourth in the American League with a 4.26 ERA in 2009. Harkey, 43, will begin his third season as the Yankees’ bullpen coach.

Kelleher, 62, will return for his second year as New York’s first-base coach and fifth year as a coach or instructor in the organization, having been instrumental in helping the Yankees set a Major League record with 18 consecutive games without committing an error in 2009.

Long, 43, will return for his fourth season as the hitting coach and seventh year in the organization, following a year when he presided over an offense that led the Majors with 915 runs, 244 homers, a .478 slugging percentage, a .326 on-base percentage and 663 walks.

Pena, 52, will return for his fifth season on the Yankees’ Major League coaching staff and second as bench coach, also contributing as the catching instructor for a roster that tied for third in the AL with 38 caught stealing and fifth with a 23.3 percent caught-stealing rate.

Thomson, 46, will enter his 21st season in the Yankees’ organization and his second as third-base coach.

In other News, the Tampa Yankees coaching staff was announced.

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     According to the New York Post, Derek Jeter has made the 1st cut for team USA.The provisional roster also includes Dustin Pedroia & Kevin Youkilis, who could join him in the starting infield. That makes it pretty interesting. There are forty-three players on the current provisional roster. The roster will be cut to 28 players by the end of February, and it must include 13 pitchers and two catchers.

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Major League Baseball does not need a cap  /  Few mentions of Pudge this winter

Arbitration absurdity  /  Tony Pena’s ’03 KC Royals Manager of the Year award auctioned off on ebay

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Isn’t it nice to know who ran the organization of the team you root for? Well here is a list of all the executives and coaches that helped run this team:

Yankees Executives & Coaches

Executives

Ed Barrow β, general manager, 1920-45, Brian Cashman, general manager, 1998-present, Pat Gillick, player development and scouting coordinator, 1975-76, Ralph Houk, general manager, 1964-66, Larry MacPhail β, general manager, 1945-47, Lee MacPhail β, ass’t farm director, 1947; farm director, 1948-56; player personnel director, 1956-58; general manager, 1966-73, Gene Michael, general manager, 1990-95; vice president, 1996-present, Lou Piniella, general manager, 1987-88, Al Rosen, president, 1978-79, George Weiss β, vice president, 1931-44; farm director 1944-47; general manager 1947-60, Roy Hamey, assistant general manager 1951-54, 1959-60; general manager 1960-63, Bill DeWitt, assistant general manager, 1954-58, Roy White, ass’t general manager, 1985, Bob Watson, general manager, 1996-98, Woody Woodward, vice president, 1985-86; general manager, 1986-87

Coaches

Yogi Berra β, 1963 (player-coach), 1976-83, Larry Bowa, 2006-2007, Chris Chambliss, 1996-2000, Tony Cloninger, 1992-2001, Earle Combs β, 1936-44, Pat Corrales, 1983, Bobby Cox, 1977, Frankie Crosetti, 1947-68, Bill Dickey β, 1949-57, 1960, Dave Eiland 2008- (pitching coach), Lee Elia, 1989, Darrell Evans, 1990, Whitey Ford β, 1964, 1968, 1974-75, Joe Girardi, 2005, Ron Guidry, 2006- 2007, Mike Harkey, 2008- (Bullpen Coach), Willie Horton, 1985, Elston Howard, 1969-79, Frank Howard, 1989, 1991-92, Dick Howser, 1969-78, Bob Lemon β, 1976, Kevin Long, 2007- (hitting coach), Eddie Lopat, 1960, Mickey Mantle β, 1970, Don Mattingly, 2004-2007, Lee Mazzilli, 2000-03, 2006, Bobby Meacham 2008- (third base), Fred Merkle, 1925-26, Bill Monbouquette, 1985, Graig Nettles, 1991, Tony Pena, 2006- (first base), Lou Piniella, 1984-85, Willie Randolph, 1994-2004, Johnny Sain, 1961-63, Joe Sewell β, 1934-35, Buck Showalter, 1990-91, Luis Sojo, 2004-2005, Mel Stottlemyre, 1996-2005, Rob Thomson, 2008- (bench coach), Jeff Torborg, 1979-88, Mickey Vernon, 1982, Roy White, 1983-84, 1986, 2004-2005, Stan Williams, 1980-82, 1988, Don Zimmer, 1983, 1986, 1996-2003

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Here is a breakdown of the Yankees farm system. I think they did an excellent job of scouting the players.

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