Hey, it’s a joint statement:
Hey, it’s a joint statement:
From the Record -
Bernie Williams said he’s committed to playing for Puerto Rico, and expects manager Jose Oquendo will use him at the corner outfield spots with the Mets’ Carlos Beltran in center.
Manager Joe Torre wants Williams to work at the corner positions, and Williams said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Torre asked him to work at first base this spring.
Why do I have a feeling that this will never get past infield practice?
From the Herald Record -
“My whole life is about getting crushed,” A-Rod said with an out-of-place grin, “and that crushing becomes very inspiring. So I have a lot of inspiration in my life.”
“(The shots at me) will never end, never,” he went on to say. “Maybe when I retire. But who knows, maybe on my way out the door they’ll kick me, too.”
“People don’t like me, I guess,” he said. “But … well, maybe not everybody. Some people like me. The thing is, I understand who my friends and who my enemies are.
“But you can’t get caught up too much (in the opinions of people who dislike you). I know that I have the support and respect of my teammates, coaches, and manager, and that’s the most important thing to me.”
He put his head down for a second, collecting thoughts that must’ve been festering for the last four months, thoughts obviously dying to be expelled.
“(The 10-year, $252 million contract) is a big part of it,” he said. “I knew that going in. I accepted that. I enjoy the responsibility that the contract brings. I never ran from that. My best five years have been since I signed that contract, and I’m proud of that.
“I know that because of that unique contract that if I’m not on the top of my game every day, I’m going to get ripped. And I kinda enjoy that. I’m kind of a sick guy that way.”
He was asked if he if ever felt like firing back at his critics.
“No, no,” he said. “When I’m in that box and I have that bat in my hand, that’s how I get to fire back. I let that do all my talking and shut everybody up.”
This is an interesting study. Compare A-Rod to Barry Bonds – and note the different way that Bonds “handles” his fame-focus-burden. Perhaps the answer is: Whether you act like a jerk, or not, you’re going to take heat when you’re the highest paid, etc.
It will probably be another 20 years before someone makes $25 mill a year. So, A-Rod better get used to it. He will be the target as long as he plays. It’s sad, in many ways.
Then again, I’m eating a homemade peanutbutter sandwich for lunch today to save money. So, it’s not too sad for Alex – he can always go out and get a really nice lunch today to cheer himself up.
Watch out Johnny Damon!
Here’s my son, from this past Saturday, getting ready for Spring Training. We were practicing “catch” in the house – is there a better game to play in your PJ’s when it’s 20-something degrees out on a Saturday morning? – and he decided that Daddy’s glove was better than the smaller ones that I bought for his sister and him last summer. Note: He’s just 22 months old.
Look for him in the Yankees line-up sometime around 2024 (if drafted by New York) – or 2030 (if he has to opt for Free Agency to get into a Yankees uniform).
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you – just one word.
Benjamin Braddock: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin Braddock: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: ‘Plastics.’
Benjamin Braddock: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Benjamin Braddock: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That’s a deal.
From Newsday -
Of course Shawn Chacon kept mementoes of his first year with the Yankees, stuff such as lineup cards, baseballs and teammates’ autographs. But perhaps what he’ll remember most from the season he says “saved” his career is the sight of plastic.
Chacon smiled as he explained why, as if he were reliving the memory in his head.
After the Yankees clinched their eighth straight AL East title by defeating the Red Sox at Fenway Park on the last Saturday of the regular season, Chacon walked through the tunnel from the field to the clubhouse and saw tons of plastic covering every locker, a scene he had been privy to only on television.
“You come off the field and plastic is the first thing you see, and you know what that symbolizes,” he said. “That means you’re going to be popping champagne.”
I hope he gets some more this year.
From Rich Tenorio of the Daily Item -
The snow still lies on the ground, and the winter air still envelops pedestrians. But in convenience stores and gas stations and restaurants, the subject has shifted from football to baseball, and the inevitable question dangles like springtime mist: Who has the better team, the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees?
For the third straight year, the answer is the same: The Red Sox have the superior model, because their biggest star, David Ortiz, can perform more dependably in the clutch than the Yankees’ top performer, Alex Rodriguez.
Recall the 2004 playoffs. Manny Ramirez became the first Red Sox player to earn World Series MVP honors, but all three playoff series were a Papi picnic. His blast off Jarrod Washburn won the American League Division Series. He won back-to-back extra-inning games against the Yankees. And he batted .308 in the World Series. A-Rod? He hit .118 as his team dropped the final four games of the American League Championship Series.
What that year’s postseason proved was that not all stars shine in October. There is a long and honorable list of major-league luminaries, from Ted Williams to Alex Rodriguez, who never delivered when the games truly counted. This is less a criticism of their abilities than an acknowledgement that the playoffs are a harsh stage, as difficult to get through as the Pulitzer Prize committee or the Screen Actors Guild judges.
And yet there is a smaller list of players, with somewhat less lustrous statistics, who may not know how to win an MVP award but who do know how to come through with Mariano Rivera on the mound and their team trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox have one of these players, and the Yankees don’t. That’s cause for optimism as spring weather beckons.
I said it 4 months ago, but it still stands:
…what Rodriguez needs – just one post-season series where he is the man. You can live off that. Make it a World Series, and it’s even better.
Then the “Rich Tenorio” types in the world will have to work harder for decent copy.
From the Times Herald-Record -
Cool sighting: Sitting by the right of Randy Johnson’s locker was a psychedelically colored skateboard with the crisscrossing words “Dog Town” designed into its underside. As it turns out, according to a couple of longtime clubhouse guys, it is indeed Johnson’s. Which makes for some wild images, picturing this goofy-looking 6-foot-10 guy careening around town on the thing. The reality, however, is probably a lot less exciting: With all of Johnson’s talk about wanting to find his “center of gravity” on the mound, he likely uses it as a balancing tool.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about the upcoming baseball season. I’m always excited about the baseball season. And, as a Yankees fan, I’m excited to know that soon I can watch Yankees games, etc.
A Yankees game is perhaps one of the most comfortable back-drops in everyday life for me. There are so many good feelings that I link up to it. The span from November to March, without having that (almost daily) visit from a “friend,” seems more like a year than 5 months.
But, I’m not excited about the Yankees chances to win the World Series this year. I expect them to do well – and win more often than they lose – and have many, many, thrilling moments this season. But, it’s not the same feeling as most of the recent years – where I thought “OK, this team should win a ring this year.”
From 1997 through 2001, each Spring, I thought the Yankees would win the World Series that year. Starting in 2002, through last year, I was not sure about it. But, this season, I’m 99% convinced that the Yankees need something like a dozen things to go right in order for them to be the last team in baseball this year to win a game. And, what are the odds of that?
After the World Series of 2001, the ALDS of 2002, the World Series of 2003, the ALCS of 2004, and the ALDS of 2005, and seeing bad things happen because of short-comings in the Yankees game, I guess I’m starting to get conditioned – in a way.
Maybe that’s good? Now, if they do win, it will be as pleasant as that ring in 1996? Things always do seem to taste better when you’re starving.
From the AP:
Curt Schilling’s ankle is in good shape and so are his rebuttal skills.
The recovering ace of the Boston Red Sox faced a tough season on the mound and an unflattering magazine article in the offseason. Now he’s healthy and ready to throw his first bullpen session Sunday during the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.
“For the first time since April 2004, there really is no physical limit to getting ready for me,” he said, “so that’s a big difference and I’m excited about that.”
He wasn’t so thrilled about a recent article in GQ that listed the 10 most hated athletes in sports based on interviews with their peers. Schilling was No. 4, in part because of his love for the spotlight.
“Refresh my memory,” he said when asked about the article. “Oh, oh, yeah. I was actually talking to my wife about that because I thought maybe she had some input on the article.”
Turning serious, Schilling spoke about Pedro Gomez, a reporter quoted in the article who had covered the pitcher when he played for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“You just kind of have to realize that there are people that don’t like you and, unfortunately, sometimes those people have a voice,” Schilling said. “Disliking me probably matches my dislike for him (Gomez), but I have a problem with people who don’t have integrity and principle so that stuff happens. You just kind of just let it go.”
You just kind of have to realize that there are people that don’t like you and, unfortunately, sometimes those people have a voice….
Hmmmm…wasn’t it about this time last year when Schilling was using his “voice” to bash A-Rod every chance that he got?
Curt loves to dish the diss – but, when it comes his way, you see his feet of clay.
……..it seems that it takes four new coaches to screw in a replacement: Pena, Bowa, Gator and Kerrigan.
From the Journal News -
Most major-league managers fill their coaching staffs with old drinking buddies, golf partners and maybe a few younger guys who can throw batting practice.
In a business where job security is fleeting, it is customary to surround yourself with people who aren’t threats. Let the ambitious find a job at somebody else’s expense.
Then there is Joe Torre, a man so confident in his status that he added four former managers to his staff this season.
Third-base coach Larry Bowa, bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan, bench coach Lee Mazzilli and first-base coach Tony Pena all have major-league managerial experience. With the exception of Kerrigan, all hope to manage again.
“They say you don’t invite the wolf into the henhouse,” Pena said. “But Joe isn’t afraid of the wolf or anything else. He knows who he is.”
Cashman said he and Torre agreed on all of the moves.
“It’s great when you have a manager secure enough to want the best people,” Cashman said. “He knows that even if somebody wants to take him out, they can’t do it.”
I think it’s going to work. Let Torre deal with the media and be the buffer between Stein and the team. Let Bowa, Pena and Kerrigan run the games – which I think is what Zimmer did when he was here.
From the Post -
Hey, Ozzie! Zip it.
That was the message George Steinbrenner (left) sent World Champion White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen yesterday.
Earlier this week, Guillen said in Sports Illustrated that Alex Rodriguez was a hypocrite when ARod said he had a tough time deciding to play for the United States or the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Yesterday, Guillen apologized to A-Rod in print. But that didn’t stop The Boss from getting on Guillen.
“Shut it up,” Steinbrenner said as he made a motion to zip his mouth. “I like Ozzie Guillen as a manager but I don’t like him when he pops off like that. That’s [horse spit].”
Big Stein as Dr. Evil?
Zip it, ex zip it a, zippy longstockings, zip it, zip it good, zuckle on my zipple, zip it…
From the New York Times:
In the first week of spring training, Small gripped a ball along the seams that frame the sweet spot. That, he explained, was how he used to throw a sinker. Last spring, the pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre suggested that he move his fingers up a bit, so only the right one rested on a seam.
The effect was astounding. If Small made a mistake, the ball would sink a little. If he didn’t, the ball would sink a lot, darting away from a left-handed hitter. It was a revelation, and the Yankees liked what they saw.
From the Record, for the record:
Joe Torre is planning to take it easy with hard throwers Kyle Farnsworth and Tanyon Sturtze this year, using them each for one inning if possible.
Torre said he “overused” Sturtze, who is on a more gradual throwing program. Sturtze suffered from biceps tendinitis late last season, but Torre believes he’ll be able to start the year on time. “We’re just going slower with him.”
Mariano Rivera could throw off a mound for the first time today, and he’s also on a gradual program. Octavio Dotel, returning from Tommy John surgery, is throwing off flat ground and is not expected back until June.
“I think we have to make a conscious effort to monitor these guys a little better,” Torre said.
Anyone want to establish an under/over on how many times I will have to link back to this report over the course of the season?
From the Journal News -
Torre has a laptop computer in his office and hopes to learn how to use it. It’s not an order from Steinbrenner, either. Torre’s 9-year-old daughter, Andrea, thinks he should become more computer literate. Can a MySpace.com page be far behind?
What? Torre’s not reading WasWatching.com?
Well, he ain’t got no distractions,
Can’t hear no buzzers and bells.
Don’t see lights a-flashing,
He goes by sense of smell.
Doesn’t have any PC skills,
Never reads WasWatching at all,
That deaf, dumb and blind Torre
Still better win a ring this fall.
From the Courant -
Kyle Farnsworth was big, strong and fit, and he could throw 100 mph. So what was he doing struggling along with a 4.76 ERA after six major league seasons?
Sometime last year, he found some answers in a book called “Mind Gym.” It had been in his duffel bag for a while, since a friend had sent it to him, and one day he decided to start reading.
Within its pages, Farnsworth picked up some techniques for creating calm and confidence, for visualizing the results he wanted, and he made it a ritual, reading it during games as he prepared for a late-inning entrance.
“Talent can only take you so far,” said Farnsworth, who cashed in on his best season with a three-year, $17 million contract from the Yankees. “If you don’t have the right mind-set, you’re not clear-minded. You can’t go out there with no plan at all.”
Hey, Yogi the Jedi Master once said that “90% of the game is half mental.”
Go for it Farns. See the ball. Be the ball. Na-na-na-na-na!
This just in! The following teams will not win the 2006 World Series:
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Kansas City Royals
You heard it here first. OK, this leaves 23 teams in the way of the Yankees 27th ring:
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
LA Angels of Anaheim
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Mets
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays
From this group, there are a half-dozen teams in the A.L. that the Yankees should be concerned about: Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Blue Jays, Indians and A’s.
We know that the Yankees will out-hit the White Sox, Angels and A’s. And, hopefully that will offset the fact that those three teams will probably pitch better than the Yankees in 2006.
But, what about the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Indians? All three of these teams have some dangerous bats in their line-up. And, all three of them have some pitchers who can excel.
The fact that Toronto and Boston are in the same division as New York is an issue. That’s almost one-quarter of the total schedule for the Yankees to be played against these two teams.
Those are going to be 38 special games for New York this year.
From Portsmouth Herald -
Shannon Kiernan was a New York Yankees fan known for making lots of friends after moving to Red Sox territory.
The 28-year-old Winnacunnet High School teacher, who died after a snowboarding accident last weekend, has given the gift of life by donating her organs.
And Kiernan’s friends believe she will continue to win New Englanders over, even in death.
“Her family told me that one of the doctors said the man who got her heart was a huge Red Sox fan,” said Heather Clark, a teaching colleague at Winnacunnet. “Shannon was the biggest Yankees fan. I remember one night we went to the (Brewery Lane Tavern) in Portsmouth during the playoffs between the Red Sox and Yankees. She was the only one there dressed in full Yankees gear and cheering them on. I thought we were going to get kicked out of the place.”
I hope the Yankees see this story and do something to acknowledge her. It only seems right.
From Yankees.com -
The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed free agent right-handed pitcher Scott Erickson to a one-year Minor-League contract with an invitation to spring training.
Erickson, 38, went 1-4 with a 6.02 ERA in 19 games (eight starts) with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005 after earning a spot in the rotation during spring training.
I’m guessing that Wade Taylor, Chuck Cary and Jeff Johnson were not available.
This is a joke – and a very bad one at that.
The last time that Erickson had any value as a pitcher was 1999.
For those needing an assist, that was seven years ago. This is embarrassing.
I hope he doesn’t burn his eye-brows off!
From the AP:
New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, takes batting practice from his uncle and hitting coach, Leo Posada, at the team’s spring training facility, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006, in Tampa, Fla. Leo Posada played for the Kansas City Athletics in the American League from 1960 through 1962.
From NBCSports.com -
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen called New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez a hypocrite for his waffling on which team he would play for at the World Baseball Classic in early March, Sports Illustrated reported.
“Alex was kissing Latino people’s asses,” Guillen said in reference to Rodriguez’s indecision about whether to play for the Dominican Republic or the United States in the WBC. “He knew he wasn’t going to play for the Dominicans; he’s not a Dominican!”
“I hate hypocrites: He’s full of [expletive],” Guillen told Sports Illustrated. “The Dominican team doesn’t need his ass. It’s the same with [Nomar] Garciaparra playing for Mexico. Garciaparra only knows Cancun because he went to visit.”
Given Ozzie’s history, Bud has to fine him for this. It’s just not what one of 30 big league managers should be saying in public.
From the AP:
Joe Torre settled into the chair in his spring training office and began 2006 the same way he spent most of 2005: discussing an injured pitcher.
Carl Pavano, who missed the second half of last season because of a shoulder injury, has lower back discomfort that will prevent him from throwing off a mound until around March 1. He was to pitch off a mound Wednesday at the minor league complex but instead threw off flat ground for the second time in three days.
New York made the decision after Pavano mentioned the back issue last week, then was sent to examined by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins, who recommended a 10-to-14 day exercise program. The setback raises the possibility Pavano might not be ready for the start of the regular season on April 3.
“You certainly don’t want to get to this point of taking this much care and then decide that just because the season opener is coming that you’ve got to hurry up and do something,” Torre said. “He could very well be ready to start the season, I don’t know, but again, we’re certainly not going to have that as a necessity.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wouldn’t detail specifics of the back problem other than to say it wasn’t structural.
Since the Yankees will carry 12 pitchers this season, at least to start, their bench will be just Bubba Crosby, Andy Phillips, Kelly Stinnett, and Miguel Cairo (assuming that Bernie Williams is the DH).
In a perfect world, any time it’s late, and a close game, Phillips should go in to play 1B (or maybe Cairo) for Giambi and Crosby should go into RF (for Sheffield).
But, then, if the game is tied, it leaves Torre without two of his better bats and with a bench that’s wiped just about clean. So, Joe pretty much has to leave Giambi and Sheffield in the field in the late and close games.
I can’t help but wonder if this is going to come back and haunt them at some point this season (ala’ Buckner-Stapleton)?
Other teams, possibly including the Yankees, are watching to see what happens with Sammy Sosa and the Nationals. A Dominican Republic newspaper, reported that Alex Rodriguez visited Sosa in Miami last weekend. It’s unclear whether Rodriguez was being social or doing legwork for Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who could use Sosa as part of a DH platoon with switch-hitter Bernie Williams. — Chicago Tribune
I liked Alex better when he was hanging out in poker joints. Sosa is cooked. Stay away. Please!
From the YES Network -
It’s 10 a.m. and Carl Pavano is playing long toss with Jaret Wright at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, where Bubba Crosby and Robinson Canó are also working out.
Already, speculation about Pavano’s health is in question, as the right-hander will reportedly not throw off a mound today as scheduled. Bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan is watching closely while Tampa-based pitching coach Billy Connors is also keeping a close eye from his golf cart. Pavano does look significantly slimmer and in good shape, but only time will tell if his shoulder is healthy.
Pavano threw for 20 minutes, while Wright lasted just 10 before being replaced by Kerrigan. Upon completion of Pavano’s session, he dodged the media and gave way to Tanyon Sturtze, who started throwing with Kerrigan.
I’ll have more later from Joe Torre. He’ll be addressing the media after meeting with his coaching staff at noon.
Why am I beginning to think that Al Leiter is going to be in the Yankees rotation this April?
The Mets signed Jose Lima. It’s really too bad that Joaquin Andujar retired. As a Yankees fan, I would have loved to see Joaquin, Lima and Pedro front the Mets rotation.
All of a sudden, the thought of Pavano and/or Wright is looking sweeter.
I was just looking at the USA Team for the WBC and noticing the places of birth for each player.
It’s funny, in my mind, Jeter is a Kalamazoo guy and A-Rod is a Miami dude. But, technically, I believe that Derek and Alex are the first full-time SS/3B combo for the Yankees where both players were born in the Tri-State Area.
There must have been some good water in the system back in the mid-70′s.
From Tommy V at S.I. -
The White Sox nearly wound up with Carlos Delgado instead of Jim Thome. When Cashman inquired about Chicago center fielder Aaron Rowand soon after the World Series, White Sox GM Kenny Williams told him he didn’t think the Yankees were a good fit for a trade — unless they obtained Delgado from Florida. Cashman worked out the parameters of a deal with the Marlins, but the three-way deal fell through when the White Sox then insisted the Yankees pick up a large chunk of Delgado’s contract.
Hey, it’s one thing to agree to pick up the bar of soap. But, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to agree to, well, you know…….
At least Cashman tried to get Rowand. But, then, to pay a guy to play for the White Sox too? If the Windy City is a big enough market to support two teams, then there’s no way they should be asking for Yankees hand-outs too.
From the Star Ledger:
“Contract-wise, it looks like we’ll carry 12 pitchers,” manager Joe Torre said last week. “It looks like our club is cut-and-dried on who’s going to be members of our team. But we have a lot of pitchers that could be in the same role. And that’s what we’ll try to organize in the spring.”
The projected pitching staff has the six starters plus relievers Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, Mike Myers, Ron Villone, Tanyon Sturtze and Aaron Small. Then there are the eight position players, Bernie Williams, Andy Phillips, Kelly Stinnett, Miguel Cairo and Bubba Crosby.
All that’s left are the details. Torre last month told hitting coach Don Mattingly, “Give me a lineup.”
Said Mattingly, “I can’t.”
Responded Torre: “That’s the way I am, too.”
OK, so, it will be contracts that dictate who makes the pitching staff – and not talent/performance. And, the manager has no clue as to what his line-up should be……
I think I need to start hitting some of that green tea.
From Newsday -
“I’m going to be very active in spring training,” the Yankees’ principal owner said through his industrious spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. “I go to work every single day. I’ll be in the locker room. I’ll be on the field. I’ll be very active.”
Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take
Stein’ll be watching you
Every single day
And every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay
Stein’ll be watching you
Oh, can’t you see
You belong to me?
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
Stein’ll be watching you
From the Daily News:
Luis Garcia of Mexico, a first baseman who played for two months in the Mets system last year, intends to sign a minor-league contract with the Yankees, according to a Mexican baseball official quoted on ESPNdeportes.com.
Garcia batted .219 with nine homers and 24 RBI in 41 games for Triple-A Norfolk last year and then returned to Mexico and hit .273 with five homers and 28 RBI in 38 games for Sultanes de Monterrey.
He’s 27. Bats right-handed. Has some power. Andy Phillips insurance?
He’s been around. The Red Sox, Indians, Dodgers and Mets have all taken him for a ride so far and let him go.